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.