News Tag: Future of the Profession


March 25, 2021

Just Because We Can Doesn’t Mean We Should, and Just Because We Should Can Never Again Mean We Can’t—Part Two

Doing a sequel is a fraught exercise. For every classic movie like the “The Godfather” or “Die Hard” that nailed it a second time, there are many more examples like “Caddyshack” and “Airplane” where an ill-advised sequel did no justice to the original masterpiece.

With knowledge of that risk, it feels particularly timely to do a follow-up to my post last May, one of the more popular ones in Bobservations history (a low bar, yes). It has only become clearer over the past ten months how critical it will be for remote access to remain a central feature of the court system for the long haul. At the same time, however, we have also learned some things during that time that will be key to making a hybrid system work effectively.

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March 15, 2021

court buildingNew Supreme Court Rule Expands the Use of Electronic Signatures

When the pandemic arrived last March, we quickly learned how much could be done remotely – remote court, remote school, remote happy hour. However, the pandemic also shined a light on some of the outdated court rules and procedures that prevented basic tasks from working well remotely.

One stark example was the limits on the use of electronic signatures on court documents. In the best of times, this would be an inefficient roadblock to access to the courts, but during the pandemic, it often forced people to put their own health and the health of others at risk or be effectively shut out of the system even in matters that could be critical to their safety and independence.

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February 24, 2021

Start With Why

You may recognize that as the title of one of the all-time great business books by Simon Sinek. While I highly recommend the book if you have not read it (as well as his TED Talk on the subject), I borrowed his title for this month’s post, because it offers a great roadmap for the next chapter in my 2021 Resolution series: building a better new normal for offices, conferences, and trainings.

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September 24, 2020

A Fork in the Road for Our Profession

The 1980’s called and they want their Rules of Professional Conduct back. And they can have them.

As the world around us has changed dramatically since those heady days when seeing a music video on MTV was mind-blowing, we have seen only modest changes in the Rules governing the business of law. The result is our profession has gradually priced the everyday person out of the market for legal services even though we have more lawyers practicing than ever before.

Something is clearly wrong, and we now face a clear choice: continue down the same unsustainable path, or set a new course where we empower the middle class to access the quality, affordable legal services they need and enable lawyers to sustainably provide those services to them.

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August 18, 2020

Lessons from Within

My New Year’s Resolution for our legal profession this year was to make law better by looking to what we can learn from other professions and industries, and as I explored further over the past few months, there is no shortage of material on that front.

As we look at ways we can better and more sustainably serve the public, there also are a number of lessons we can learn from the areas of the legal services market that are functioning reasonably well for lawyers and clients today.

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July 22, 2020

task force report cover pageCBA/CBF Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation Releases Report and Recommendations for Public Comment

The Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation officially released its report and recommendations for public comment today.

The problem the Task Force seeks to address in a nutshell is an untenable failure in the legal market: at the same time we have more lawyers practicing than ever before, more people than ever before are going without legal help. Dozens of lawyers and legal professionals from diverse backgrounds across the legal community in Illinois and beyond have worked diligently over the past nine months to tackle these issues and develop a comprehensive series of recommendations for regulatory reform.

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July 20, 2020

Where’s the Proof?

This is a common refrain from the naysayer crowd when the subject of regulatory reform and access to justice is raised. And we can be sure we will hear it when the CBA and CBF Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation releases its report and recommendations for public comment this week.

From the beginning of time, this has been the anthem of all who fear change and resist progress. It is a misguided question because, after all, how can you prove something that has not happened yet? When the question is properly framed in this context, however, it turns out there actually is lots of proof that underscores the urgent need for regulatory reform.

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June 16, 2020

Making Law Better By Looking Outside of Law—The Wrap

When I kicked off my 2020 Resolution for the Legal Profession series back in December, to say the world looked different from today would be the understatement of the century. But for everything else that can be said about how much things have changed in just a matter of months, the central point of the resolution—that there is much our legal profession can learn by looking at other professions and industries—has only become more apparent.

The way we do business in law already was not working well for the average person or for the lawyers trying to serve the consumer legal market, and other professions and industries were far ahead of us in modernizing their business practices. As we all adapt to the new normal where more people than ever need legal help and where remote, multichannel access will forevermore be a fundamental part of our lives, it is even more urgent for our legal profession to look beyond ourselves for solutions.

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April 20, 2020

Making Law Better By Looking Outside of Law—Video Changed the Radio Star

Those of us of a certain age who grew up with our home entertainment options largely limited to radio and a handful of network and local TV stations will remember when MTV arrived on the scene in 1981 and wowed us with this new-aged video from the Buggles.

While that song still belongs on any good list of one hit wonders, the Buggles were just as wrong that music video would be the end of radio as the many pundits who said that television would do the same several decades earlier. But being able to watch videos on MTV fundamentally changed the music landscape, and it was one of the key markers on the path to the multi-channel entertainment world we now all take for granted and have come to rely on more than ever during the pandemic lockdown.

And that makes music, movies, and the media a fitting next stop in my 2020 Resolution for the Legal Profession series on how we can learn from our counterparts in other professions and industries to make law better. Because with just a few notable exceptions, our legal profession and larger justice system are still operating with a one-channel business model in today’s multi-channel world, and it’s no wonder that is not working very well for the average person with a legal problem.

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March 19, 2020

Make Law Better by Looking Outside of Law—A Tax and Accounting Tutorial

When I started down the road on my 2020 Resolution for the Legal Profession to look at how we can learn from our counterparts in other professions and industries to make law better, it never occurred to me that we’d be facing a situation like the one brought on in recent weeks by the coronavirus. But as our legal community and justice system continue to respond in earnest to the challenges and disruption caused by this crisis, the importance of this undertaking has become even clearer. And the next stop on this journey—the tax and accounting profession and related businesses—offers some particularly useful lessons for our present and future times in law on the key issues of remote services and remote access.

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