Canadian Bar Association Launches Guide for the Youngest Generation of Lawyers
As part of their Legal Futures Initiative, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) recently launched their ‘Do Law Differently’ guide at an event held at the MaRS Discovery District and organized by Canada’s legal innovation hub, Legal X. Many notable names were in attendance, including former CBA President and Legal Futures Initiative Chair Fred Headon and the founders of Legal X, Aron Solomon and Jason Moyse.

The guide, in effect, attempts to bridge the perceived gap between traditional legal institutions and smaller, technology-driven firms that are introducing innovative approaches to providing high-quality legal services. Many in attendance at the even still lamented over law school experiences that lacked innovation training or introductions to resources designed to promote better industry awareness.

A New School of Thought

The CBA’s new guide, in conjunction with fresh programs at many Canadian law schools and private sector efforts to encourage greater innovation in the classroom, is setting the stage for a significant shift in the Canadian legal industry. Although this shift is in its infancy, many industry leaders are excited about the possibilities.

At the Legal X event, it was clear that new technologies and changing consumer expectations are going to afford forward-thinking legal innovators substantial opportunities to exploit the weaknesses of more old-school industry models.

Perhaps most importantly, the CBA is finally showing an active willingness to listen to, and work with, legal innovators. In laying out the ‘Do Law Differently’ guide, the CBA provided industry leaders and innovators with fair and honest assessments of issues facing the legal sector and insights into developments on the forefront of legal innovation.

Work Still To Be Done

However encouraging the release of the guide and the speeches at the Legal X event might have been, it’s important to note that the system, while changing, still fails to adequately serve the legal needs of many poor and disenfranchised members of society.

Thankfully, the CBA’s Initiative on Equal Justice is also aimed at correcting this major issue. One major step would be to provide greater opportunity for individuals from different backgrounds, especially those coming from poverty, to contribute to legal innovation. This includes the development and delivery of legal services for low-income individuals.

Still, the ‘Do Law Differently’ guide, which includes analysis of the current state of the legal profession and predictions for the skills and competencies future lawyers will need to seize the opportunities ahead, is a step in the right direction.

For the first time in a long time, it feels as though legal innovators and traditional service providers are engaging each other constructively. They are embracing the changing nature of the industry and working together to address the most important legal issues of today.

In other words, all parties seem to be acknowledging a basic industry question: How can we comprehensively, and most efficiently, deliver high-quality legal services to our community? While it is a complex question, it is not without answers, and the more parties invested in finding solutions, the better off the legal industry, as a whole, will be moving forward.

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, May 2, 2016
Tag: Legal
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