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The Legal Academy’s Engagements with Lawtech: Technology Narratives and Archetypes as Drivers of Change


This article argues that legal education is currently grappling with three narratives of technology’s role in either augmenting, disrupting or ending the current legal services environment. It identifies each of these narratives within features of curriculum design that respond to legal professional archetypes of how lawyers react to lawtech. In tracing how these influential narratives and associated archetypes feature in the law curriculum, the article maps the evolving intersection of lawtech, the legal profession and legal services delivery in legal education. It concludes by proffering the additional narrative of ‘adaptive professionalism’, which emphasises the complex and contextual nature of the legal profession, and therefore provides a more coherent direction for adaptation of the law curriculum. Through this more nuanced and grounded approach, it is suggested that law schools might equip law graduates to embrace technological developments while holding on to essential notions of ethical conduct, access to justice and the rule of law.

Published: 2019-11-25
Pages:27 to 45
Section: Symposium: Automation, Innovation and Disruption in Legal Practice
How to Cite
Galloway, Kate, Julian Webb, Francesca Bartlett, John Flood, and Lisa Webley. 2019. “The Legal Academy’s Engagements With Lawtech: Technology Narratives and Archetypes As Drivers of Change”. Law, Technology and Humans 1 (November):27-45.

Author Biographies

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2652-4074