On my recent trip to London, England, it was arranged for me to be part of a panel discussion at Middle Temple Hall, one of the oldest legal buildings in London. Indeed, the room in which I spoke (Parliament Chamber) hosted the very first performance of Twelfth Night in 1602. By way of background, Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court in London that are able to call men and women to the Bar.
So there I was, at the beating old heart of the common law, criticizing the current model of legal services delivery; suggesting that it be blown up and started over. The irony was splendid! Stephen Mayson (@StephenMayson) did an exceptional job of moderating the event as well as asking some tough questions of his own to myself and my fellow panellists, Paul Gilbert (@LBCwisecounsel) and Julie Thorburn of Lloyd’s Banking Group. The crowd was friendlier than I expected, perhaps they were thirsting for change.
In fact, in all the meetings and discussions I had with a broad spectrum of general counsel and private practice lawyers, acknowledgement of the need for change and the unabashed distaste for a system that had reached its best before date, was palpable and refreshing. These types of discussions are not taking place enough among lawyers in Canada. I continually remarked to my fantastic hosts at Riverview Law (@riverviewlaw is an ABS firm that is quickly attracting clients to its superb processes/service and definitely a firm to watch!) that these types of discussions and events do not happen in Canada.
Perhaps the fact that the Legal Services Act is now fully in force in the UK and the fact that ABS applications are flooding in, has caused an acceptable mind-shift among many in the UK’s legal profession. Or maybe it is just easier to find “my people” (read: legal innovators) in the UK. Whatever the reason, the UK is now firmly ensconced as the epi-centre for changes that will reverberate around the globe and will forever change legal services delivery.
Am I happy to be back in Canada – otherwise known as the land where legal innovation goes to die?
Do I really need to answer?
P.S. Among the fun elements of this trip was the opportunity to meet legal innovators who I had only “met” through Twitter – with some of us reverting to addressing each other by our Twitter names, all of whom are far too numerous to list here. The legal innovators “Tribe”, as Brian John Spencer calls it, is ever-growing and unstoppable. Join us, won’t you?