Human society has a need for order. Order allows people to feel safe, to put down roots and to think ahead. Law and lawyers have a vital role to play in the keeping of order. The law is the concrete expression of the knowledge and values of society, distilled from past experience. Lawyers, with their knowledge of the law and their ability to translate and apply it, and to mediate in disputes, help steer people to act within the law. You might say that lawyers act as weavers and menders of the fabric of society.
Many observers say human society is currently undergoing a profound shift, on a scale not seen since the Industrial Revolution. The information age is truly dawning. Artificial intelligence, rapid communications technology, an increasing interdependence of people and organisations across borders, arising eco-awareness. These and other factors are driving change at an unprecedented pace. And as society changes, so will lawyers.
It is about time. In many ways, the legal profession is a troubled one. Many lawyers have lost sight of the reason they became lawyers in the first place. Lawyers are no longer a highly respected profession.
We think there is an opportunity, at this time of change, for us, as creative human beings, to play an active role in bringing into being a new type of law practice – one that serves society and lawyers too.
We don’t think this is just the work of lawyers. It affects everyone. If you are interested in this subject, come and join us in the re-imagining and re-creation of the law firm.
Key themes that we expect to include in our exploration include:
- law as a practice, rather than as a business;
- wholeness and lawyering;
- the client as a collaborative partner;
- calling time on hourly billing;
- lawyer as healer of society’s divisions;
- the proper balance of relational approaches and technology; and
- the distributed, networked law firm.
Come and join us.
J Kim Wright