Book Review: Mapping Legal Innovation by Antoine Masson and Gavin Robinson
Mapping Legal Innovation – Trends & Perspectives – by Antoine Masson and Gavin Robinson, published by Springer
This book recognises that it is imperative for lawyers to add value in their areas of practice. It is designed to help lawyers meet this innovation challenge by analysing, gathering and comparing different points of view from lawyers to creative professionals. It also aims to gauge the impact of technological upheaval on the practice of law by overcoming some common misunderstandings and addressing some fears arising from it.
The book also tries to shed light on the consequences of legal innovation for the training of future generations of legal practitioners who will work with and depend on the innovations of to-day and the future.
There are 16 chapters contributed by a wide range of authors exploring the themes of the ‘law for innovation’, which is the study of legal rules and paradigms and their corresponding impact upon innovation; and, ‘innovation for law’, which concerns improving the design and delivery of legal products and services.
In a world of interdependent multi-scale complex adaptive systems, the approach of regulation being a command and control system seems out of place. The argument is new legal ideas are required to handle the complexity of a digital economy.
Also, much has been said about the cost of law being too high relative to its perceived and actual benefits. To help solve the challenges of a modern society the editors of the book say we need a productivity revolution; to be able to lower the transaction costs associated with delivery of law.
In order to #MakeLawBetter, the editors argue, we will need creative multidisciplinary lawyers and allied professionals working both locally and globally to advance legal innovation.
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The different chapters aim to explore some of these issues such as ‘how can you tell a creative lawyer from an uncreative one?’ and ‘how to visualize and explain the challenges and opportunities inherent in legal innovation’. There are chapters on legal innovation and communication and new practices in the digital economy: towards the Uberization of law.
Structure & Layout
Each chapter starts with a summary of the contents of the chapter and lists the keywords used. Diagrams are incorporated throughout the book to illustrate concepts and ideas and each chapter contains a full set of references for the sources referred to in the chapter.
The layout provides headings, bullet points and numbered paragraphs to help the reader navigate through the contents of the chapter.
Clarity & readability
The content and style vary throughout the book by virtue of the fact that each chapter is written by a different author(s) and in some cases, the laws of different jurisdictions are relevant.
Many practitioners may feel it is an academic text, given most chapters are written by academics, but it should provoke food for thought one hopes for managing partners and those looking for better ways to approach the delivery of law to all sorts of consumers. It raises excellent questions such as:
- What is going to simplify my life and that of my customers?
- What can I do to render the law more accessible and easier to comply with?
- How can I modify my work practices to gain time?
Relevance to practitioners
For any lawyer interested in the future of the law, both as a user and as a regulatory system, this book will provoke reflection and hopefully ideas to enable the reader to themselves innovate.
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