American Bar Association

Source:Legal Innovation After Reform: Evidence from Regulatory Change,” Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession (Sept 2022) at 18, Figure 1.

In the long run, however, it’s all about the data.  Initial findings from Utah and Arizona reform efforts.


[Editor’s note:  For today’s feature post, we are pleased to welcome Lucy Ricca and Graham Ambrose, two of the authors of the recently published Stanford Law report on the legal regulatory changes taking place in Utah and Arizona. Prior to becoming Director of Policy and Programs at the Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession, Lucy Ricca was the founding Executive Director of the Office of Legal Services Innovation (the regulatory office overseeing the Utah sandbox). In addition, she remains a member of the Office’s Executive Committee.  Graham Ambrose is currently a 2L at Stanford Law and a 2022-23 Civil Justice Fellow at the Rhode Center. wdh]


The year 2020, known to most for global pandemic shutdowns, also heralded leaps and bounds in legal regulatory reforms.  Utah and Arizona approved extraordinary changes to the regulation of legal practice. Both states loosened the bans on nonlawyer ownership of legal practices and the practice of law by nonlawyers.  Further, the Conference of Chief Justices issued a resolution urging states to consider regulatory innovations regarding the delivery of legal services, and the ABA approved a limited resolution encouraging consideration of regulatory innovation.  Even Justice Neil Gorsuch weighed in with his support for regulatory innovation.

This year, on the other hand, has been more challenging. 
Continue Reading The high highs and low lows of legal regulatory reform (333)

Source: Based on Delta Model originally published in Natalie Runyon, “The ‘Delta’ Lawyer Competency Model Discovered through LegalRnD Workshop,” Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, June 14, 2018; see also Post 125 (article by founders of the Delta Model) [click on to enlarge]

Recent changes in ABA accreditation standards are an opportunity to deepen and broaden U.S. legal education in ways that matter to students, employers, and broader society.


[Editor’s note:  Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome today’s guest contribution from Neil Hamilton and Louis Bilionis, who are doing the foundational work of broadening the scope of the law school curriculum — and more daunting, the law professor mindset — to include skills crucial for professional success but also for lawyers’ roles as leaders and problem-solvers who focus on the long-term greater good.

As discussed below, this movement recently won a victory with the change in the ABA accreditation standards to include professional identity formation. Professors Hamilton and Bilionis (Neil and Lou) are at work supplying the first generation of content.  For innovators and early adopters, nothing happens as fast as we want it.  Yet, Neil and Lou are doing everything in their power to ensure the wheels of progress in U.S. legal education are indeed rolling. wdh.]


Recent posts in Legal Evolution have explored the country’s political and economic instability and social strife, theories for national decline, and the special roles and responsibilities of the legal profession to address these challenges. See Posts 312, 319, 321 (exploring duties of lawyers in the present age).  This post focuses on recent accreditation changes in legal education that, we hope, will help new generations of law students internalize the profession’s special roles and responsibilities and thus more effectively address our pressing social and political challenges.
Continue Reading Fostering law student professional identity in a time of instability and strife (326)


A. NewLaw is a mindset.


NewLaw is a mindset. It is a movement. NewLaw’s enemy is the adage: “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Whether coined by Eric Chin, see Post 242, or Jordan Furlong, see Furlong, “An Incomplete Inventory of New Law,” Law21, May 13, 2014, the original definition circa 2013 was: “any model, process, or tool that represents a significantly different approach to the creation or provision of legal services than what the legal profession traditionally has employed.”
Continue Reading Q. What is NewLaw? (253)


“It is no exaggeration to say that the Restatement of the common law is the most difficult as well as the most important public work ever undertaken without the aid of government by the legal profession in this or any other country.”  William Draper Lewis, “Present Status of the American Law Institute,” 11 NYU L Rev 337, 343 (1929).

This essay is about the importance and value of building shared “legal infrastructure,” which is a term coined by the eminent economist and law professor Gillian Hadfield in her book, Rules for a Flat World (2017).
Continue Reading Legal infrastructure and the forgotten story of the Restatements (207)


No one really knows how the game is played //  The art of the trade  // How the sausage gets made // We just assume that it happens // But no one else is in // The room where it happens

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Since graduating from law school in 2015, I’ve spent a lot of time in the room where it happens. I’ve served in leadership roles on local, state, and national bar associations; I’ve traveled around the country speaking with lawyers and law students of all sorts; and I’ve helped the sausage get made.
Continue Reading What is going with the Washington State Bar? One (young) lawyer’s perspective (101)