Chicago lawyers have been rigorously twittering and blogging about the recent keynote address delivered by Richard Susskind, the legal technology consultant, adviser and author, at last week's American Bar Association Techshow.
There will be an "unimaginable, explosive growth and development in the power of technology", Susskind said, warning of a renewed zeitgeist around social networking.
Susskind, the man who brought us 'The Future of Law', has kept his readers frothing at the mouth with the release of a new book 'The End of Lawyer? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services'.
His key point was that change is coming, and it's coming despite lawyers, not because of them.
Susskind countered the common assumption that when the market returns to normal, business will return to normal. "I fundamentally, completely disagree with that," he said.
"For it seems to me that actually when the storm lifts, the terrain is going to look wildly different," Susskind said in his speech. "What we're seeing courtesy of this dreadful economy is an acceleration of what many of us have anticipated in legal services. And that is the introduction of all manner of efficiencies, largely due to the impact of information technology."
And his take on social networking has appealed to his legal blogging elite. "I believe that some version of social networking will come to dominate the way professional services are delivered and will transform legal services," he said.
"Clients are going to harness the collaborative power of technology. They're going to harness the power of online community and much of the work that used to be distributed to law firms in a conventional way will be displaces by a community-based sharing of legal experience. This will be disruptive to the legal profession beyond our imagination."