Combing through the past to prepare lawyers for the future.


I’m offering a new course this fall at Suffolk University Law School in Boston called Shakespeare and Knowledge Technology.

Odd combination, right?  I know. But hopefully not as odd as you may think.

Especially in their final year of study, many law students are bored with academics and anxious to get out into paying practice. Courses that delve into seemingly unrelated subjects, like early modern literature, offer respite. Courses that provide hands-on exposure to cutting-edge legal technology kindle much positive energy. Why not both?!

Bear with me for a moment while I talk about Shakespeare. Then I will explain how he provides a great context for learning about knowledge tech.
Continue Reading Looking at legal knowledge technology through an unusual lens (301)

Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

Success as a lawyer can come at the expense of personal relationships. Is it worth the price?


Few of my former partners in the global firm where I worked would understand my transition from a profits-first managing partner to a speaker and commentator on lawyer well-being.  How could this have happened?  Have I gone soft?  Quite the contrary—I remain on my mission to live a good life.

Before offering my views on law practice and lawyer careers, it’s useful for me to state my background upfront so that readers know my biases. For about three decades, I was a partner in a global law firm, practicing in a wide variety of business areas (frankly, wherever the clients led me).  For the last 15 years of that run, I was the full-time managing partner with firm-wide responsibility for the day-to-day business of the firm.  At the end of my third term as a managing partner (at age 62), I looked for another career and began teaching at a large university’s law school, where I started a legal clinic for startup and early-stage businesses.
Continue Reading Being #1 isn’t always a good thing—loneliness among lawyers (296)


Northwestern Law is doing something different.


The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law invites applications for three full-time faculty positions in its Master of Science in Law program, with an expected start date of July 1, 2022. Candidates will be considered for appointment on the law school’s lecturer track (Lecturer or Senior Lecturer); these positions are not tenure-eligible.

The Master of Science in Law (MSL) is an innovative legal master’s degree offered by the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. This program is geared specifically towards STEM professionals who are interested in topics at the intersection of law, regulation, business, and policy. The residential full-time program began in 2014; the online part-time format was added in 2017. The MSL program has a diverse student body, with both domestic and international students, and students of different ages, levels of work experience, backgrounds, race and ethnicity, and career goals. There are currently over 200 students enrolled and the program has over 400 alumni. Graduates of the MSL work in a variety of industries, including consulting, finance, pharma, biotech, engineering, healthcare, and law (including intellectual property, legal operations, and others); some go on to further study in medicine, business, law, and other fields.
Continue Reading Unique opportunity for teaching the next generation of legal professionals (293)


All law schools have what they need to achieve this important goal.


[Editor’s note:  Many law schools are doing innovative things these days, yet it’s hard to overcome the narrative that nothing in legal education ever changes.  I’m often reminded of this fact when I discover important and thoughtful innovations by my own colleagues at Maurer Law.   Legal Evolution is publishing this “how-to” piece on diversifying adjunct faculty to help scale a working solution to an important problem.  By the way, Legal Evolution will definitely consider essays on innovations at other law schools. wdh]

One continuing challenge for law schools is to improve faculty diversity, particularly for schools located in non-urban areas.  This short essay describes how a collaborative strategy at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, which is located in Bloomington, leverages alumni talents across the country to expand opportunities to hire a highly accomplished and diverse adjunct faculty.
Continue Reading Building and sustaining a diverse adjunct faculty (291)


To date, this highly influential stakeholder has had very little to say.


The fierce and fascinating struggle underway in the American states over legal services reform brings to the table a large collection of interest groups.  These groups include law firms, legal aid organizations, entrepreneurs who might benefit financially from the liberalization of entry rules, and of course the gatekeeper entities, including state bar authorities and the state supreme courts, whose decisions are crucial to the evolution and shape of reform.  See Posts 239 (beginning of a four-part series on serious challenges of bar federalism).

The identity of these specific groups may differ from state to state, as the legal ecosystem has contours often tailored to a particular state’s history and objectives, but the configuration of stakeholders has some rather common elements.

