Lawyers in a decentralized-law society (DLS) face unique challenges compared to the current focus of their profession.

Generally today, the most important thing a lawyer needs to do is become very familiar with a country’s history of case law and active precedents, then choose a legal specialty and become extremely familiar with that small slice of law and all aspects therein.

This is not too unlike the way that doctors divide themselves, with some being general practitioners and some moving into specialist positions. One might liken brain surgery, in terms of complexity, breadth of knowledge, and high stakes, with the risks and intensity of arguing constitutional law before the Supreme Court.

However, in a DLS there is no Supreme Court.

What’s more, there isn’t necessarily any case law or precedents, nor even necessarily a single jurisdiction like a country.

What’s a lawyer to do?

The focus of the legal profession must shift, and in doing so will also become far more respectable than it currently is.

Current lawyers have a focus on state-law in its variousness.

Lawyers in a DLS will focus more on contract law than sovereign law, since all law in a DLS is formed by private contract.

Lawyers must become well versed in the universal commercial code (UCC) which will be the basis for a large amount of law in a DLS.

Lawyers will have to become very familiar with sound legal reasoning and broadly applicable legal principles instead of mere precedents, with an eye towards applying good legal reasoning to every and any contract they may need to consult with.

There will still be legal specialties, but they will not be able to rely on any such thing as binding precedent–there won’t be any. Each contract will have written into it the definitions of words used and intended interpretations.

Lawyers will be arguing their cases in front of 3rd part independent judges whom similarly will be collecting good legal reasoning skills and broadly applicable principles of justice.

What then will replace precedent?

Quite simply, new good legal reasoning and admirable solutions to legal challenges. Lawyers will still follow decisions and cases, as they do now, only with an eye towards not merely authoritative precedent, but rather compelling legal reasoning.

This means the replacement of arbitrary authority in law with reason in law, and that cannot come soon enough!