By its nature the Internet undermined anyone whose status depended on a privileged access to information
Michael Lewis, ‘Next: The Future Just Happened’ published in 2001, explains by way of the legal profession:
The Internet had arrived at an embarrassing moment for the law. The knowledge gap between lawyers and non-lawyers had been shrinking for some time, and the Internet was closing it further. Legal advice was being supplied over the Internet, often for free – and it wasn’t just by lawyers doing the supplying. Students, cops, dicks, even ex-cons went onto message boards to help people with their questions and cases. At the bottom of this phenomenon was a corrosively democratic attitude toward legal knowledge, which the legal profession now simply took for granted. “If you think about the law,” the past chairman of the American Bar Association, Richard S. Granat, told the New York Times, in an attempt to explain the boom in do-it-yourself Internet legal service, “a large component is just information. Information itself can go a long way to help solve legal problems.”
In that simple sentence you could hear whatever was left of the old professional mystique evaporating.
Once the law became a business it was on its way to becoming a commodity. Reduce the law to the sum of information and, by implication, anyone can supply it. That idea had already traveled a long way, and the Internet was helping it travel faster.
From 2001…prescient indeed