Legal Tech 2.0: The World We Live in Now

Originally published for Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute on March 24, 2015

How exactly will technology change the way legal service is delivered?

Nearly everyone in law accepts that great change is underway, and that it is driven significantly by technology. But, there is less clarity about how the change will proceed.

Some see technology touching nearly every facet of legal service. Others see it as largely about communication and processing information.

Some see technology as an ally of the lawyer that will enable better client service and make careers more rewarding. Others see it as a potential threat to professionalism.

Some think change is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Others think it is moving like a freight train.

It is easy to analogize the future of legal tech to the way technology has dramatically changed our lives in other respects—Apple, Google, Facebook—but harder to anticipate the specifics, even the categories of change that lie ahead.

In Legal Technology 3.0, Oliver Goodenough, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Legal Innovation at the Vermont Law School, recently provided a valuable construct for thinking about the future of legal technology. Borrowing from Internet nomenclature, Prof. Goodenough staked out three places on a spectrum of the evolution of legal technology: Legal Tech 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. Each segment involves a distinctly different relationship between technology and legal service.

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