The perils or advantages of artificial intelligence, the software that can work independent of human intervention, has the potential to dispense with the need for lawyers, according to University of Canterbury Professor John Hopkins.
Delivering a lecture to the Canterbury School of Law, he said that the increasing cost of legal advice and the excessive formality of the legal system has left the way open for alternative ways to undertake the ‘law jobs’, without the need of lawyers.
“If current trends continue, the much maligned profession may die out, all on its own,” Professor Hopkins told a UC public lecture entitled “Law without lawyers: does legal education have a future?” last week.
Professor Hopkins takes the view that legal academia will return to its roots as a venue for studying law rather than training lawyers.
The lawyers, he said, will be substantially removed by the continuing growth in AI and those law schools that survive and succeed will be those that “shrug off their isolationist exceptionalism and embrace a multi-disciplinary future”.
“From Blockchain to ‘Alternative’ Dispute Resolution, the way appears open for a legal system without the need for the high priests of the legal profession to navigate it,” he said.
“In effect, the changing relationship between law and society will drive legal education back to its academic roots. The future of legal academia is the study of law, not the training of lawyers.”