Legal Technology: The Great Disruption?

28 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2020

See all articles by Julian Webb

Julian Webb

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School

Date Written: July 31, 2020


This paper considers how legal technology, defined here as the use of digital information and communication technologies to automate or part automate legal work process, to provide decision support to legal service providers, and to provide legal information and advice directly to clients/end users, is re-shaping both legal work processes, and the organisation and governance of legal practice. Starting from an essentially descriptive and functional account of legal technology, the paper explores its role in changing the temporal-spatial and organisational characteristics of practice, and in creating new challenges for the regulation of legal services. The paper then moves explicitly into sociological theory to address the question how new legal technologies are reshaping the landscape of professional knowledge and expertise itself. It concludes by drawing together implications of these various strands for the future sustainability and legitimacy of the legal profession in its present form.

Keywords: legal profession, legal technology, disruption, regulation, legal knowledge

JEL Classification: K00, K39

Suggested Citation

Webb, Julian, Legal Technology: The Great Disruption? (July 31, 2020). U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 897, Available at SSRN: or

Julian Webb (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Melbourne, VIC 3010

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