The Future Lawyer

by Mark A. Cohen. (This post was based upon the author’s keynote address to The German Bar Association on May 26th, 2017).
One way to describe the future lawyer is to list some key challenges attorneys will confront, then identify skillsets required to meet them.
1.Defending the rule of law. This is democracy’s foundation and the mortar for its institutions. Lawyers are its first responders and last defenders. The rule of law is under siege around the world, and lawyers—present and future-- must respond to the challenge. As a young Danish lawyer told me recently, ‘I grew up as a child of the EU taking freedom for granted; I don’t anymore. I’m glad I became a lawyer so I can fight for it.’
2.Insuring access to justice. The rule of law is undermined when a significant portion of society lacks meaningful access to legal representation. Such is the case in the US and UK—elsewhere, too. Law has a distribution problem; there are too many unemployed and under-employed attorneys while millions of potential clients go unrepresented because they cannot afford counsel at current rates. Tools exist to correct this imbalance. Technology, process, project management, collaboration, and new delivery models are at the fingertips of future lawyers that can use them to refashion legal delivery.