“What a Law Firm will look like in 2118” by Ama Boakyewaa Adjei (2nd Runner-up LSU Blog Legal Writing Competition)

We’re the Generation Z. We live in a tech-spurred, internet-saturated, media-savvy, never-more-sophisticated world. We have automation, and AI, and a Marvel’s-world kind of future to look up to. We’ve got to be ready.

We’ll work in demanding, low-paying, labour-choked transactional law firms in 2020. We’ll be many and insignificant and dreaming the lives of our bosses. But we may never be our bosses.

In a decade, take two, the traditional law firm will be heavily augmented. Clerking – my generic term for what legal clerks, secretaries and paralegals do – will be automised. AI now does due diligence, research and most of the drudge work in parts of Asia and the US. If you don’t believe me, Google ROSS, Urex or Law Bo. 

Soon, there will be little room for Junior Associates. The field will be dense and competitive. Tech-know-how, EI, innovation, creativity, public speaking, negotiation and cut-throat diplomacy will be the new x-factors to hiring. It’ll be a death race for decades.

We’ll die at about this time…

 

Life in a century

Inter-planetary drone transportation, driverless cities, mega skyscrapers, user-adaptive smart walls, 3D printable meals, cryopreservation, medical pods, nanotech…welcome to 2118!

This is the age of planetary states and moon colonisation. There is a one-world government, complex legal pluralism and inter-planetary diplomatic associations with alien republics – picture leprechauns in Abu Dhabi teleport stations!

Some laws are defunct. You see the postal rule? It didn’t make it.

Some laws have advanced; like the law of the sea? It factors underwater metropolises. And airspace law which considers extra-terrestrial cities. M&As and most of transactional law, are now automised.

There are new areas of law –  Inter-planetary laws, Robotics etc. There are forums on the rights and obligations of sex dolls in marriage. There’s gigamy – you know where men marry computers?

 

Law in a century

There are multi-national tech corporations that create legal software. Their CEOs are the Elon Musks of the world. 

In these companies are three-man departments of legal coders who upload legal information. They are not human. They are robots.

Legal information comes in every language. We access them when we install software on computer chips in our contact lenses.

Computer chips are as cheap as your sim cards used to be. Everyone has one, everyone. They can access our brains. Our brains are digitised.

Communication is done on holographic platforms from homes. We can upload memories through the chips into the internet. This can be Evidence.

Robo-Lawyers can be accessed with the legal software. They communicate by telepathy via electric signals.

Judges are a network of supercomputers that speak every language and know every law – both internal laws and conflict of laws.

Judgements are communicated via the internet.

There are no prisons. Instead, there are brain scan-and-correction centres that repair hormonal imbalances to effect complaint citizens. It’s a coercion-free society.

In summary, the judicial system is intangible, automised and accessible through legal software.

These software may be public or private. Private ones are advertised, much like phones today! Your taste and purse determine your subscription! 

And oh, you’ll need cryptocurrency!

So what will a law firm look like in 2118? My answer…nothing like a law firm.