What are the books you should read to get familiar with legal tech, entrepreneurial lawyerism, legal innovation and the future of law? Please check out my (non-exhaustive) list of favorite books which I consider being the best reads to understand and explore which key drivers and developments are about to change the legal industry and our society in general:
- Daniel und Richard Susskind, The Future of the Professions: How Technology will the Work of Human Experts, 2015: This book predicts the decline of today’s professions and describes the people, the technology and systems that will replace them. In an Internet society, according to the authors, we will neither need nor want lawyers and other professions to work as they did in the 20th century. A must-read.
- Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, 2013: In this provocative and forward-looking volume on the legal profession, Richard Susskind predicts fundamental and irreversible changes in the world of law. What Susskind sees is eye-opening: a legal world of virtual courts, Internet-based global legal businesses, online document production, commoditized service, legal process outsourcing, and web-based simulated practice. Legal markets will be liberalized, with new jobs for lawyers and new employers too. The book is a definitive guide for young lawyers, and for all who want to modernize our legal and justice systems. It introduces the new legal landscape and offers practical guidance for those who intend to build careers and businesses in law. Susskind clearly points out the key drivers of change, such as the economic downturn and legal technology, and considers how these will shape the legal marketplace. A highly recommend introduction to the future of law.
- Chrissie Lightfoot, Tomorrow’s Naked Lawyer, 2015: This book is a fun and sometimes provoking read. The author gives a vibrating overview of the changing dynamics in the legal services industry and how they can and will impact lawyers. This unconventional book explores, debates, and challenges conventional thinking and wisdom with regard to marketing, branding, technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and the future of law during the period 2015 to 2045. An enjoyable read for everyone who has a good sense of humour and is willing to throw out conventional legal writing. Chrissie’s message is clear, hard hitting yet entertaining. Don’t miss it.
- Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, 2015: This is a very good book that offers a very readable and comprehensive treatment of the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence, and what it means for society and the economy. The book has lots of vivid examples showing how technology is already coming after both blue-collar and white-collar jobs. Definitely a must-read for anyone concerned about their own future. I recommend reading Ford’s earlier, brilliant book The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, which accurately predicted a lot of the innovations and economic trends.
- Erik Brynjolfsson/Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, 2016: A New York Times Bestseller. A look at how digital technology is transforming our work and our lives. The author argue that as technology advances exponentially and combinatorially it is taking us into an entirely new and better era. But there is also a dark side: Machines and computers are increasingly substituting for routine human labor, and technology is a major driver of increased inequality. A real eye-opener. I also recommend watching Brynjolfsson’s TED talk on the same topic. It provides a good overview of what you will find in his book.
- Brian Christian, The Most Human Human: What Artificial Intelligence Teaches Us About Being Alive, 2012: This book is wonderfully readable, timely, informative and intriguing. The central subject is the author’s experience participating in a Turing test competition. Whilst sharing his experience Mr Christian does a marvelous job explaining the history of AI, how computers really work to simulate human thought and what computers teach us about ourselves. The author makes potentially difficult subjects accessible and entertaining. Highly recommended.
- Stuart Russell/Peter Norvig, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, 2013: Everyone who wants to dive deeper into AI will like this book. This 1100 page tome is the class textbook for the AI course run at Stanford University. It is up to date and gives a lot of information about new approaches to AI and machine learning that have been developed in the last 10 years. The book is not a light read though. If you just want to know what AI is about then there are a lot of easier introductory books around. I would recommend Brian Christian’s book or Artificial Intelligence: The Basics by Kevin Warwick (2011).
- Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, 2011: In this convincing and deep book, Christensen claims outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership or disappear altogether. Focusing on “disruptive technology,” the author explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. This book could be particularly interesting and eye-opening for lawyers who want to understand how innovation works and whether the current technological developments might be “disruptive” for the legal industry.
- Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, 2006: In this bestseller Pink argues that the Agricultural Age and Industrial Age have fallen away, and the Information Age is fading fast. We’re hurtling into the Conceptual Age where especially automation and technology will have a huge impact on white-collar jobs (lawyers etc.). Any job that depends on routines that can be reduced to a set of rules, or broken down into a set of repeatable steps is at risk. White-collar jobs will be automated or outsourced overseas. According to Pink, in a Conceptual Age the majority of jobs will be held by people that create something, or by people that are capable of empathizing with others. Pink suggest to cultivate the right hemisphere of your brain, the artistic/creative side responsible for seeing the big-picture, spontaneity, emotive expression, abstraction, and context. An eye-opening and provocative read.
- David Galbenski, Legal Visionaries: How to make their innovations work for you, 2013: The book consists of interviews with corporate lawyers, venture capitalists, legal process outsourcers, legal education providers, legal entrepreneurs and others concerning current and future trends. Most of the interviews in this book give an interesting and novel insights about the changes taking place in the legal profession. If you are interested in the future of the legal industry, it will be a useful read. The book can be an inspiration to legal visionaries. Don’t expect deep analysis, though.
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