Dear Law Student: The Future of Law is Now

dear law studentDear Law Student,

The Future Is Now. Not only is that title prophetic, it was also the name of a conference hosted by my organization, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, last month. Held in the Art Institute of Chicago, we welcomed almost 400 attorneys to a series of TED talks and town hall discussions about the future of our profession and the space for lawyers in a world where technology is king. It’s of particular concern to law students as the youngest custodians of this brave new legal world.

For those unable to attend, here are the top ten takeaways for law students from our conference:

1. The train is leaving the station. So it’s past time to get on board. Over and over, the speakers emphasized that the future way of practicing law – online dispute resolution, alternative billing, direct-to-consumer apps – are all already here. Lawyers need to hop on the future train else we risk getting left behind. And to stand out in an increasingly competitive job market, law students especially need to learn about new ways to practice law, starting as early as the first year of law school.

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Michelle Silverthorn

Michelle Silverthorn

Former Diversity & Education Director at Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
After spending seventeen years living in the Caribbean, Michelle undertook a number of around-the-world detours before ending up at the doorstep of the Commission, including four years as a general litigator in New York and Chicago. She remembers pretty much everyone she’s met in her travels but she would especially like to meet again the passengers on a January 2001 flight from Miami to JFK. At the pilot’s request, they donated enough money for Michelle, who had her wallet stolen, to get back to college safely. She would very much like to tell them all thanks.
Michelle Silverthorn

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Michelle Silverthorn

Michelle Silverthorn

Former Diversity & Education Director at Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
After spending seventeen years living in the Caribbean, Michelle undertook a number of around-the-world detours before ending up at the doorstep of the Commission, including four years as a general litigator in New York and Chicago. She remembers pretty much everyone she’s met in her travels but she would especially like to meet again the passengers on a January 2001 flight from Miami to JFK. At the pilot’s request, they donated enough money for Michelle, who had her wallet stolen, to get back to college safely. She would very much like to tell them all thanks.
Michelle Silverthorn

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