News Tag: Legal Innovation


June 26, 2019

New Incubator Launches in Colorado with Helping Hand from the CBF

Earlier this month, the CBF and our Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) gained a new partner in the cause with the official launch of the Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice (LEJ) incubator in Denver.

Over the years since the CBF developed and launched the JEP, one of our goals for the program has been to identify successful […]

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March 27, 2019

Uber, Taxis and the Legal Market

Take a trip down bad memory lane to about ten years ago when you needed to get a cab but were not in a place where taxis tend to be plentiful on the street. Remember what that was like?

Hold that thought for a moment, and now think of what it is like today for someone who is looking for a lawyer and doesn’t know where to turn. While it is sure to get most lawyers upset to be compared to the taxi industry, the similarities in these two market failures are striking. We can write a different script for what happens in the legal market but need to start now.

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February 27, 2019

What Are We Selling?

It seems a simple question to ask, but one we do not think enough about in law and too often answer incorrectly. Getting that answer right is the first essential step towards carrying out my New
Year’s Resolution for 2019
for the legal profession to tackle our affordability problem for everyday people.

Two recent commentaries in the New York Times and the Atlantic challenge us to re-examine our profession’s longstanding assumptions on this question, and offer a good jumping off point for discussion.

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December 20, 2018

2019 Resolution—Time to Tackle our Affordability Problem for Everyday People

Lawyers often joke that they couldn’t afford themselves if they ran into a serious legal problem. While that is (usually) an exaggeration when a lawyer says it, it reflects a reality we all know to be true for most people in our community. It was not always like this, but somewhere along the way our profession managed to price the proverbial “regular guy” out of the market for most legal services.

As lawyers, we like to think of ourselves as problem solvers. This time the problem is us, and in 2019 we all need to make it a priority to solve it.

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December 11, 2018

Sharing the JEP’s (Not So) Secret Keys to Success

The goal of the CBF Justice Entrepreneurs Project has always been twofold. First and most obviously, we want to increase access to affordable legal services for low and middle-income people and businesses in the Chicago area through the direct efforts of the lawyers in the JEP network.

The second aim of the JEP has always been to […]

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August 30, 2018

Expanding Practices and Access through Limited Scope

Across the country, the civil justice system is undergoing a transformation. More and more litigants are appearing in court without lawyers, making up well over half of the civil litigants in Illinois and closer to 75% nationally. Self-representation is no longer limited to the poorest users of the court system; growing numbers of middle-class people […]

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August 15, 2018

Our Profession’s Losing Battle Against the Market

By any definition, we have a failure in the market for legal services for everyday people today, and a growing one at that. We have more lawyers than ever before at the same time as record numbers of people who need or would benefit from legal help are not getting it. Yet when faced with proposed changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct to address this market failure, the default response of our profession is to fight to maintain a losing status quo perhaps making some technical changes but avoiding the larger issues.

Lipstick on a pig, as the saying goes, when what we really need is a new regulatory approach that does not force lawyers to compete in the market with one hand tied behind their backs.

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July 26, 2018

CBF Op-ed in Crain’s Makes the Case for Innovation in the Practice of Law

In an op-ed in Crain’s Chicago Business, CBF President Carrie Di Santo and CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves lay out why the Chicago legal community needs to commit to doing things differently and how that will expand legal assistance for people left out of the market now.

While the causes of the current failure in the market for legal services are complex and long in the making, the urgency for change could not be clearer. Unfortunately, too many lawyers don’t see the problems firsthand in their practices and thus cling to long-held traditions despite stark evidence that the current system is not working for the majority of the public.

Read the article…

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July 24, 2018

A Fool for a Client? How to Avoid Playing the Fool

Part 4 of a 4-part series

Having identified the core roles lawyers play that are most important for someone facing a legal problem and what that means for our profession, today’s series finale looks at things from the perspective of the person facing a legal problem.

How can we best help people facing legal issues assess when they realistically can do things on their own, when they need a lawyer, and how much lawyer they need to achieve a just yet cost-effective outcome for their case?

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June 20, 2018

A Fool for a Client? A New Agenda for Our Profession

Part 3 of a 4-part series

In my last post, I identified the ways that lawyers will continue to have an integral (though evolving) role in ensuring access to justice. Our profession has the urgent responsibility to better focus on those core functions to make our services more efficient, accessible, and affordable.

So how do we do that? Along with the continuous improvement and adaptation that will be an integral part of any individual law practice, the bar, the courts and law schools need to adapt their roles as well.

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