Law 2030: Penn Law Launches a New Initiative Dedicated to Improving Legal Service

Law 2030: Penn Law Launches a New Initiative Dedicated to Improving Legal Service

"The New Initiative Hosted Two Days of Stimulating Discussion on the Future of the Legal Profession

Modernization of legal service got an influential new ally last week with the launch of the Future of the Profession Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  To mark its launch the Initiative hosted Law 2030: A Global Conversation About the Future of the Profession, welcoming approximately 250 leaders from across the legal service community, last Thursday and Friday in Philadelphia.  More than 600 others joined online.

The Initiative has the resources to make a meaningful difference in the pace of change. Based in one of the country’s leading law schools, it has:  the full support of the Dean, Ted Ruger, who actively participated in the discussions at Law 2030;  an engaged Advisory Board of prominent PennLaw alumni;  and an effective executive team, led by Executive Director Jennifer Leonard, also a PennLaw alum.  In my experience, the quality and depth of resources supporting and leading a venture of this kind are critical.

The content and format of  Law 2030 reflected a sophisticated and ambitious outlook.  The sessions addressed the most critical challenges and opportunities facing the legal profession and its clients today. And they were structured to present diverse perspectives and divergent opinions, and to enable genuine discussion of emerging issues, stimulating more new ideas than the traditional panel format. Here are some highlights:

Inspiring Keynote

Dartmouth Professor Vijay Govindarajan delivered an inspiring keynote, based on his book, The Three Box Solution. It was an ideal way to begin the event, exploring the difference between simply managing existing enterprises better (“Box One”) and, instead,  aspiring to to do something audacious (“Box Three”).  A moon shot. Among the many vivid analogies he employed was the story of Olympic champion swimmer Katie Ledecky, who defied the conventional norms of her sport to reach her “true potential” and exceed conventional expectations.  Law needs such a bold approach to move beyond its traditional models, and achieve its “true potential.”

One Day Sessions

An unusual, wide-ranging set of short presentations, followed by a conversation moderated by Gina Passarella, took up most of the afternoon of the first day.  Participants included Connie Brenton, head of Legal Operations at NetApp and founder of CLOC, Claudia Johnson, a Program Manager at ProBono Net, Bruce MacEwen, President of Adam Smith, Esq., Madhav Srinivasan, CFO of Hunton Andrews Kurth, and Emilio Varanini, President, California Lawyers Association.  Each presentation provided illuminating insights into a critical subject,  from Brenton’s candid account of the changing role of corporate legal departments, to Johnson’s depiction of life on the front line of serving pro bono clients, to Bruce MacEwen’s data driven report on the receding market share of BigLaw. Gina Passarella then did a great job of drawing the participants into conversation, including sometimes passionate disagreements.  Excellent substance in a format that stimulated everyone to think critically about the complex policy questions legal innovation involves..."

Continue reading

  • Pro Bono/Legal Services
  • Technology