Innovation in the Delivery of Legal Services: Cultivating Learners Who Will Invent the Future of Law Practice
Posted: 6 Jun 2012
Date Written: May 21, 2012
The convergence of technological advances, global competition, and financial pressures facing the legal profession in the twenty-first century demands that legal education equip students to be entrepreneurial and innovative in their pursuit of a rewarding and meaningful career in the law. The value in educating an entrepreneurial and innovative lawyer is, in some ways, tied to the present economic realities of a disrupted legal market, a massive tuition-based debt bubble, and disgruntled graduates unable to secure jobs. In other ways, however, instilling entrepreneurialism and innovation holds significance beyond simply responding to the current pressures faced by the profession. First, an enormous need exists for legal services, a demand that has gone largely ignored by the legal profession. Second, law schools are filled with creative, bright individuals who, given the right atmosphere, could be inventors of new models for legal services delivery in addition to practitioners of law. Third, developing the qualities of an entrepreneur and innovator can benefit any lawyer in her own career development, whether or not she decides to start a new business. Legal education must do more than prepare practice-ready graduates - we must equip students to deliver legal services in ways that we cannot predict or even imagine. To do so, I suggest that students need a minimum competence in technology as well as immersion in cross-institution/cross-sector collaboration and creative communities, i.e., physical and virtual spaces designed to nurture new ideas.
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