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Which Law Jobs Are Vulnerable in an Electronic Age?

Justin Patten of Human Law Mediation ponders whether lawyers will survive and thrive in an electronic age. Patten's musings arise out of this article, The Future's Bright...but Not For Lawyers and Accountants (Daily Telegraph 5/9/07), which posits that lawyers may eventually be rendered obsolete by offshoring to less-skilled workers and technology. But even the Telegraph article notes that some lawyers will still be in demand:

Lawyers involved in family disputes, and criminal lawyers - they've got to stay around. But lawyers that write contracts, and lots of accountants, maybe that kind of education is not such a fabulous idea. Educating people to go into what I call the personal services is a good idea - some of which don't require all that much education - so electricians, carpenters, plumbers, roofers - skilled trades. This is a very new thought for the highly-educated, white-collar class to think that they may have to compete with low-wage foreign workers. Manufacturers have been doing that for generations. But accountants, lawyers, intellectuals?"

Patten is not worried -- he just recognizes that as law becomes more routine, lawyers will have to do more to stand out from the crowd. He writes:

Soft skills will come more to the fore. Welcome to the era of the cuddly lawyer. If everything is being automated you have to distinguish yourself somehow from the competition.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 15, 2007 at 06:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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