What remains somewhat opaque in this robust and interconnected battle over the reform of legal services is the voice of legal educators and the law schools.  These are, after all, the places in which future lawyers are educated and professional values are instilled.  It is had to imagine a more fertile and opportune time to discuss the ambitions and philosophies of this next generation of legal professionals.
Continue Reading Legal education as a key stakeholder in legal services reform (276)


Layering in a new set of skills and know-how in an already crowded law school curriculum.


Last week, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) acquired the Institute for the Future of Law Practice (IFLP).  From far away, many lawyers, law professors, and law students are bound to ask, “Why is the maker of the LSAT, which has been part of the legal education landscape for 70+ years, acquiring a fledging nonprofit start-up focused future of law practice?”

The answer is that LSAC and IFLP saw a clear pathway to benefit future generations of legal professionals in their work with clients and broader society.  Although some readers may question such a lofty purpose, we believe that as a self-regulated legal profession, it is our obligation to foster and maintain a legal system that works for all citizens and upholds the rule of law.  Only then is lasting prosperity possible, both for lawyers and broader society, and the promise of equal justice more within reach.
Continue Reading Special Post: LSAC acquisition of IFLP explained (275)


Short answer: From you. So let’s turn it into a positive.


It is that time of year, when 1Ls are starting to think about and explore job opportunities for summer 2022. They research the legal market online and engage through social media, but generally rely on their law school career resources to usher them into the legal world.

But, with a few exceptions, law students must rely on you — the person on the front lines of modern law practice — to help them understand where and how NewLaw will be an integral part of their futures.

Personally, I make myself available to law students about career questions for two reasons.
Continue Reading Where are law students learning about NewLaw? (274)


Boomer retirements ought to be a boon for law school clinics.


The Hidden Brain podcast episode Cultivating Your Purpose begins with an effective metaphor that is well-known to aging Baby Boomers: Dustin Hoffman, playing Benjamin Braddock in “The Graduate,” is drifting aimlessly on a raft in a swimming pool, as he has been doing for weeks after graduating from college.  When Benjamin confirms to his father that he has no plans whatsoever for the future, Benjamin’s father leans over him and demands to know “what was the point of all of that hard work?” Benjamin responds, “you got me.”  Unfortunately, many Baby Boom lawyers are asking themselves the same question after they retire or approach retirement—“what’s the point?”
Continue Reading Could a purpose deficit fill unmet legal need? (273)


Avoid debate. Build useful stuff.


Earlier this summer, Legal Evolution applied to the Library of Congress for an International Standard Serial Number, or ISSN.  A few weeks ago, we received our official approval. Legal Evolution is ISSN 2769-6161.  You can look us up, along with other publications, at the ISSN Portal.

Most readers have little familiarity with ISSN, primarily because it operates in the background. Its purpose is to track specific titles of ongoing or serialized publications. In essence, it’s part of the inventory control system for the world’s knowledge.  Historically, knowledge has been stored in libraries.  But nowadays, an ever-growing proportion is stored in the Cloud.
Continue Reading Turf, hierarchy, and evolving professional norms (261)


“One of the biggest myths in legal education is that there is more than enough well-paying work for anyone who has a law license.”


About ten years ago, through a connection made by Bill Henderson, I was invited to a gathering of law-school professors in Northern California.  I was still a manager of a global law firm at the time, and Bill thought that it would be useful to add a practitioner to the group, which otherwise comprised solely academics from around the US.  I remembered this conference recently as I read about the focused efforts of the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm starting in 2012 to bolster demand for its services after years of no growth or decline. See Dylan Jackson, “Debevoise Faced a Demand Crisis. Its Solution Required Change From the Ground Up,” Law.com, July 1, 2021.

The reason for the flashback was my laughed-at suggestion that law schools should add a course in sales and marketing to their curricula. 
Continue Reading Would sales & marketing in law school cross a red line? (251)