By now you're probably tired of hearing warnings that, unless it changes, the legal profession will slide into oblivion like dinosaurs unable to cope with climate change and competition from mammals.
Here’s some good news: There is plenty of evidence that the profession is adapting admirably to the challenges of the new legal environment. For real-life examples, look no further than our story line-up this issue.
New lawyers might be struggling to find traction in a tight job market, but some are finding creative solutions that also allow them to prioritize family life. Check out Jason Morris, an Edmonton lawyer who turned to technology to power his home-based practice after deciding he was more interested in “being a dad than making partner.” He has some tips for classmate Crystal Schening who wants to put her hard-earned law degree to use while caring for her son at home.
Then there’s Martine Boucher who followed an unconventional route when she recruited her spouse – a non-lawyer – to bring a fresh perspective to growing her Calgary law firm.As COO and CFO, he receives his share of the firm’s profits by way of dividends, a quasi-ABS arrangement, she writes, that’s delivered nothing but positive results.
Public support for the legalization of marijuana in Canada has increased over the decades, with 59 per cent of people polled saying they think the use of marijuana should be made legal, according to a 2014 survey by Angus Reid Global. But just as public support has grown, so has the scientific understanding of the real dangers of marijuana. Opponents to the legalization of marijuana worry about the health risks of “normalizing” its use, including the risk of addiction and the implications for brain and heart health, particularly for younger users.
It might not seem like a great time to be a law student, especially if you’re buried in debt and worried about an uncertain job market, but, believe me, it is.
Take some time to read this this issue and you’ll understand why.
Today’s law students stand at the cusp of changes that are transforming how legal services are delivered and how success is measured in the practice of law. Those changes are also shaking up traditional ideas about legal education.
There was a time when law schools focused almost exclusively on black letter law; unless students participated in student legal aid clinics or snagged a summer job at a firm, they didn't get any exposure to actual practice until bar ads or articles.
There were also pretty clear expectations if you went to work for a law firm. The billable hour model meant you metered out your time in six-minute increments and stressed over meeting aggressive billing targets. Making partner was the Holy Grail and the key to life-long tenure and prosperity.
Beverley Spencer is editor-in-chief of National Magazine and executive editor of CCCA Magazine