SCL Lecture 2016 – What to Expect

October 3, 2016

On Thursday 6 October, Professor Richard Susskind OBE FRSE is to give the SCL Annual Lecture before an audience of lawyers and technologists. This hotly anticipated event is free to SCL members (further details here) and over 200 have registered to attend. Last minute bookings may still be accepted. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, is to introduce Professor Susskind.

Richard Susskind has now released some details of the topics to be covered and the controversial claims to be made.

In 1996, Richard Susskind published The Future of Law, a set of 20-year predictions about tomorrow’s lawyers and courts. In his lecture, he will review progress and claim:

  • Our legal system is not fit for purpose in the 21st century – for non-lawyers it is unaffordable, unintelligible, and too time-consuming.
  • We will see more change in the next 20 years than we’ve seen in the past two centuries.
  • Artificial intelligence – recent claims overstate the likely short-term impact of AI on law but greatly understate the long-term effects. Many tasks undertaken by lawyers will eventually be replaced machines.
  • Jobs for lawyers – in the 2020s, lawyers will have a simple choice – compete with machines (do things they can’t) or build the machines.
  • Online courts – should be introduced sooner than envisaged by the Government and Judiciary but for very low value claims in the first instance.
  • UK vs US – major UK law firms are more innovative than US firms. But UK law schools are trailing behind US law schools in preparing tomorrow’s lawyers. 

Richard Susskind is the author of several best-selling books on the future of law, Susskind is President of the Society for Computers and Law, IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Oxford Internet Institute. He holds professorships at Oxford, UCL, Strathclyde, and Gresham College. He wrote a doctorate on artificial intelligence and law at Oxford in the 1980s.