'In sum, [this book] constitutes a meaningful and valuable contribution to the field of the sociology of the legal profession in the digital era.' -- Salvatore Caserta, Sydney Law Review, 2021.
The legal profession has undergone significant changes in the past few years. These have affected working structures and context within the profession, in turn affecting the wellbeing of individual practitioners. This book is the first to consider how these operate in practice and how they impact on the wellbeing of lawyers. This is significant because legal systems cannot operate without properly functioning lawyers. Changes considered include rapidly evolving technologies such as the internet, artificial intelligence and increasing digitisation, and innovations in legal practice. Such innovations include changes in the structures of law firms, changing requirements about whether lawyers must practice separately from other professions and changing employment practices in law firms.
The Impact of Technology and Innovation on the Well-Being of the Legal Profession considers the impact of all of these developments on the legal profession. It begins with students and how their responses to questions about their attitudes to learning may provide clues as to why they and the professionals they become might be more vulnerable to depression and anxiety than the wider population. The analysis then extends to how both satisfaction and stress levels can be simultaneously high and the implications of this, considering the experiences of lawyers in private and public practice, as well as academics, and their responses to the interactions between all of these changes. Leading researchers assess the situation in Australia and the United Kingdom in these various domains, using empirical research as the foundation of the arguments put forth.
Anyone who is interested in the future of the legal profession and the challenges currently faced as a consequence of the massive structural and environmental changes experienced should read this book.
Michael Legg is Professor of Law and the Director of the Law Society of New South Wales Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) research stream at UNSW.
Prue Vines is Professor of Law and Associate Dean (Education) and Co-Director of the Private Law Research and Policy Group at UNSW Law.
Janet Chan is Professor at UNSW Law and leader of the Data Justice research stream at the Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation.