Our world in 2050: what lies ahead for you and your business?

We've set up our Future Worlds 2050 project to explore changes and uncertainties in the legal profession through the lens of global trade and competition.

The project was set up to bring an exceptional group of thinkers to the table for raw, frank and honest discussions around future client needs and to consider the legal business models that will meet them.

Findings will be reported granularly to include perceptions of the world in 2020 to 2030, 2030 to 2040 and 2040 to 2050.

Lawyers are often at the frontline of the impacts of any change.

Increased awareness of future trends helps to make sure that business decisions are aligned with future market changes

Read our first report

We’re exploring four key areas

1. Climate

Climate change is the greatest perceivable threat facing humanity. For the legal sector, the climate crisis brings new and complex problems around investments and assets, attribution, jurisdiction, and accountability.

Take a look at how climate change could affect the legal sector:

2. Artificial intelligence (AI) and emerging technologies

The pace of development and application of AI and other emerging technologies raises key challenges for the legal sector in terms of:

  • levels of expertise
  • ability to prepare for these trends, and
  • associated issues around perceptions of breach, harm, ethics and liability

Explore the impact of AI on our profession:

3. Geopolitical landscape

The possibilities of the geopolitical landscape raise questions around trade, political leadership, and tensions between nationalism and globalisation, including:

  • attitudes to borders and immigration
  • cooperation on global problems, and
  • vulnerabilities in supply chains that see a return to regional existence

4. Data ethics and trust

Who will be able to own, access and use data in the future?

Digital footprints are now generated from infancy, and there’ll need to be stronger regulation around data privacy, how data is treated and who owns it.

Increasingly, data expertise will be needed across all professions.

Getting the conversation started

We want to help you prepare for the future.

This involves discussing the implications of future developments on your business.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Join Dr Tara Chittenden, foresight manager at the Law Society, and Victoria Ward and Dr Wendy Schultz from Jigsaw Foresight as they host conversations with interesting people practising futures thinking in different sectors.

They bring their insights to bear on futures thinking in the legal profession and share how they use futures tools in their own profession.

Episodes include:

  1. Three horizons and membership organisations – with Laura Wilkinson
  2. Foresight values and heritage – with Professor Richard Sandford
  3. Using a suite of foresight tools – with Jim Scopes
  4. Foresight and risk management – with Fiona Lickorish
  5. Horizon scanning inside-out and outside-in – with Marcela Capaja
  6. Planet-conscious drafting for a changing world – with Becky Annison

The future of work (part one)

In April 2021, we held a foresight workshop on the future of work that looked at where the law and legal profession might sit in that future. We modelled possible futures in the world of work and their potential impacts.

Watch the video for a flyover of the ideas generated in the session:

The future of work (part two)

In June 2021, we held the second half of our workshop on the future of work.

We took an 'inside out' look at the world of work and applied the Verge framework to consider the future of the legal profession.

Watch the flyover video to find out more:

The future of membership organisations

In June 2021, we held a second workshop that looked at the underlying metaphors and icons that function to shape the structures and values of membership organisations.

We used casual layered analysis (CLA) to explore the underlying causes and worldviews contributing to a membership situation.

Watch the flyover video to find out more:

Horizon Scanning reports

Our Horizon Scanning reports were designed to cover a range of topics driving change in the next five to 10 years.

The reports introduce readers to the topics and discuss the emerging implications.

Which topics have we explored?

Horizon Scanning snapshots

Our Horizon Scanning snapshots are very short briefings about a topic and questions to consider – designed to be used as discussion stimuli internally at member firms/legal teams.

Read our snapshots

Horizon Scanning radar

This Horizon Scanning radar plots the key events and drivers within political, economic, legal and technological fields on to a target map to show the timing and severity of their impact.

This radar maps the potential risks to the legal sector.

Take a look at the radar

Verge framework

Watch our video to find out more about the framework we're adopting for our future studies and foresight:

Causal layered analysis

Casual layered analysis (CLA) is a tool that can be used to imagine possible or preferred futures.

Watch our video on CLA to find out more:

Find out more

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