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“Legal tech” is transforming litigation and law practice, and its steady advance has tapped a rich vein of anxiety about the future of the legal profession. Much of the resulting debate narrowly focuses on what legal tech portends for the professional authority, and profitability, of lawyers. It is also profoundly futurist, full of references to “robolawyers” and “robojudges.” Lost in this rush to foretell the future of lawyers is what should be an equally or even more important concern: What effect will legal tech’s continued advance have on core features of our civil justice system and the procedural rules that structure it? This talk will tackle that question by exploring how specific legal tech tools might alter litigation for good and for ill and how various foundational rules of civil procedure can, or should, adapt in response. The challenge for courts—and, in time, for rulemakers and legislators—will be how best to adapt a digitized litigation system using procedural rules built for a very different, analog era.
|David Freeman Engstrom
Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
David Freeman Engstrom is a far-ranging scholar of public law and the design and implementation of litigation and regulatory regimes whose expertise runs to civil procedure, administrative law, constitutional law, federal courts, legal history, and empirical legal studies.
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