Law in the Internet Society
Throughout the last couple of weeks we have been discussing in class the interrelation of the law, economics and politics regarding the internet. Unless I stand corrected, we have been pondering, among other aspects, the treasure trove it represents for the "Big Interests" and the dire consequences that have come about as a result of their struggle to wield control over its content (information). In addition, there seems to be a message that we will soon be discussing in class with more depth, which relates to the reasons as to why the "Big Interests" would oppose to the absolute access of others to its contents. For the time being, suffice it to comment that it might be because of the repercussions that the freedom of information by others and the technological advancements in the digital era might have on their economic interests.

More than looking into the past, I would exhort a quick look into the future in order to possibly understand the adamant opposers. Specifically, I would like to use our profession as an example. I am unaware of how many colleagues in the classroom are LLM students or have already had professional experience in the field, but you would probably agree with me that today's market allows for single, small firms to better compete with larger law firms given the plethora of free legal resources available to conduct research (e.g. Google Scholar, FastCase? ). However, there seem to be other important factors in play, as well. Thanks to the access of information and advancements in technology, clients seem to be reacting to the economic model of billable hours, abandoning large law firms, and switching to the ever characterized unconventional law firms. Just recently, the renowned law firm originally known as Howrey & Simon shut operations, while two years ago each individual partner was averaging $1 million in revenues. Over 50 years of experience and it took a little under a year to dissolve. The evolving discovery model seems to play its part too. Given the rising costs of discovering electronically stored information and the growth in technology for purposes of electronic document search and review, the business model of documentary review - profitable source for large firms/litigation practice - is being questioned. These are just two examples of many that have a direct repercussion on us and which come about as a result of the freedom of information and technology.

It seems to me that the future of the legal profession is definitely changing. Whether for the good or bad, it probably depends on how we personally address the matter. Back home I tried to have this dialogue with my peers. However, instead of facing the arguments towards an open debate, the overwhelming majority opted to take the "ostrich approach". That is: disregard your surroundings and worry no more. The reluctance to accept and confront what might be the future of the legal profession, and the potential need to prepare for an era to come, appears to arise out of the aforementioned fear of the repercussions that information and technology might have on the "Big Interests" - in our case, the large law firms. Attached are two articles that touch on this subject.

-- AlejandroMercado - 29 Sep 2011



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r2 - 07 Sep 2012 - 18:15:16 - IanSullivan
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