Richard Susskind, best-selling author, futurist, legal tech expert, and adviser to major law firms and national governments, will discuss the Future of Litigation, at the 2021 R. Matt Dawson Endowed Lecture at Baylor Law. He is the author of ‘Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future’ and ‘Online Courts and the Future of Justice,’ released in December of 2019.
The virtual event, scheduled for Friday, Jan 29, 2021 11:30 CT, will be hosted by Co-Director of Baylor Law’s LL.M. in Litigation Management, Professor of Law Liz Fraley. Pre-registration is required at www.baylor.edu/law/DawsonLecture.
Susskind will discuss how lawyers need to prepare for the coming disruption that technology, costs, and competition will bring to litigation and advocacy. Along with finding new ways to do business, attorneys will also need to watch out for new competitors trying to lure clients, while recognizing how new and evolving technologies will radically change the litigation process in the future.
The need for leaders in our
communities, in our country, has never been greater. A survey by the Harvard
Center for Public Leadership found that over two-thirds of Americans think the
nation has a leadership crisis. Some believe our nation has never been more
complex, polarized, and siloed than now. We need leaders who have vision,
values, integrity and the ability to see beyond the narrow perspectives of one
side. We need lawyers to step up and play more active roles in their
Lawyers offer many skill
sets that are helpful in accomplishing goals and effectuating change. Law
schools develop studentsâ proficiencies in identifying and analyzing issues and
problems, and in communicating clearly and persuasively as necessary. Lawyers
know that negotiation and compromise may be necessary to move past gridlock.
Our code of professional conduct establishes an expectation of civility and
integrity in our actions.
Will we recognize that lawyersâ highest and best use is not as legal technicians (although that will sure be required)? Will we remember that our role as legal analysts, advocates and problem solvers allow us to effectively counsel and influence clients and organizations?
But the legal profession is at a crossroads as well. What will be the role of lawyers in society in the future? The profession is forever changedâwe have an inkling of whatâs to come with technology and the impact of artificial intelligence on our profession, but we donât really know the full implications. Which of our traditional lawyering tasks will be automated? How will we adapt? Will we recognize that lawyersâ highest and best use is not as legal technicians (although that will sure be required)? Will we remember that our role as legal analysts, advocates and problem solvers allow us to effectively counsel and influence clients and organizations? Will we finally find a way to stem the tide of mistrust in lawyers and lack of faith in the institution that is our system of democracy and its rule of law?
Planning for what society needs from lawyers in the future is why we should begin to think about skills beyond learning substantive law or technical skills, which have been the focus of law schools traditionally. The skill sets needed as counselors and leadersâthose who are going to help clients and organizations work through their issuesâare going to be even more important to lawyers in the future. They will be just as important as professional responsibility, ethics, and service to the public. Leadership should be equally pervasive in our language as we teach our students about our obligations and opportunities as lawyers.