Until very recently, the American legal profession and its law schools
were relatively insulated from the effects of economic globalization.
That time has passed, but more explosive changes are yet to come. ...
Now is the moment for American law schools and the American legal
profession to rethink their relationship. A massive, global
transformation in the way legal services are provided is well under way,
fueled by technology that breaks down borders and facilitates low-cost
approaches. The biggest mistake we in the U.S. can make is to think that
our objections will prevent the rest of the world from pressing
In this country, medicine provides the most obvious example of how a profession can cooperate successfully with the schools that educate its future members. I am not the only one who has pointed to medicine as a model; Rutgers School of Law-Newark dean John Farmer recently proposed the idea in a New York Times op-ed, and it is a comparison many others have made in the past when discussing legal education reform. Yes, law is different from medicine, but the professions also have much in common. Both fields have long recognized that new members need some period of training under the supervision of seasoned professionals before they can work on their own. The medical profession has institutionalized this through residency programs, while practical legal training has more often than not been left to chance. ...
Technology will continue to evolve, and many legal jobs will become
obsolete because of it. Law firms will be owned by global financial
conglomerates, and whether or not they are American will make little
difference. They will find ways to provide legal services at the lowest
possible cost, including employing overseas workers. If we wait until we
are absolutely certain change has arrived, it already will have passed