Building resilient professionals in an age of automation

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    This presentation seeks to explore what it means to be human and a lawyer in an age of increasing automation and legal technology.

    Recent innovations in the legal services sector have brought rapid changes including automated document production and review, e-discovery, predictive analysis, artificial intelligence and legal chatbots. These are taking place in a broader context of societal change - use of robotics in manufacturing; fully automated, driverless vehicles predicted to be widely in use by 2030; and blockchain technology enabling secure real time tracking of financial and other transactions.

    Authors and futurists such as Richard and Daniel Susskind, Martin Ford, Alec Ross, George Beaton and Imme Kaschner, point to big changes in the professional services industry, including the legal sector. The American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services released its Report on the Future of Legal services in the United States in August 2016. Together these forecast an experience for professionals very different to their current participation in the workplace. These changes are set against a backdrop of a bigger conversation about the future of work itself. This level of disruption is mirrored in legal education, although arguably may yet to be fully appreciated by Law Schools. Five factors identified as disrupting legal education in the US (disruption in legal services, nonconsumption of legal services, policy/licensure changes, disruption in higher education, and nonconsumption of legal education) apply equally in Australia.

    So what does this mean for the future of legal education? What knowledge, skills and competencies will law graduates need to meet this new and dynamically changing environment? In this challenging context, characterising the essence of the role of lawyers as ‘catering to the strongest of all human needs: the need for relational safety’ may provide key insights as to how law students can be effectively equipped with the capacity to be resilient, flourish and thrive as legal professionals in the twenty first century.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventNational Wellness for law Forum 2017: Rehumanising the Law and Legal Education - University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
    Duration: 16 Feb 201717 Feb 2017 (Conference program and info guide)


    ConferenceNational Wellness for law Forum 2017
    OtherThe theme for the 2017 Forum is Rehumanising the Law and Legal Education. Within this theme we thought it would open up the opportunity to explore issues relating to such things as self-perception, diversity and inclusion (embracing age, race, gender, sexuality, religious conviction etc.), individual and institutional respect, and psychological empowerment in legal study and practice.
    Internet address


    • legal services
    • lawyers
    • legal technology
    • automation
    • professional services industry


    Dive into the research topics of 'Building resilient professionals in an age of automation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this