Disruption Rhetoric

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Long title: 
Disruption Rhetoric and the Market for Legal Services
Markovic, Milan
Author(s)' contact information: 
Texas A&M University, USA
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London

A number of scholars have contended that the legal services market is undergoing unprecedented change. Relying on Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation, they have suggested that lawyers and law firms cannot compete with technology-savvy new entrants that are able to deliver legal services more cheaply and efficiently. The recent worldwide recession, it is claimed, only expedited this process.
This Article accepts that the legal services market is evolving and that technology will play an important role in this market’s future. However, proponents of disruptive innovation in the law often do not use the term in the sense intended by Christensen and are able to marshal only weak evidence that the legal services market is being disrupted. The legal disruptionists also overestimate the degree to which legal services can be automated or outsourced while downplaying ethical considerations that help to justify restrictions on the delivery of legal services by non-lawyers.

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