It is said that change is the one constant in life. While personally, I’ve no reason to doubt the truth of that statement, as a member of the legal profession for the past 20(+) years, I sometimes have questioned whether others in the profession would argue against it. We are a profession reliant upon precedent, adept at identifying and avoiding risk and often, slow to adapt to the changing world around us.
Taking on this inherent resistance to new ways of lawyering, I’ve heard Jordan Furlong ask his audiences some variant of the question: If you weren’t already doing it that way, would you do it that way now? I find this question a useful lens to apply in a range of circumstances as it effectively shines a light on areas in which the status quo may no longer be delivering the value it once did.
These are exactly the kinds of questions our profession needs to be asking as we move forward from a well-established status quo into a rapidly changing future. And it is in this context that The Law Society of Manitoba is marking its 140th anniversary, an occasion to be celebrated later this fall with the requisite formal dinner.
Fittingly, the anniversary will also be commemorated with a thoughtful and in-depth look at what may lie on the path ahead for the legal profession. In November, the 2017 Isaac Pitblado Lectures will bring together thought leaders, academics, and innovators to consider what the future of lawyering will look like in Manitoba and ask whether it is time to revamp our legal traditions and expectations for the future.
On the (still draft) agenda are presentations and discussions of the possibilities and challenges of new paradigms in legal education, professional regulation, adjudication and the practice of law.
(Full disclosure: I’m a member of the 2017 Pitblado Lectures Planning Committee.)