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The changing nature of the legal services market and the implications for the qualifying law degree

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There are a number of factors influencing changes to the legal services market, (Mayson 2007), not least amongst them the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA) and the advent of alternative business structures. Further influences include the disruptive legal technologies discussed by Richard Susskind in the “The End of Lawyers?” (Susskind 2008). It is submitted that with the advent of increasing legal process outsourcing (LPO) that the legal services market is changing, stretching and polarizing with fewer expert fully qualified solicitors and barristers at one end of the scale, and, more “paralegals” with a range of different definitions at the other end of the scale. It is also suggested that private practice will look different; the range of careers open to those with knowledge of law and legal research will alter. The market is being influenced by the disruptive legal technologies. We have closed legal communities with Legal OnRamp. (This is a collaboration system for in-house counsel and invited outside lawyers and third party service providers. There are lawyers participating from over 40 countries, and a rapidly growing collection of content and technology resources. Basic services are free, so all members are expected to contribute to the community as a whole. See http://legalonramp.com/). There are ever more sources of law to interpret and evaluate. The lawyers of the future, it is argued by Furlong (2009), will need an understanding of project management skills and web 2.0 technologies and ever greater research skills. Should the potential changes being initiated by the LSA and mobile technologies be taken into account in learning and teaching strategies? Should the structure and content of the law degree alter? This article will discuss possible impacts of these initiators of change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalWeb Journal of Current Legal Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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