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Towards the Uberisation of Legal Practice


Uber and Airbnb signify new ways of working and doing business by facilitating direct access to providers through new digitalised platforms. The gig economy is also beginning to percolate into legal practice through what is colloquially known as NewLaw. Eschewing plush offices, permanent staff and the rigidity of time billing, NewLaw offers cheaper services to clients in order to compete more effectively with traditional law firms. For individual lawyers, autonomy, flexibility, a balanced life, wellbeing and even happiness are claimed to be the benefits. The downside appears to be that NewLaw favours senior and experienced lawyers while disproportionately impacting  on recent graduates. This article draws on interviews with lawyers in Australian and English NewLaw firms in order to evaluate the pros and cons of NewLaw.

Published: 2019-08-20
Pages:46 to 63
Section: Symposium: Automation, Innovation and Disruption in Legal Practice
How to Cite
Thornton, Margaret. 2019. “Towards the Uberisation of Legal Practice”. Law, Technology and Humans 1 (August):46-63.

Author Biography

Australian National University
Australia Australia

Margaret Thornton is Emerita Professor of Law and Public Policy Fellow in the ANU College of Law at the Australian National University. She has degrees from Sydney, UNSW and Yale, and is a Barrister of the High Court of Australia. She has research interests in the areas of discrimination, legal education, the legal profession, feminist legal theory and the corporatisation of universities, and has published extensively in these areas. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074