Share and Share Alike

In this new sharing economy, we are sharing our homes through services like Airbnb, sharing our cars through services like Uber and sharing our meals through social dining services like EatWith.

Those with ideas, whether original or crowd-sourced share them and ask that we support the implementation of those ideas by sharing our dollars through crowd funding.

Day to day, we share our lives through Facebook, our photos through Instagram, what we’ve read through links on Twitter, our CVs through LinkedIn and our music through SoundCloud.

It makes me wonder: What’s next? What’s left that’s not already been shared?

The social approach to obtaining services is being applied to service delivery. In the nonprofit sector where I spend most of my work life, organizations are already being urged to coordinate, cooperate and/or collaborate in service delivery so as to reap benefits that include maximizing efficiencies, taking advantage of economies of scale and increasing ease of access to services for those who require them. In doing so, organizations may also choose to co-locate, whether physically or virtually. All of this could occur in any number of ways – whether coordination, cooperation, collaboration, co-location, or some combination of these. The key is sharing: human resources, space and facilities, technology, expenses, expertise and more.

Will this or does this already have any application to the legal profession and how it operates? I think it does.

Lawyers who practice in space-sharing arrangements already know there are benefits to physical co-location and coordination of their services.

The future of legal practice may well include multi-disciplinary practices. In a multi-disciplinary practice, lawyers and other professionals join together to deliver co-located services, whether through a model of coordination or collaboration.

A sharing approach to service delivery might also include inter-agency sharing models – for example, coordination of service delivery through a single window of service, such as already occurs quite commonly in the health sector. The collaborative law approach in family law is certainly a step in this direction.

Another example is CanLII Connects. Through this crowd-sourcing tool, lawyers and others are able to share and access a wide range of legal information, analysis and other resources.

No doubt there are numerous other examples you can think of. I hope you’ll take time to share them in the comments.



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