3 April 2019

Caserta Receives Funding

Salvatore CasertaCaserta receives DKK 50.000 from the Dreyer Foundation for a research project investigating the impact of new technologies on the legal profession.

The current technological advances in terms of digitalization, big data, and artificial intelligence are transforming how information is created, stored, and conveyed. These developments are profoundly relevant for the legal field and the legal profession. At its core, in fact, law is an intellectual endeavour that depends on handling, storing, interpreting, and sharing knowledge as well as information. Indeed, new technologies have already made their way into the legal world, beginning to change how law is practiced by legal professionals.

Presently, there are solid reasons for believing that the increased digitalization of the legal field may have a significant impact on the structure of the legal profession and on the nature and organization of legal work. To begin with, digitalization is likely to further accelerating the economization and commodification of the practice of law, whereby lawyers are decreasingly disinterested brokers in society and defenders of the public good, but increasingly service firms at the cutting edge of the capitalist economy. Moreover, digitalization is likely to trigger new forms of stratification in the legal field. While some legal actors will benefit from digitalization and expand their business, either by cleverly integrating new technologies to reach more clients or by developing new niche areas of practices, the more routinized forms of legal practice are likely to face serious challenges from new technology-driven solutions and actors.

This project explores whether and how the above presented recent technological developments are affecting the legal profession and the nature of legal work. In so doing, the project provides an empirical study of large private law firms in four European counties (Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy). The aim is to understand whether and how large law firms in the chosen countries are affected by the current digitalization of the legal field and whether and how these are adapting to the societal changes they are facing. The project’s ambition is to evaluate the impact of new digital technologies on legal work and the consequences these may have for the underlying organization and structure of the legal profession.

The project will run for a period of 1 years, from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. During this period, Caserta will conduct semi-structured interviews with lawyers working in the largest and most important law-firms in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy.