Our system of justice is essential to the functioning of a modern democratic society. Today, this system is confronting daunting and rapidly changing challenges. Courts, the linchpin of the system of justice, are in crisis due to underfunding and lack of access. The legal profession, stewards of the system, has reached an inflection point. Technology has both enhanced and disrupted traditional patterns of serving clients. Globalization has produced new ethical and practical issues. Unemployment and underemployment of lawyers is changing the face of the profession. Our system of legal education has not kept up with these challenges.
The American Bar Association, under the leadership of President-Elect William Hubbard, will focus his presidency on how the profession must evolve in the future to meet these challenges.
In the initial action-oriented phase, the ABA will serve as a catalyst for local conversations and innovations that will create new avenues for access to justice for all and open doors to new career opportunities for current and future lawyers. These grassroots meetings will involve bar leadership, the judiciary and court personnel, local practitioners, local businesses and clients, along with innovators who can envision new ways to solve existing blocks to delivery of legal services in the community. Participants in each grassroots meeting will be charged with identifying five specific areas in their communities where innovation is needed.
Serving as a broker between traditional providers and innovators, the ABA will act as the incubator to match the needs of the justice system with projects that can be built to answer those needs and drive change in the legal profession.
This bar association toolkit will assist you in carrying out community meetings. It includes sample agendas, possible invitation lists and letters, briefing papers on issues for discussion, moderator and facilitator guides, background and resource materials for posting to your website, and data collection forms and formats. This is an excellent opportunity to engage bar leaders and your community in an exciting process to design answers to pressing challenges facing the profession. If your state or local bar would like to host one of these community meetings, please contact Janet Jackson, Director of the ABA Office of the President at firstname.lastname@example.org .