I was honored to be asked to participate in the ABA President’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services this year and next. This Commission is calling for Issues Paper feedback now through December 10th. For my legal tech friends and colleagues, if you have something to say, now is a good time to get it on the table. Details below.
I like the ABA President this time around. I’ve heard President William Hubbard speak several times by now. I’ve heard him address some difficult criticisms of the ABA with grace at a conference on disruptive innovation in the market for legal services at Harvard Law School. Most importantly, I think he is making an effort to listen and take seriously the fact that technology can be used to increase access to justice in a variety of ways. Whether or not he or any future leader has the ability to actually sway the more traditional (and often tech-averse) mindsets of the lawyers who actually hold up the HOD and prevent progress…..well, I’ll retain my healthy skepticism. That said, President Hubbard is making solid headway with this Commission. The initiative seems like a good follow-up to the initial research and rule changes that the Commission on Ethics 20/20 underwent.
From the Commission’s site:
…technology, globalization, and other forces are transforming the ways legal services are accessed and delivered. Familiar practice structures are giving way in a marketplace that continues to evolve. New providers are emerging, online and offline, to offer a range of services in dramatically different ways.
I joined up with the BlueSky Working Group that formed out of the Commission. The working groups are interesting because they are made up of such a diverse group of people from across the legal profession. I can tell already that a large part of the work process for the group is just going to be educating each other about our different perspectives whether its from practicing in BigLaw, working in legal services, in legal academia, or with legal tech startups.
The goal of the Commission is to propose new approaches that are not constrained by traditional models for delivering legal services and that are rooted in the essential values of protecting the public.
To focus these working groups and the entire Commission, the Chair has issued a call for comments on an Issues Paper. I’ve posted the Issues Paper below. The issues are related to the delivery and access of legal services by the public.