Machine Intelligence and Lawyers' Monopoly

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Long title: 
The Coming Disruption of Law: Machine Intelligence and Lawyers' Diminishing Monopoly Power
Author(s): 
McGinnis, John O. and Pearce, Russell
Author(s)' contact information: 
Northwestern University, USA Fordham Law School, USA
Conference title: 
International Legal Ethics Conference VI
Conference location: 
City University London
Country: 
USA
Year: 
2014

The relentless growth of computer power in hardware, software, and data collection capacity means that superstars and specialists in fast changing areas of the law will prosper — and litigators and counselors will continue to profit — but the future of the journeyman lawyer is insecure. These developments may create unprecedented competitive pressures in many areas of lawyering and bar regulation will be unable to stop such competition. The legal ethics rules permit, and indeed where necessary for lawyers to provide competent representation, require lawyers to employ machine intelligence. Even though unauthorized practice of law statutes on their face prohibit nonlawyers’ use of machine intelligence to provide legal services to consumers, these laws have failed, and are likely to continue to fail, to limit the delivery of legal services through machine intelligence. In the long run, the role of machine intelligence in providing legal services will speed the erosion of lawyers’ monopoly on delivering legal services and will advantage consumers and society by making legal services more transparent and affordable.

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