We assess frequently advanced arguments that automation will soon replace much of the work currently performed by lawyers. In doing so, we address three weaknesses in the existing literature: (i) an insufficient understanding of current and emerging legal technologies; (ii) an absence of data on how lawyers divide their time among tasks; and (iii) inadequate attention to whether computerized approaches to a task conform to the values, ideals and challenges of the legal profession. Combining a detailed technical analysis with a unique data set on time allocation in large law firms, we estimate that automation has a measurable impact on the demand for lawyers’ time, but one that is less significant than popular accounts suggest. We then look ahead to future developments through a series of three questions. First, what is the likely path of technical innovation and diffusion in an unregulated market? Second, what are the benefits and adverse consequences of such a path? Third, to what extent can regulation reduce the adverse consequences of new technologies without reducing their benefits? Throughout the discussion, we ask how computers are changing – not simply replacing – the work of lawyers.