“I do a lot of presenting to law firm partnerships about technology,” says Professor Richard Susskind. “What you look for is genuine commitment and understanding from leaders in law firms. I can tell within two minutes which firms really want to make things happen, and those who want to do the minimum amount not to look behind.
“There are senior partners who say: ‘Yes, technology is very important to us.’ But you can see in their eyes: they know it’s important but they haven’t spent the time or been personally convinced that this is absolutely central to the future.
“These firms – in terms of their word processing, accounting systems, electronic mail, basic systems – are very well run. I’m talking about their use of technology in the delivery of service to clients.”
As an adviser to the Lord Chief Justice, the president of the Society for Computers and Law, and a independent adviser to numerous professional firms and governments, Susskind does a lot of crystal ball gazing, anticipating how future technology will affect lawyers and their working methods.
But Susskind is no Nostradamus: his Brave New World will be neither dystopian nor dysfunctional although it will certainly be very different. And planning for it will be difficult.