My interview with Richard Susskind – Tomorrow’s Lawyers and eDisclosure

Professor Richard Susskind is the keynote speaker at the Information Governance and eDisclosure Summit taking place in London on 14-16 May 2013. His new book, Tomorrow’s Lawyers, has just been published, summarising in 160 very readable pages Richard Susskind’s picture of the legal world as it will be, not just in the foreseeable future, but very soon.

Writing about it recently, I said:

[Susskind’s] broader predictions, effectively signalling the end of the traditional law firm model, have always seemed reliable but distant, something on the horizon which lawyers might hope not to reach before retirement. My sense on finishing Tomorrow’s Lawyers is that we can now see the waves crashing on the rocks. We have reached the horizon.

IQPC invited me to interview Richard Susskind as part of the background material to their May summit. The resulting podcast can be found here. It is as succinct a summary as you could want, both of the broader legal picture covered by the book and of the information governance and eDisclosure context of the summit.

The new case management rules, taking effect on 1 April, aim not merely to reduce the costs of litigation but to make them more transparent and predictable. The objective is not to be met merely by shaving a few Pounds off the hourly rate or by some vague commitment to greater efficiency. We need to work very differently and, in some cases, to question whether all of the work needs to be done at all.

What the court expects through the new rules in this regard is, and not entirely coincidentally, exactly what the clients expect from their lawyers. Will clients object to the up-front investigations about the scope, risks, benefits and costs of their prospective litigation, or will they see that project management, budgeting and progress reporting is exactly what they expect in any other part of commercial life? Will judges adapt to the new regime, which depends very much on their willingness to take up the burden of “active management” which the rules have long required of them anyway? Can litigation be both affordable to clients and profitable for the lawyers?

We touch on all these things in this interview and, as I said in closing it, I would have been happy to keep the discussion going for much longer than the 33 minutes which we allowed ourselves. I commend it to you and hope that we will see you at the London Lancaster Hotel at in May. The event registration page is here. If you want to know more about the podcast, contact Helen Winsor at IQPC.

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About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
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