Law’s Information Revolution

Larry Ribstein —  12 January 2011

For several months I’ve been threatening to unleash a new article that discusses the future of the law business, following the Death of Big Law.  See my earlier posts on “law entrepreneurs” and “owning the law.”

The day has at last arrived.  The article is now called “Law’s Information Revolution,” co-authored by Bruce Kobayashi, and on SSRN.  Here’s the abstract.

Lawyers traditionally have conveyed legal expertise in the form of advice tailored to the needs of individual clients. This business model is reinforced by licensing and ethical rules designed to ensure the lawyer’s competence and loyalty to the client’s interests. The traditional professional model is being challenged by the sale of legal information to impersonal product and capital markets. This article provides a theoretical intellectual property framework for the regulatory decisions that must be made as the two models collide. We show that traditional professional regulation inhibits full development of the new business model by limiting intellectual property protection for legal information. This regulation assumes consumers will continue to get legal information in one-to-one relationships with lawyers where they have little ability to evaluate the advice they are receiving. However, a fully developed legal information market could provide some of the protection consumers now receive from licensing and ethical rules without the current model’s costs of restricting the supply and raising the costs of legal services. We apply our analysis to some actual and potential markets in legal information.

Read it while it’s hot.

Larry Ribstein

Posts

Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

4 responses to Law’s Information Revolution

  1. 

    Interesting paper as always. However, your research on how legal publishers may be impacting the practice of law is limited by your reliance on the big players Westlaw, Lexis and Bloomberg. I imagine the smaller players are innovating much more than them. For example, I tried business casual games a few years ago – something I imagine they won’t try for years. And others I wouldn’t dare mention here because they’ll steal my ideas…

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Lawsuit loans « Truth on the Market - January 17, 2011

    […] on the Market — Topsy.com on The First Amendment and Corporate GovernanceBroc Romanek on Law’s Information RevolutionLaw's Information Revolution « Truth on the Market | All Information on Law’s […]

  2. Law's Information Revolution « Truth on the Market | All Information - January 13, 2011

    […] the original post: Law's Information Revolution « Truth on the Market This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged article, article-provides, being-challenged, […]

  3. Law's Information Revolution « Truth on the Market | Information - January 13, 2011

    […] the rest here: Law's Information Revolution « Truth on the Market This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged article, article-provides, being-challenged, […]