There is a perception that the pioneers of what Richard Susskind calls “disruptive legal technologies” are on a mission to do just that – disrupt.
I was recently talking at an event which was attended by Ian Rispin, the pioneer and tech ability behind www.wikivorce.co.uk, perhaps the leading independent online divorce community, together with the equally resource rich divorceonline.
I had the impression that there was no agenda to disrupt here at all. He had simply come up with an idea and gone ahead and implemented it. He was very modest about his creation and showed an affectionate, almost fatherly concern for the community it hosted and served.
I also had the feeling that he was not concerned about just how great a threat he and his website is perceived as being by conventional legal practices. There was no lawyer bashing agenda here.
Lawyers; Do not take comfort in this fact. There are plenty of other lawyer bashers out there who long to see the profession taken down a peg or several hundred. What is more we are currently seeing only the first wave of these “disruptive legal technologies” or communities and to guess what the second wave might look like would be crystal ball gazing.
I am sure we will continue to see more and more innovation.
To close, and to encourage any lawyers out there wringing their hands, fretting about Tesco Law, Web 2.0 and whatever else keeps you up at night, take notice of that last sentence.
“We will continue to see more and more innovation.”
Now, here’s the good news! There is no monopoly on innovation. The only reason those pioneers are pioneers is because they did something, they started something, they had the germ of an idea which they then nursed and cared for and it grew strong. Anyone, yes, even a lawyer, even you, can innovate.
What’s stopping us?
Stop fretting. Stop trying to denounce the changes that are already very well advanced and join in. Conservative longings for the times gone by aren’t going to help us. It was just that conservatism and perhaps complacency (“Oh they could never replace solicitors”) that probably got us where we are today.
Nor will it help to simply polarise the market into us and them, demonising and denigrating the online providers and their services. There is room for dialogue, scope for inspiration and collaboration. Remember, they don’t have the monopoly on innovation.
So c’mon! Let’s innovate.
Now,who’s with me?