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Disruptive Debate Series: Lawyers Will Be Irrelevant


Mon 26 Nov 2018, 6:00pm–8:00pm

Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St , Melbourne CBD, Victoria

Restrictions: All Ages

Listed by: skyejbq

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten." - Bill Gates

The general reasoning behind the importance of lawyers is that all human beings being equal, each person deserves an equal opportunity to receive legal justice. More than just legal justice, history is replete with examples of lawyers speaking truth to power and subsequently changing history’s course.

However, we seem to be at the helm of a new zeitgeist. Technology is changing the way the administration of justice is served. Add to that a deep public fatigue and mistrust of the excesses of entrenched institutions.

The legal profession (and services in general) seem to be at a crossroads. As the horizon of disruptive change draws near, be it the advent of AI, the modularisation of legal services or cultural flux - we are asking the question:

Will lawyers be relevant?

The Process:
The audience (that's you) votes whether they agree or disagree with the motion.
Round 1: Each debater opens with a 7-minute argument.
Round 2: Debaters field questions from the moderator and the audience.
Round 3: Each debater closes with a 2-minute argument.
The Audience votes again.
Whichever team moves the most votes in percentage points is declared the winner.

Our Debaters Arguing for the Motion

Katie Miller is currently the Deputy Commissioner at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). She is an enthusiastic advocate of using technology to challenge he way lawyers and government work. In 2015, as President of the Law Institute of Victoria, she championed the cause of change within the legal profession and encouraged lawyers to adapt to change and digital disruption through innovation and greater use of technology. She continues to present to lawyers, law students and public servants about why and how innovation is a necessary part of legal and public service. Katie is also an LIV Accredited Specialist in Administrative Law and chair the LIV Accredited Specialisation Board.

Annabel Tresise is an admitted lawyer and is currently an Associate to a Jude of the Supreme Court of Victoria. She is very interested in the intersection between law and technology, and finding creative solutions to streamline problems and accelerate access to justice. In 2017, she created a legal app to help self-represented litigants navigate their way through the Federal Court bankruptcy system. Annabel is also very interested in law, AI and ethics. From late 2017 she was a researcher with the Dean of Swinburne Law and has helped co-authored papers on technology, law and ethics at Swinburne and Melbourne Law School.

Our Debaters Arguing against the Motion

Julian Webb joined Melbourne Law School in 2014 having previously held chairs at the Universities of Warwick and Westminster in the UK. He also holds concurrent appointments as an Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Exeter, and as Visiting Professor at the University of Derby. He was awarded his LLM and LLD degrees by the University of Warwick and is both a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and an Academic Bencher of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. Julian currently teachers legal ethics and legal theory on the JD programme and has particular research interests in the ethics and professional regulation of lawyers; developments in the market for legal services; the political economy of legal education, and in regulatory theory and practice more generally.

Tara Suamba has completed an LLB with honors. Her thesis explored the inherent tension between the increasing speed at which society is changing against the need for law to progress slowly in order to create stability and consistency. She is an advocate, writer, public speaker and tutors Administrative Law at La Trobe University. Her interest in law is primarily human rights, arts and technology focused.