Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services – a Year Later

Last year the CBA Legal Futures Initiative released its report, Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, in St. John’s.

The Futures Initiative has been gratified by the largely positive and enthusiastic reaction to our report, which has had a much broader reach and impact than we could have hoped. We outlined a bold vision for the future of the legal profession, encouraging a crucial conversation that’s taking place not just within Canada, but around the world.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve done since the report was published:

We’ve been talking

In the past year CBA President Michele Hollins, along with Futures Steering Committee Chair Fred Headon and other committee members, has criss-crossed the country and travelled abroad to meet with lawyers, students, managing partners, regulators – stakeholders throughout the profession – to discuss the report’s recommendations and explore how they might be implemented. Our continuing series of Twitterchats on business models, legal education, regulation and innovation has garnered an ever-growing global following of people plugged into the legal futures discourse.

We’ve been producing

We haven’t just been talking the talk – we’ve also developed products available exclusively to members as companion pieces to the report, designed to help them adapt their practices. These products include:

1) A self-assessment tool to help lawyers understand how the changing client expectations described in the report affects their practice.

2) A Guide to Strategy for Lawyers, written by Richard Susskind, which was downloaded by hundreds of members on its first day.

3) In cooperation with CBA Young Lawyers, this fall we’ll publish a tool prepared with Jordan Furlong which will give young lawyers a lens through which to reflect on the report and help them figure out how to integrate its findings into their careers.

4) Our Do Law Differently website will soon be updated with new videos from legal innovators talking about the new ways they’ve found to deliver legal services.

5) A series of podcasts to be released in the coming months will broach doing law differently with people who are already blazing new paths.

We’ve been planning

We put out a call for submissions for a workshop on legal education to be held in partnership with the Canadian Bar Review. The workshop will use innovative approaches to design to help participants create better ways to train and educate lawyers.

And we have more member-exclusive ideas in the works for next year.

We’ve been leading the debate

The CBA Legal Futures Initiative is pleased that our report has been a catalyst for discussions about the future of our profession taking place across the country. For example, the topic of alternative business structures has been the subject of a complex and at times heated dialogue this year. While this high-profile issue has attracted a lot of media attention, the CBA Futures Initiative continues to work on bringing all 22 of the report’s recommendations to life – including matters like entity regulation and transforming legal education.

In short, the Initiative is actively celebrating legal innovation, sharing our findings and the rationale for our recommendations with stakeholders throughout the profession, equipping lawyers with tools to better respond to changing client expectations, and engaging in the discussions about the future of our profession. And our work continues. To comment, or to get involved, contact us at

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