If you happen to be in Oxford today, there's a little treat in store for you. "The End of Lawyers? The Future of Legal Service in the Internet Age", is an address delivered from 1600 to 1700pm by Professor Richard Susskind OBE at the Gulbenkian Lecture Theatre, Oxford Faculty of Law, St Cross Building, St Cross Road, Oxford OX1 3UL. A reception will follow the lecture, which anyone can attend -- but can they please email email@example.com first, presumably to ensure an adequate supply of wine and peanuts. This lecture will lay out the central arguments of Richard Susskind's latest book, published by Oxford University Press, The End of Lawyers? According to the IPKat's information, Professor Susskind will argue that,
"in this time of grave economic uncertainty, the market will no longer tolerate traditional, expensive lawyers who handcraft tasks that can be better discharged with the support of modern systems and techniques. He will claim that the legal profession will be driven by two forces in the coming decade: by a market pull towards the commoditisation of legal services, and by the pervasive uptake of disruptive, internet-based technologies. The threat here for lawyers is clear - their jobs may well be eroded or even displaced. At the same time, for entrepreneurial lawyers, Susskind foresees quite different law jobs emerging which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today".The IPKat is having none of this. Traditional, expensive lawyers are a product of the market in the same way as traditional, cheap lawyers are -- and in the UK there are far more thin cats than fat ones if the statistics are anything to go by. Merpel agrees: commoditisation of legal services and the pervasive uptake of disruptive, internet-based technologies will affect the legal profession at the lower end of the market, where legal services are more amenable to commoditisation, but will enable the expensive, specialist kind (the species to which IP lawyers aspire) to deliver their expensive services more efficiently and profitably.