For those of us engaged in New Law practices and challenging the status quo of the legal profession, it is exciting to see the recently released report "Do Law Differently: Futures for Young Lawyers" by the CBA Legal Futures Initiative. This report, written by Jordan Furlong, provides a road map, survival tips, and tools and resources for young lawyers (arguably any lawyer) interested in forging an alternative career in New Law.
This comprehensive guide looks back on how the Canadian legal landscape has changed, and how it will change through regulatory liberalization, competitive pressures, and technology advances, to name a few. The Report also provides an overview of emerging career opportunities. Furlong writes: "While 'lawyer jobs' decline, there should be a growing number of 'lawyer opportunities'". Several distinct types of additional or alternative career paths are covered, including freelance lawyering (yay!), working with artificial intelligence, legal project management, and engaging in preventative law (proactive rather than reactive legal services). Emotional intelligence, entrepreneurial spirit, network building and financial literacy are just some of the skills the Report predicts will be required in the new legal market landscape.
The Report finishes with some great survival tips from New Law "Pioneers" and an "Index of Innovation" listing suggested books, blogs, and other resources.
Flex loves to see Canadian lawyers "doing law differently" and only wish that this guide was around when we were in law school.
The full report can be accessed by CBA members here.
Last week Erin and Ashleigh were privileged to meet with Hersh Perlis a Director of the Legal Innovation Zone (or LIZ) at Ryerson University to discuss the future of law.
Described as “a co-working space for the people and ideas that will change the status quo of Canada’s legal system”, LIZ was launched last April with former Attorney General of Ontario, Chris Bentley, at the helm. LIZ welcomes everyone from entrepreneurs and lawyers to tech experts with a goal to drive innovation. In addition to the co-working space, the legal incubator also provides the support and resources for people to work on their own ideas for justice and legal system solutions. A tour of the facilities revealed a modern and supportive environment that we are sure will give birth to new ways to disrupt the legal profession.
Most recently LIZ hosted a five session community collaboration initiative to reform family law in Ontario and benefit parents and children of separating families. The participants ranged from lawyers, mediators, and students to financial professionals and the public at large. The “better approach” produced by the collaborative workshop will be presented to the Attorney General of Ontario in February.
Also, just last week LIZ announced its partnership with Osler Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, which will provide LIZ's start-ups with resources and feedback from a large firm. The first initiative between the partners will be a hackathon next month involving Osler lawyers, clients, and other industry participants. The hackathon will look at "how 'biglaw' can be done differently to create greater client value". Flex is thrilled to see large, established firms supporting LIZ. Let’s bring “big law” and “new law” to the table more often for collaboration.
We look forward to following the latest developments from LIZ.
Are you a busy lawyer looking for experienced help?