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Monday, March 06, 2006

Law - Will doctors and lawyers be next?

NPR's Morning Edition had a story last Friday, March 3rd, about how "the Internet is putting pressure on the fees that [real estate] agents have become accustomed to." It speculated whether real estate agents would soon go the way of travel agents. And stock brokers. Access it here.

Sunday's NY Times Magazine has a related story, titled "Endangered Species."

My take. All three of these professions -- real estate, travel, and stock sales -- have prospered on the basis of specialized knowledge and access - to the multiple listing database, the airline reservation systems, the stock market.

Similarly, much of the specialized knowledge available to doctors and lawyers is now widely available to all: patients go to their doctors with reams of printouts about their conditions; citizens perform their own divorces, prepare their own contracts, write their own wills.

A few hundred years ago, religion changed with the printing press -- citizens gained access to "the word" and some sought to interpret it for themselves. The Internet is similarly opening up specialized repositories of knowledge and changing many trades and professions forever.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 6, 2006 12:35 PM
Posted to General Law Related