FROM AMERICAN BAR ASS.
Future of the Legal Profession
Final Report: Overview
The Committee on Research About the Future of the Legal Profession, chaired by Robert J. Grey Jr. of Richmond, Va., spent the past two years working on issues related to the future of the legal profession.&nbps; During FY2000-2001, the Committee focused its efforts on developing a report on the current state of the profession to serve as a platform to examine the challenges and opportunities of change and how the legal profession can and should define its own future. The Committee issued an interim report in 2001.
In its second year, the Committee worked with legal futurist Stuart A. Forsyth to envision the preferred future of the legal profession and to determine action steps that would foster that future. That report was presented to the ABA Board of Governors at its August meeting in
- Overview (this document)
- Diary of the Last Lawyer (alternative future scenario) in both text and audio
Read the Diary | Listen to the Diary (Requires free RealAudio player)
- ABA Journal eReports from the future
• September 27, 2016 (603K; (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader))
• October 4, 2016 (614K; (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader))
• October 11, 2016 (623K; (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader))
- Interview with U.S. President in 2016 (preferred future scenario) (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)
- Action steps in both text and slides
Action Steps in Adobe Acrobat PDF (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader) | Action Steps slides (HTML format)
- Committee process (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)
- Committee members, consultant and staff
Presentation to the
- The Committee Chair opened the presentation by reminding the Board that the first year of the Committee’s work resulted in a report on the "state of the profession." During its second year of work, the Committee used that information - and assumptions about the future - in developing a "preferred future" for the profession. In working on this preferred future, the Committee looked at the effects of both lawyers’ full involvement in creating their own future and their disconnection from it, as well as many places between the two ends of the spectrum.
- The Board then heard an audio version of one possible future of the legal profession, The Diary of the Last Lawyer, which assumed lawyer disconnection.
[ Read the Diary | Listen to the Diary using RealAudio ]
- In order to give a context for a brighter future - the Committee’s preferred future - a member of the Committee read the highlights of several news stories about the profession in the future that were printed in the form of ABA Journal eReports.
[September 27, 2016 (603K; PDF) | October 4, 2016 (614K; PDF) | September 11, 2016 (623K; PDF) ]
- Two members of the Committee then presented the preferred future in the form of An Interview with United States President Sue E. Generis About Changes in the Profession.
[ Interview in Adobe Acrobat PDF, 195K ]
- Following the interview, the Chair presented a list of action steps that the legal profession must take to bring about the preferred future. The action steps are important because the future doesn’t just happen. We create the future by our collective actions. If the legal profession wants a better future, it must take actions to achieve it.
[ Action Steps in Adobe Acrobat PDF | Action Step slides (HTML) ]
As Dr. Alan Kay, inventor of the graphical user interface, has said,
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."