Catching Up With the Evolving Legal Industry

Legal industry At this celebratory time of year, it’s important to reflect on our future, both personally and professionally. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressure of family and client needs; not to mention staying on top of the continuously evolving legal industry.

This month, we explored topics that will support the legal community in adapting to change. We also examined the ways lawyers continue to promote civility and professionalism amid this industry transformation.

Combating Implicit Bias

The color-blind approach commonly employed to diversify law firms may prevent leaders from achieving their goal of minority inclusion. Why? Implicit bias.

An alternate and arguably better approach to achieving diversity and inclusion in the legal industry is bias awareness. This approach reflects a relational understanding of achievement, merit, and identity. Raising awareness of bias and using that knowledge to implement organizational change is critical to constructing an equitable, inclusive workplace.

Read more: Implicit Bias: Cloaked in Color-Blind Clothing

Why New Lawyers Need a Mentor

The term “mentoring” is thrown around a lot in the legal industry. However, what real impact will a mentor-mentee relationship have on your career?

As a new lawyer, it’s time to start advancing professionally. New lawyers must maintain an elevated level of professionalism to best serve themselves, their clients, and the rule of law. Connecting with a mentor can help shape a new lawyer’s professional self, while honing their skills and establishing their values.

Read more: Four Reasons You Need A Mentor

Navigating Electronic Data Breaches

Last month, the American Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 483 addressing a lawyer’s obligation after an electronic data breach or a cyberattack.

An ethical violation may occur when lawyers don’t employ reasonable steps to “avoid data loss or to detect cyber-intrusion, and that lack of reasonable effort causes a breach.”

Read more: ABA Opinion 483: Navigating Electronic Data Breaches

Ensuring Justice for All

The administration of justice in our society is evolving. Organizations in the legal industry are leveraging technology at greater levels to increase access to justice in daily practice and through pro bono work.

This accessibility doesn’t only benefit clients. Doing good improves lawyer well-being. Research shows that helping others lowers stress levels and improves self-esteem. When lawyers feel happier, they are better able to listen to clients and provide superior counsel that’s responsive to their needs.

Read more: Justice for All is a Lawyer’s Responsibility

Lawyer Spotlight: Missy Greathouse

Missy Greathouse, executive director of the Dispute Resolution Institute, says civility is important in her work because “many of our program participants are pro se, so we’re usually the first person who listens to them and allows them to vent their frustrations…Generally, we have seen that most people will eventually act more courteous once they know they’re being listened to and, more importantly, being heard.”

Her advice for young lawyers: “Network. Network. Network. It cannot be stressed enough. Of course, you will meet people who will become mentors and support for you throughout your career. But I think most importantly, you may meet some of the best friends you could hope for, and who know and understand your profession in a way that others cannot.”

Read more: Missy Greathouse: Dispute Resolution Institute, Inc.

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Are there topics in the legal industry that you’d like us to explore in future posts? Please share below.

Laura Bagby
As Communications Director, Laura develops and executes strategy to elevate the Commission among attorneys and judges in Illinois. Laura leverages communications channels to educate and engage with the legal community in support of the Commission’s mission of increasing civility and professionalism to enable the administration of justice. When she’s not in the office, you’ll find Laura taking in a show at one of Chicago’s top-notch theatres, planning her next international trip or hanging out in Lincoln Park with her one-eyed Chihuahua, Manny.
Laura Bagby

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Laura Bagby
As Communications Director, Laura develops and executes strategy to elevate the Commission among attorneys and judges in Illinois. Laura leverages communications channels to educate and engage with the legal community in support of the Commission’s mission of increasing civility and professionalism to enable the administration of justice. When she’s not in the office, you’ll find Laura taking in a show at one of Chicago’s top-notch theatres, planning her next international trip or hanging out in Lincoln Park with her one-eyed Chihuahua, Manny.
Laura Bagby

2 thoughts on “Catching Up With the Evolving Legal Industry

  1. I’d love to see the Commission find a way to promote ways for lawyers to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into the practice of law. As a former lawyer and continuing practitioner, I can attest to the need for–and the application of– both mindfulness and meditation to the legal profession.

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