The College of Law Practice Management’s held its 5th Futures Conference last Friday and Saturday at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to work and personal commitments. However, those of us who missed it are in luck as the presentations were recorded and are available online.
If you listen to any of the sessions from the conference, I strongly recommend you listen to Stephen Mayson’s keynote: The Future of Law – Who Will Perform It? Who Will Regulate It? Stephen has said much over the years about the changing nature of law practice and the future of the law. In his COLPM presentation he addresses three main themes: (1) What is law and what is it for? (2) What are lawyers for? (3) What is the future of law?
His answers to these questions touch on many of the issues we are talking about today: access to justice and the public interest in the legal system; the part lawyers play in society; lawyer self-regulation and self-interest in it; technical competence and legal ethics; the importance of law practice management skills; the legal monopoly and the unauthorized practice of law; why billable hours are problematic and the true value of what lawyers deliver to clients; law firms as businesses; how law firms and legal services should be resourced; alternative business structures and outside investment in law firms.
He suggests we need a recalibration of the public/client, professional and regulatory interests; that we lawyers need to rethink what we do and should do for our clients; and that we need to price for value, not for time. I found Stephen’s comments to be very insightful and thought provoking. In particular, relative to others that are commenting on the future of law, I found his comments really highlighted the perspectives of individuals that are not lawyers or part of the legal system infrastructure (regulators, clients). It is important that those of us inside the profession appreciate how those outside it perceive us.
Find a quiet 45 minutes and listen to Stephen’s comments. He will give you some new perspectives on the future of law. For more on this topic, see The Future of Law: The challenges and opportunities article in the latest issue of LAWPRO Magazine (the 15th Anniversary of practicePRO issue).
The conference materials are posted here. Lots of great reading material!
Other sessions and speakers at the conference included:
- What Is the Future Market for Legal Services? (Buyer’s Point of View) by Ann Lee Gibson
- Innovation in the Law Firm by Jordan Furlong
- A panel discussion on Justice, Lawyering and Legal Education in the Digital Age moderated by Ronald Staudt with panelists: Richard Granat, Marc Lauritsen. Will Hornsby, and John Mayer
- The Future of U.S. Law Schools by William Henderson
- Giving Back Luncheon and Legal Services Corporation Update by Jim Sandman
Note: links for law two items were not working at when I posted this – go to this page to check them.