I have previously called for greater collaboration among a broad variety of lawyers to address the critical issues facing legal education and the legal profession. Private lawyers, government attorneys, public interest lawyers, legal educators, and even law school regulators must come together at the table for the betterment of the profession. Last week, two conferences made some initial and very positive strides in this direction. The NALP Foundation and West LegalEdcenter held a one-day forum, Tomorrow's Law Practice: A Forum on the Market, Demand and Opportunities for Lawyers; and the Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Initiative held its annual conference entitled, Connecting the Academy & the Profession.
The candid conversations at these conferences constitute a significant shift away from the finger-pointing that has dominated discussions among and between these constituencies. Unlike some, embroiled in today's political stalemate in the federal government, we must choose to take on our challenges and accomplish productive change. While the pointed and rigorous debates of differences and misunderstandings are very important, it is our common interests and goals that provide an important framework for continuing to advance the legal profession by preparing today's law students for a new practice.
It is clear that lawyers from all sectors of the profession share a critical and fundamental point of view: we want a positive future for the legal profession, justice and democratic values, and we care deeply about the success of our students. It follows that this future also lies with the success of current and prospective law students. Focusing on a framework that is based on cultivating our future colleagues can help us ensure that the legal profession flourishes and fulfills its essential goals of serving justice and our democratic society.
Van Cleave, Rachel A., "Viewpoint: Coming Together, Crafting Solutions" (2013). Publications. Paper 601.