I was invited recently to have madisonian.net included in Kevin O’Keefe’s new “LexBlog” venture (https://www.lexblog.com/about/). Accepting the invitation, which I did, implied that I might resume writing here, so I am. What’s new?
Since the last signs of life flickered at madisonian.net, in connection with the “Invitation Regarding Law and Legal Education, and Imagining the Future” and the symposium at Prawfsblawg that it provoked, a small but ambitious crew of “disruptors” from legal education, higher education, and the legal profession (n/k/a the “legal services industry”) have organized themselves around a couple of ventures.
One is now documented as “Future Law Works,” a confederation of individuals from several countries who have started to meet as well as talk, to share practices and imagine new ones. This a working group, where participation is voluntary, and more participants are always welcome. We ask only that individuals who raise their hands to align with the group, as if to say, “please, I want some more,” intend to dig in, rather than monitor from a respectful distance.
Two, and related to the first, is a new podcast on the future of law, titled (imaginatively) the “Future Law Podcast,” and co-hosted by me, Dean Dan Hunter at Swinburne Law School in Melbourne, and Lisa Leong, a Melbourne-based lawyer, media entrepreneur, and change management and business strategy consultant.
The theme that all of this activity relates to, and the theme that I keep coming back to now in all of my law-related time and thinking, is this: All of us in the legal services and legal information ecosystems are witnessing (in some cases, driving; in other cases, suffering) differing degrees of “disruption” of settled patterns of belief and behavior. Much of that is related to massive developments in technology design, deployment, and use. Addressing those developments and their implications and effects requires a convergence of formerly separate threads of professional, social, cultural, and economic thinking and practice: “law-and-technology-and-design-as-instruments-and-tools” (the law/tech space) has to meet “critical scholarship and policy investigation regarding the opportunities and pernicious impacts associated with tech” (the teaching/research space) has to meet “change management” (incremental or disruptive, across all levels and professional spaces).
In addition, it seems to us, law and legal education are critically important case studies for related but even larger scale convergences in higher education and the professions generally.
Whether one cares about one’s own law school (as I do), or university (ditto), or law firm or law department or law-related startup; whether one cares about one’s communities (for me, Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania) and/or governments and/or countries and/or (fill in names of professions, institutions, and practices to suit): That convergence of conversations — blending the challenges of change management in day to day and near-term practice of training, education, and institution building with critically important research-based perspectives on values, virtues, and harms — is all around us, but it is badly underdeveloped and under-explored.
There is more to come, I am sure.
Here are links for the interested:
The “Invitation” etc. is unpublished but is now available for free download at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3122624.
The symposium at Prawfsblawg that it provoked can be read back to front and front to back by following links backward from http://madisonian.net/2018/04/25/law-legal-education-and-imagining-the-future-the-project-continues-part-6-and-end/. The symposium was the brainchild and work product of Dan Rodriguez, former Dean at Northwestern Law and former President of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).
Future Law Works is online at http://futurelawworks.org/.
The Future Law Podcast can be heard at http://thefuturelawpodcast.com/, can be located via links at the Future Law Works site, and can be downloaded wherever fine podcasts are available.