NewLaw needs new lawyers – are you up to the challenge?

f you haven’t heard it already, brace yourself: law students and new lawyers are beset by the message that the practice of law is changing, and that they’ll need to change with it or be left behind.

The expectations that many brought to law school, of a steady, high-paying job in a big law firm, simply won’t play out the way they did 30 years ago, because those kind of diploma-to-retirement jobs no longer exist – or are exceptionally thin on the ground.

That’s why the CBA Legal Futures Initiative collaborated with the Young Lawyers Directorate to produce a guide to new law – to help new lawyers navigate the uncharted territory ahead.

Written by Jordan Furlong, a noted Canadian legal theorist, the guide discusses where the profession is, the global economic, technological and social developments that brought it there, and what the next steps for new lawyers can be – not only what things new lawyers should know to prepare themselves for the new professional reality, but what is the new professional reality?  What opportunities exist and how can today’s law students capitalize on them?

The guide has information about new and emerging career opportunities – there’s more than one way to put a law degree to use – as well as the skills that will come in handy to make the most of those opportunities.

While legal education has prioritized the development of analytical and logical reasoning and sound judgment, most observers agree that other skills are just as important to the new reality – data management and technological ability first and foremost, as well as entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, network building and process improvement, among others. The guide explains how and why these new skills will come in handy.

It also offers survival tips from NewLaw pioneers, examples of companies that are actively implementing legal innovations, and provides resources to learn more.

Stay tuned for details.

It might not be your parent’s legal profession. But NewLaw opportunities abound for those willing to recognize them.