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Commercial and Regulatory Evolution of Legal Services: Implications for the Information Professional1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2015


This Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture 2015, delivered by Professor Stephen Mayson2, explores the commercial evolution of law as a business, and draws attention to the disconnect between this development and continuing significant unmet need for legal services and prohibitively high fees for consumers and small businesses. The evolution is therefore supposed to be far from complete, and is hampered by the broken business model of law firms. A further shortcoming is the regulatory framework for legal services. Although this, too, has evolved in recent years with the introduction of the Legal Services Act 2007, the framework is nevertheless built on the still-complex and limiting structure of reserved activities, regulatory objectives and prescriptive detail. The author then explores the implications for information professionals, and highlights the opportunities for them to contribute to the development of ‘knowing management’, to the better education and training of legal practitioners, to helping them and their organisations address greater complexity and fluidity in regulation, and to harnessing market and client intelligence to improve the quality and relevance of legal services and the value of client relationships. The themes of cooperation, collaboration and connectivity underpin all of these opportunities, and contribute to the possibility of shaping and re-forming the role of the information professional in the 21st century.

The 5th Willi Steiner Memorial Lecture
Copyright © The Author(s) 2015. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 

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