Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

The Profession(s)’ Engagements with LawTech: Narratives and Archetypes of Future Law


This article argues that there are three narratives to technology’s role in augmenting, disrupting or ending the current legal services environment—each of which gives life to particular legal professional archetypes in how lawyers react to LawTech. In tracing these influential narratives and associated archetypes, we map the evolving role of LawTech, the legal profession and legal services delivery. The article concludes by proffering a further narrative of technology’s role in law known as ‘adaptive professionalism’, which emphasises the complex, contextual nature of the legal professional field. Through this normative rather than descriptive account it is suggested that the profession may access the benefits of technological developments while holding on to essential notions of ethical conduct, access to justice and the rule of law.

Published: 2019-11-25
Pages:6 to 26
Section: Symposium: Automation, Innovation and Disruption in Legal Practice
How to Cite
Webley, Lisa, John Flood, Julian Webb, Francesca Bartlett, Kate Galloway, and Kieran Tranter. 2019. “The Profession(s)’ Engagements With LawTech: Narratives and Archetypes of Future Law”. Law, Technology and Humans 1 (November):6-26.

Author Biographies

University of Birmingham
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Professor Lisa Webley’s research concerns the regulation, education and ethicality and professionalism of the legal profession, and broader access to justice and rule of law concerns. She has been the Principal Investigator on several large research projects and has undertaken funded empirical research for public bodies and organisations including the European Commission; the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Trade and Industry. She is head of research in CEPLER.

Lisa is General Editor of Legal Ethics and Co-Director of the Legal Education Research Network. She holds visiting professorships at the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University Australia and at the University of Portsmouth, and has been a visiting scholar at Melbourne University and Hong Kong University. She holds a Senior Research Fellowship at IALS, University of London. She is co-author (with Harriet Samuels) of the Complete Public Law: Text, Cases and Materials (OUP) and Legal Writing (Routledge). She was awarded the OUP Law Teacher of the Year prize 2016.

Griffith University
Australia Australia

John Flood is a sociologist and lawyer who is fascinated by the sociology of the professions, especially legal; the organisation and work of law firms and lawyers; globalization; the impact of technology including AI and blockchain, and most recently the medicalisation of cannabis (with Dr Monique Lewis). John is Honorary Professor of Law at UCL, Research Fellow in the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Westminster. He also acts as advisor to a number of technology startups in legal technology and blockchain, including Legaler, Inkrypt, and DRT.

The University of Melbourne
Australia Australia

Julian Webb is Professor of Law and a member of the Digital Citizens Research Network at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne. He obtained his LLM and LLD from the University of Warwick, UK, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a Bencher (Academic) of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. His current research interests span legal ethics theory, the delivery and regulation of legal services, and regulation and policy-making in legal education. He is currently principal investigator in the multi-disciplinary Regulating Automated Legal Advice Technologies (RALAT) project at Melbourne.

The University of Queensland
Australia Australia

Francesca Bartlett is an Associate Professor of Law the TC Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland. She researches in the area of lawyers' ethics and professional responsibility, access to justice, regulation of lawyers, feminist jurisprudence and gender and judging. She was a CI on the Australian Feminist Judgments Project funded by the Australian Research Council under a Discovery Project Grant. She is undertaking a number of projects relating to lawyers working across Asia, and how technology impacts upon access to justice and ethics in the legal profession. She is currently the lead CI on a project concerning technology and access to justice in the legal assistance sector funded under an AIBE Applied Research Fund grant. She is a member of the Queensland Law Society Ethics Committee, the Australian Pro Bono Research Committee and the Secretary of the International Association of Legal Ethics. She regularly provides academic assistance to the Queensland Law Society's Practice Management Course. Before joining the Law School, she practiced for a number of years as a commercial solicitor at a national law firm in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Bond University
Australia Australia

Kate Galloway is joining Griffith Law School in 2020 as Associate Professor of Law after three years at Bond University. She has degrees from Queensland, QUT and the University of Melbourne, and is a Solicitor of the High Court of Australia. Her research interests lie the areas of property law and its intersection with social and environmental justice; legal education, focusing on curriculum; and the intersection of emergent technologies and the law. She is widely published both in academic literature and as a commentator in diverse media.

Queensland University of Technology
Australia Australia

Kieran is the Chair of Law, Technology and Future in the School of Law. Kieran joined the School of Law, Queensland University of Technology in 2019 and is the founding General Editor of Law, Technology and Humans.

Kieran researches law, technology and the future. Drawing upon legal studies, the humanities and the social sciences, he charts how humans legislate, live with, and are changed by technology. In researching law, technology and the future his research often engages with cultural narratives that connect humans, law and technology and past configurations of humans, law and technology. The goal of his research is to guide and shape humanity’s technological future to be better than its technological past.

Prior to this appointment he was an Associate Professor at Griffith Law School, Griffith University. At Griffith Law School Kieran served in many roles: HDR Convenor, Acting Centre Director and Deputy Head of School Research and Managing Editor of the Griffith Law Review. He commenced at Griffith in 2003 having previously been a Lecturer and Social Justice coordinator at the College of Law, University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle from 1999 to 2002.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074