Here at the Commission on Professionalism, we firmly believe in the need for innovation in the legal profession. Consequently, we frequently write and speak about the challenges that lie ahead in future law.
In fact, just last week, our Executive Director Jayne Reardon recapped the Futures Report released at the ABA Annual Meeting earlier this month. In her post, she addressed a number of the recommendations proposed by the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, including one that impacts us in Illinois directly.
On August 15th, the American Bar Association announced some big news for the Chicago legal community. The ABA Center for Innovation is coming to the Windy City.
This tech-based legal services center and innovation hub plans to encourage, support, and drive change in the profession. The Center aims to increase access to justice and more effectively deliver legal services across the country. Many of the Center’s projects will come in the form of breakthrough technology.
In the announcement, chairman of the Center’s governing board, Andrew Perlman, shed light on an upcoming project. One of its first initiatives will be assisting with a court-annexed online dispute resolution pilot program in New York.
The ABA Center for Innovation will be staffed by a managing director and three other employees with a vast knowledge and understanding of technology and the profession. Likewise, a governing council, an advisory council and a number of special advisors will support this four-person team. The center also plans to team up with several fellows programs made up of recent law graduates and lawyers in the middle of their careers.
As we’ve expressed time and time again, change isn’t always easy or comfortable. We certainly must do something to close the access to justice gap. If we continue to stand still, our profession as we know it may one day cease to exist.