Respected sources are newly reporting that lawyers “are facing greater disruption and transformation in the next two decades than we have had in the past century.”
The algorithms are coming.
Artificial intelligence is set to replace associates. Robots will replace junior partners. They may replace senior partners.
This is disruptive? Maybe it is Nirvana.
We are told, credibly, that what’s coming “will give rise to new ways of sharing expertise in society and will lead to the gradual dismantling of the traditional professions.” OK, but maybe this is an opportunity for lawyers to return to what they were meant to be – not technicians and managers, but counselors, advocates.
Surely the services lawyers provide in the future will evolve. But surely also clients will continue to value, perhaps in new ways, a sense of context and level of judgment that they themselves do not have – the last level of counsel and assurance. And in the end, there will be occasions when only a lawyer can bring the last level of conviction and passion needed in complex and ambiguous circumstances. Algorithms are coming, but ambiguities are not going away.
In the end, law firms must deliver to their members, organic culture, authentic experience, and opportunities to fail. Those are what develop great lawyers.
In the end, the great lawyers will be the ones who learn to bring hammers to the coming computer fights.