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am 9. Mai 2016
In contrast to its promise to "introduce its readers to the future of the legal profession", Suskind's book falls astonishingly flat.

While stricter sourcing rules in large companies might indeed hamper the practice of some large law firms to bill endless hours on basic tasks like document review, the expectation that proper lawyering work might be outsourced to India for 10 USD per hour is preposterous.

The same holds true for ideas like the substituting legal professionals with the "knowledge of the masses", i.e. Wikipedia and so forth.

Many of Suskind's ideas read like 1990s style dot-com bubble cliches.

Moreover, the entire book is not really helpful in building a legal career as an entrepreneur, since the author is an academic who has - apparently - never worked outside university and some large law firms as an employee.

The author has no entrepreneurial experience in setting up a law firm (or any other business), which is clearly recognizable from the ideas presented in this book and his entire mindset. It is overly theoretical and lacks any hands-on advice.

Although it seems absurd given the outset of the book, the author never looks beyond the rim of his academic big law teapot: it all reads like a pseudo-McKinseyan memo prepared for hapless big law firm managing partners who have never had a taste of entrepreneurship.

Consequently, the book is rife with cliches and overly intellectual but ultimately almost childish expectations of the future of the legal profession.

Things that really matter in the legal profession, in particular the creation and maintainance of client relationships and trust, i.e. personality traits that can simply not be substituted or outsourced to India, are mostly ignored. However, this is what clients pay for, and not for some technical task like preparing a memo on a legal issue. Lawyering requires experience and making judgment calls, and this trait cannot be economically "sliced away" from the more menial tasks. The author has completely failed to grasp the notion that the job of a lawyer encompasses an emotional side in addition to its rational side. This emotional side might in many cases weigh heavier than any rational idea of possible cost-cutting.

Moreover, the idea that legal costs are generelly too high is grossly exaggerated. Apart from certain excesses in hourly billing, the average continental European lawyer's hourly rate is reasonable when compared to other professions, like physicians. As already mentioned, of course, tighter budgets in legal department will invariably lead to less billable hours, but this has nothing to do with the internet.

Although it is a common trope that the internet will change every business, it has to be noted that the WWW has already been around for 20 years now and is not as new as the author believes. Contrary to popular opinion, it might well be that not every business might be completely virtualized.

In sum, "Tomorrow's Lawyers" was a suprisingly uninspired, dull read providing little new insight. Not recommended.
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am 12. Mai 2013

An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

Richard Susskind has done it again with a very modern approach to what is the age-old issue of how the legal profession will evolve in the next decade. He did it before with “The End of Lawyers?” which we reviewed favourably at the time and which has achieved substantial critical acclaim for its thoughtful submissions.

Many of Susskind’s readers now will probably be looking at their roles in the profession afresh but from the wrong side of the career time line. However, the view is worth looking at for what he offers up is most thought-provoking and, yes, he can anticipate a lot of what is about to happen.

In many ways this is a serious strategy book. It peers into the future with a most interesting Part Three on ‘Prospects for Young Lawyers’ which is probably the biggest readership area for the book.

The question really is- should I bother to become a lawyer? Well, yes! It’s a tough profession and Susskind suggests that the role of the conventional lawyer may not be as prominent in future- it will be interesting to see if history bears this out or not. We don’t agree with him on that unless we see a little less law-making which is highly doubtful.

When one door closes another opens is a serious quote from Bell at the beginning of this book and it sums up the predicament we are all in. Susskind deals not only with the changing landscape of law, but the changing attitudes of the personalities, especially on the bench, and the sea change which is modern IT.

We feel that anyone who is contemplating a legal career today whilst still an undergraduate should read this book very carefully before they attend an interview for either further academic pursuit or gainful employment.

In 180 pages and 3 Parts, the book has a wealth of common sense about what the future probably holds (without too much anticipation). The best conclusions arising from ‘Tomorrow’s Lawyers’ (and do read it cover to cover) are the refreshing and original concepts Susskind postulates. The thing is we don’t know what the future holds but Susskind gives us his best educated guesses… and for that he deserves our grateful thanks for his new legal paradigm. We wonder what will really happen!
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