Edinburgh Law School Inaugural Lectures

The Edinburgh Law School inaugural lectures are given by Professors or Chairs newly appointed by the School.  The speakers give an enlightening overview of their contribution to their field. 

These events are free and open to everyone, but registration is required.  

Inaugural Lecture of Professor Burkhard Schafer - 26 March 2018

Prof Burkhard Schafer Inaugural Lecture - Who Needs Flesh and Blood(y) Lawyers? Legal AI, Rule Following and Computational Creativity

Speaker: Burkhard Schafer

Professor of Computational Legal Theory Director, SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP Law, Edinburgh Law School, The University of Edinburgh.


Recent years have brought the AI revolution in general, and legal AI in particular, to the forefront of the public imagination. Robots, (and immigrants, and immigrant robots) so we hear, are coming to take our jobs - not any longer just dirty, dangerous or dull jobs that we are glad to give to them, but those of skilled workers too, and even the professions face potentially significant challenges and disruptions. Popular wisdom has it that the more creativity a job demands, the more it will be protected from this technological disruption. For the legal profession, this poses a conundrum: while we may aim to instil “creative problem solving skills" in our students, and law firms regularly claim to be “creative innovators and industry leaders, there is an inherent tension between law and creativity, and creative lawyering seems to be but one step away from “creative bookkeeping”. The talk will explore these issues from a historical, jurisprudential and computational perspective: what do we mean with legal creativity, will it protect legal services from the fourth industrial revolution, and if not so, how will the future of the legal profession and of legal education have to change? 

Date and time

Monday 26 March 2018
5:15pm - 6:30pm 


The Playfair Library, Old College.

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