Computer Systems Fit for the Legal Profession?

Legal Ethics, doi: 10.1080/1460728x.2018.1551702

31 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018 Last revised: 29 Nov 2018

See all articles by Sylvie Delacroix

Sylvie Delacroix

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Law School; The Alan Turing Institute

Date Written: April 7, 2018


This essay aims to contribute robust grounds to question the Susskinds’ influential, consequentialist logic when it comes to the legitimacy criteria for wholesale automation in the legal profession. It does so by questioning their minimalist understanding of the professions. If it is our commitment to moral equality that is at stake every time lawyers (fail to) hail the specific vulnerability inherent in their professional relationship, the case for wholesale automation is turned on its head. One can no longer assume that, as a rule, wholesale automation is both legitimate and desirable, provided it improves the quality and accessibility of legal services (in an accountable and maximally transparent way). The assumption, instead, is firmly in favour of designing systems that better enable legal professionals to live up to their specific responsibility. The rest of the essay outlines key challenges in the design of such profession-specific, ‘ethics aware’ decision-support systems.

Keywords: Decision Support Systems, Augmentation, Ethical Agency, Legal Profession, Ethics, Professions, Professional Responsibility, Automated Systems, Susskind

Suggested Citation

Delacroix, Sylvie, Computer Systems Fit for the Legal Profession? (April 7, 2018). Legal Ethics, doi: 10.1080/1460728x.2018.1551702, Available at SSRN: or

Sylvie Delacroix (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Law School ( email )

Birmingham, AL B15 2TT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://

The Alan Turing Institute ( email )

96 Euston Road
London, NW1 2DB
United Kingdom

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