The Canadian Bar Association has today released its Legal Futures Initiative Report on the Consultation. The Initiatives project began consulting with the various stakeholders in June of last year, and the resulting report:
describes what the Legal Futures Initiative heard from stakeholders about the experience of being a lawyer in a changing environment, evolving client relationships, and views on the future. This is all synthesized to provide the key themes and novel ideas that emerged.
The final report of the Legal Futures Initiative is expected in August of 2014.
As might have been expected from a profession so diverse in its makeup, according to the report:
In whole, the consultation illuminated a single reality: there really is no consensus on the future of the legal profession. Some areas of inquiry engendered heated debate, others received little comment, but across this spectrum of engagement, it was impossible to identify the best way forward as ideas that were lauded also received meaningful critical analysis. By canvassing only individual experiences, and without regular ability to explore ideas in more detail with participants, it is unsurprising that the Legal Futures Initiative’s consultation has not identified broad areas of agreement; however, it has shed a light on different stakeholders’ experiences, hopes, and concerns, all of which shall inform the Initiative’s work going forward.
This, of course, leaves the heavy lifting to the members of the Futures Initiative project, who will be required to chose among the various policies and risks referred to if they are not to produce an anodyne or merely descriptive final report.
The main topic headings in the report are as follows:
2. How Lawyers are Adapting to Changing Client Demands
3. Innovations in Legal Services
4. The Regulatory Environment
5. Education and Training of Tomorrow’s Lawyers
6. Generational Perspectives on Change
7. Re-Conceptualizing the Profession: What Is “Being A Lawyer”?
8. Applying a Diversity and Inclusivity Lens to the Future
9. Applying an Access-to-Justice Lens to the Future
10. How to Get There, Or What the Initiative Can Achieve