Features - Legal Technology Predictions for 1999: What To Expect On The Internet

By Jerry Lawson, Published on January 4, 1999

Jerry Lawson is the author of The Complete Internet Handbook for Lawyers, due from the American Bar Association in January 1999.  He is also the designer of the Internet Tools for Attorneys Web site. He compiled the Annotated Bibliography of Internet Legal Research Books for LLRX and writes "LLRX is one of the classiest Internet sites around, and I am always pleased to have something I wrote published there."

Dennis Kennedy, Lawyers Weekly USA columnist and publisher of his own excellent legal technology newsletter, invited a number of people to polish off their crystal balls and make some law office technology predictions for 1999. His query prompted me to start thinking about the effects the Internet will have on the practice of law. Here is what I saw in the tea leaves:

Here are some of the writers about the future of the Internet that I have found most useful:


  • Larry Downes and Chunka Mui, Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance, (Harvard Business School Press 1998). This is a lousy title but an exceptional book. The title sounds like it is a book for software designers, but it is actually a thoughtful examination of the ways modern technology has changed, and will change, commerce.

  • Esther Dyson, Release 2.0: A Design For Living In The Digital Age (Broadway Books 1997). Daughter of the innovative physicist Freeman Dyson, the author inherited her father's talent for questioning assumptions. Through 11 chapters, she analyzes the Internet's effect on intellectual property, education, governance, communities and more.

  • John Hagel III and Arthur G. Armstrong, net.gain (Harvard Business School Press 1997). An influential book about virtual communities on the Internet.

  • Frances Cairncross, The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Will Change Our Lives (Harvard Business School Press 1997). A senior editor of The Economist offers insightful analysis of the impact of new communications technology, including the Internet, on society.

  • Kevin Kelly, New Rules for the New Economy.  It's based on an article in Wired.