by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 8th 2008 10:18am
Since we write about an awful lot of lawsuits and public policy issues around here, we often can be pretty harsh on lawyers (admittedly, we often fall short of appreciating the good lawyers who protect everyone from the worst abuses). But, one thing that has seemed pretty clear is that, by opening up more legal issues, the pace of technology innovation has increased the demand for more lawyers. But will that always be the case? Apparently, some believe that a business ripe for disintermediation, thanks to the internet, will be the legal profession. The idea is that a lot of basic (high margin) legal work can now be automated. Part of this is probably true. The amount that businesses have to pay for fairly routine processes can be quite ridiculous at times. However, I doubt that the legal profession is really facing a shift as major as those facing, say, the entertainment industry. It may cut out some margins on the low end of stuff usually handled by paralegals or new associates, but it seems likely that there will be plenty of room for lawyers. Sometimes, in fact, it seems like our elected representatives are really mostly focused on a program of "full employment for lawyers," by passing laws that only require more lawyers.
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