The Shifting Frontiers of Law: Access to Justice and Underemployment in the Legal Profession

Osgoode Hall Law Journal 54.4 (2017): 1091-1116

26 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2017

See all articles by Nandini Ramanujam

Nandini Ramanujam

Rule of Law and Economic Development Research Group; McGill University

Alexander Agnello

McGill University, Faculty of Law, Students

Date Written: June 28, 2017

Abstract

The article examines two interrelated issues attracting attention from the legal academy, the profession, and policy makers:

i) the crisis of access to justice among ordinary Canadians, and

ii) the increasing number of qualified and underemployed lawyers.

This article sets out to understand the interrelated factors underlying these two trends, and explores long-term, accessible solutions to address the misalignment between the supply of underemployed law graduates and a demand for affordable legal services. In response to these twin problems, we examine how legislative reform, open source networks, and the automation of legal work can allow lawyers to create more cost-effective delivery mechanisms for legal services, while allowing clients to choose, and work with, lawyers in a more informed manner. While the alternatives we explore are a radical shift from the traditional methods of the legal profession, they are in line with emerging technological realities, and are realistic market solutions to the access to justice problem. To conclude, we focus on the legal academy’s important role in motivating budding lawyers to think critically about how the legal profession, as a social institution, can be ameliorated to ensure that claims for justice do not fall outside of its purview.

Keywords: rule of law, access to justice, legal education, technology, innovation, automation, a2j, economic development, entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Ramanujam, Nandini and Agnello, Alexander, The Shifting Frontiers of Law: Access to Justice and Underemployment in the Legal Profession (June 28, 2017). Osgoode Hall Law Journal 54.4 (2017): 1091-1116. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3059400

Nandini Ramanujam (Contact Author)

Rule of Law and Economic Development Research Group ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
Canada

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Alexander Agnello

McGill University, Faculty of Law, Students ( email )

Montréal, Quebec
Canada

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