On November 27, 2012, Crain’s Cleveland Business quoted C|M|LAW Dean Craig Boise in What the legal community is saying. The piece posed two questions to five leaders in the Cleveland legal community. What attributes will be needed for tomorrow’s attorneys? What are some of the significant challenges in the legal field going forward?
In response to those questions, Dean Boise said:
“The legal sector leaders of tomorrow will above all need to be prepared to lead dramatic change. Traditionally, change within the legal sector — for both law firms and law schools —has been glacial. We now face unprecedented challenges that will require us to learn quickly the adaptability and innovation that have long characterized the business sector.
Downward pressure on costs is the greatest challenge the legal field faces over the next five years. Technology and outsourcing have transformed the way companies In virtually every other industry do business, and those companies are now demanding substantial cost concessions from their lawyers. This has led to a reduction In law firm hiring and lower associate wages, which in turn have forced law schools to examine their cost structures in light of a shrinking pool of prospective students.”
Teresa Metcalf Beasley (Senior Counsel, Calfee, Halter & Griswold, LLP), indicated that integrity and professionalism, along with a creative approach to problems, and networking/strong-reputation, would be critical attributes in future lawyers, and that in the future, there must be an emphasis on being flexible andcreative when approaching businesses with ever changing technology.
C|M|LAW alum, CMBA President, and Tucker Ellis partner, Carter Strang said that new lawyers will need the ability to use new technology and adapt to changes, and that they will need to be open to alternative work arrangements. He also noted that we must find a way to attract best and brightest to our state and local judiciaries.
Jean Robertson (General Counsel, Beck Aluminum) said that the legal sector needs transparent leadership pipelines, and an emphasis on anticipating trends, and that the recession has had a negative impact on job availability.
Finally, Judge Dan Polster (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio) suggests that future lawyers need to be creative problem solvers, with an ability to work collaboratively. He noted that equal access to services, the high cost of education, and making sure courts receive sufficient resources are significant challenges going forward.