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Lawyers and Innovation

In the most recent issue of The Economist, I found an ad for the upcoming “General Counsel West Coast Roundtable.”  Kent Walker, Google’s GC, will give the keynote presentation.  According to the ad copy, he “argues that lawyers play a critical role in promoting innovation.  In the face of change, the lawyer’s role is not about protecting the status quo, or even just promoting legal compliance — it’s about helping the law get it right, taking new approaches to new issues, and maximising [sic — remember, this is The Economist] the benefits of new technology for everyone.”

The lawyer’s job is to maximize [I’m in the U.S.] the benefits of new technology for everyone?  I’d like to know more, but I won’t be going.  According to the website, “This is a closed, off-the-record meeting that has been designed exclusively for general counsel, in-house legal officers and corporate management. The meeting is closed to external counsel, law firms and solution providers.”

1 thought on “Lawyers and Innovation”

  1. Is that Pareto-optimizing or Kaldor-hicks style maximizing?

    Are “helping the law get it right” and “taking new approaches to new issues” complementary, or in tension? If the first, what about the law’s noted suspicion of “innovation”. . . which is almost invective in the hands of some lawyers trying to get judges not to recognize the clever novelties their opponents promote.

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