Episode #80 - The Future of the Legal Profession

Ed and Ron were honored to interview three Australian lawyers, two who practice, and one consultant to the profession. The topic was the future of the legal profession, as set forth in the Richard and Daniel Susskind book, The Future of the Professions.

David Wells is Managing Principal of Moores. David is an Accredited Specialist of the Law Institute of Victoria in Commercial Litigation and is a Law Institute of Victoria Approved Mediator. He has acted in commercial dispute resolution in all Court jurisdictions for over 20 years. David’s expertise is in resolving major commercial disputes and managing complex legal issues for medium to large sized corporations, local government and industry bodies.

As a director of View Legal, Matthew Burgess specializes in trusts, tax, superannuation, asset protection, estate and succession planning and related areas, and has been recognized in the ‘Best Lawyers’ list since 2014 in relation to trusts and estates. He has enjoyed developing a number of innovative legal products for advisers and their clients, including establishing what is generally regarded as Australia's first virtual law firm. He speaks for many industry associations, accounting firms, financial advisers and commercial businesses, on a variety of specialist legal topics. Since 2010, he has increasingly provided assistance to other professional service firms in re-engineering their business models. In early 2006 he gave away the family television (effectively replicating for his 4 daughters the TV free upbringing he had). He’s published a collection of illustrated children’s stories in addition to his multiple published law related books and business book “The Dream Enabler.”

John Chisholm is a third generation lawyer who prior to establishing John Chisholm Consulting in 2005, has held senior executive positions in leading Australian legal and accounting firms for more than 17 years, transforming them into market leaders in their fields. He is recognized for his management, leadership and visionary skills, as well as his ability to think outside the square. As part of his consultancy practice John was part-time Executive Chairman of the Melbourne practice of PKF Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors (Now BDO Australia) from 2006-2008, guiding them through a full financial integration with PKF Sydney and Brisbane. John was admitted to practice as a Barrister & Solicitor in 1979, and practiced principally in commercial and property law. He is a member of the Law Council of Australia, the Law Institute of Victoria, the Australian Legal Practice Management Association and also a senior fellow of the VeraSage Institute, an international think tank devoted to professional firm pricing, leadership and strategy.

We discussed the following questions: 

  • Do you agree with the book’s overall premise of entering a post-professional society?
  • What struck you most about the book, or convinced you of its premise?
  • How are you advising your professional customers?
  • How are your firms adapting to these changes?
  • In our interview with Daniel Susskind he discussed the concept of Latent demand. When John and I spoke with Chief Justice Wayne Martin (Perth, WA), he was also concerned about access and the increasingly cost of justice? Lawyers have offered a Rolls Royce and everyone else is walking.
  • What did you disagree with in the book?
  • What do you think about judges being replaced by an IBM Watson-type system?
  • Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the legal profession?