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    September 23rd, 2014

    I want to be part of the solution

    Can you use me to lead a revolution?

    I want to be part of the solution… ♫

                Music, Lyrics and recorded by: Jonah33.

    graduation

    The issues facing the profession have been set out by many: from Richard Susskind as documented in his many books, to Madam Justice McLachlin, who has said:

    “Timely, effective access is the most pressing issue facing Canada’s justice system, says Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.

    Many people have given up on seeking justice through the courts, deterred by the often expensive and time consuming process, she said.

    “We do need some new approaches…we need to get behind the solutions,” she said.

    The problems facing the justice system and the legal profession are well set out. The issue is where are the solutions to come from?  More importantly, where will the leadership come from?

    The Canadian Bar Association has now published its comprehensive August 2014 report, Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada. This report is the culmination of two years of consultation, original research and analysis on the future legal marketplace in Canada, and includes a series of recommendations on where and how the profession can transform itself. (See more at: http://www.cbafutures.org/reports#sthash.NMcwadWx.dpuf)

    The hardest issue, as I see it, will be in implementing the recommendations that have been brought forward.  Implementation of change is always the hardest part of any process.  Here the law schools are facing a critical juncture: do they help lead the change to meet the new challenges – or – do they stand in the way of change?

    In an article in The New Republic entitled “How to Fix Law School” (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/113983/how-fix-law-school-symposium) Mike Kinsley says:

    “When you graduate, you should be prepared to pass the bar. The discovery that everything you have crammed into your head for three years has no relevance at all, and you have to master a whole new curriculum in just a few weeks for the bar exam, is dispiriting.

    It’s absurd that you can graduate from law school without ever seeing a real client. Some clinical courses ought to be mandatory. Trainee doctors start seeing real patients within a year and a half. Trainee lawyers can go three, and graduate, without ever touching a client. And, let’s be honest, the training of your doctor is more important.”

    I think law schools need to lead the change that we wish to see in the profession. It all starts here, from the training of lawyers to practice law (including training on issues such as practice management, actually running a business and using legal technology) to how to manage clients and actually do a conveyance, an incorporation or a decently drafted will.  We need law schools to think differently.

    Most of all, we need law schools to teach law students to be leaders who can step up and continue this process of change in order that the legal profession remains a strong, independent profession and continues to serve the needs of the community.

    We need leadership in the profession and this training must start in law school. Law schools need to fully embrace being part of the solution in leading the revolution. In my view we don’t need any more law schools in this country that train lawyers in the old ways of doing things.  What we need are the existing law schools to produce graduates that are going to be leaders in moving the profession forward with new approaches, new technologies and new ways of thinking – we need law schools to be part of the solution.

    (Article has been updated.  The original was published in CBA’s publication BarTalk).

    This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 10:22 am and is filed under Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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