March 18, 2020

Commission on the Future of Legal Education

Overview

The Commission on the Future of Legal Education was established to take a leadership role in anticipating, articulating and influencing what will be dramatic changes in the legal profession in the next decade and beyond.  

The Commission worked for over two years—including extensive research, broad and thoughtful stakeholder engagement, and principled dialogue—on the seemingly intractable problem of how to better align legal education and licensure in the United States to the modern needs for, and requirements of, legal service delivery.  It completed its work across 2017-2019 and published its "Principles & Commentary" (see below) in early 2020.

The Commission's work adds to the ABA’s long-standing commitment to, and support of, quality legal education. This includes the work of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Council of that Section.

 

Commission Members

Patricia D. White
Commission Chair, pwhite@law.miami.edu
Professor of Law & Dean Emerita
University of Miami School of Law

David Faigman
Chancellor & Dean
University of California Hastings College of Law

Horacio E. Gutierrez
Head of Global Affairs & Chief Legal Officer
Spotify

Gillian Hadfield
Schwart Reisman Chair in Technology and Society; Professor of Law, and Professor of Strategic Management, University of Toronto Faculty of Law; Faculty Affiliate, Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence; Senior Policy Advisor, OpenAI; Author,  

Honorable Andrew D. Hurwitz
United States Circuit Court Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Deborah Jones Merritt
John Deaver Drinko-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Courtesy Professor of Sociology; Courtesy Professor of Public Policy and Management, and Associate Faculty Member in Women's Studies, Ohio State University

Blake D. Morant
Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law and Former Dean
The George Washington University Law School
President Emeritus of AALS Fellows

Vanessa Nordyke
Senior Assistant Attorney General, Oregon Department of  Justice
President 2018, Oregon State Bar

Daiquiri Steele
Forrester Fellow
Tulane University Law School

David Stern
Executive Director
Equal Justice Works

Richard Susskind
Author, Tomorrow's Lawyers; Technology Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales; professorships at University of Oxford, Gresham College, UCL, and Strathclyde University

David B. Wilkins
Lester Kissel Professor of Law; Director, Center on the Legal Profession; and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession
Harvard Law School

Andrea P. Sinner
Commission Director, andrea.p.sinner@gmail.com
Retired Executive Managing Director, Accenture
JD 2017, University of Miami School of Law

Principles & Commentary

The Commission presents the following deliverables to serve as the basis for continued principled dialogue. 

The views expressed in these documents have not been approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of theAmerican Bar Association and, accordingly, should not be construed as representing the policy of the ABA.

Press Release  - This press release provides the context for and introduction to the Principles & Commentary document.

Principles & Commentary  - This document presents the findings of the twelve experts who were appointed to the ABA’s Commission on the Future of Legal Education. The Commission worked for over two years—including extensive research, broad and thoughtful stakeholder engagement, and principled dialogue—on the seemingly intractable problem of how to better align legal education and licensure in the United States to the modern needs for, and requirements of, legal service delivery.

Principles  - This document presents the one-page of Principles–also included in the Principles & Commentary document above–on its own. 

Select Commission Bibliography [forthcoming] - This document presents a portion of the materials reviewed in some manner, ranging from a quick review to deeper study, at some point during the Commission's work.  This compendium of materials may be helpful to others interested in principled systemic reform.

2019 Midyear Event

Joint Session with the Center for Innovation

When: Thursday, January 24, 2019 from 2-4pm in Milano IV 

The Commission on the Future of Legal Education and the Center for Innovation welcome the opportunity at the 2019 Midyear meeting to dialogue on the Commission's mission to help build the legal profession of the future by articulating how best to align the education and licensing of legal professionals with accelerating technology advances and the ever-changing practice of law. In this session, representatives of the Commission and Center will share progress, insights, and plans related to the Commission's mission, answer questions, and welcome input from those attending Midyear in person. Further details will be posted on this page after Midyear for anyone to submit public comments (similar to the 2018 Midyear Commission hearing, the details of which remain below) or to communicate generally with the Commission and the Center.

Panel Members:
Blake Morant (CFLE Member, Dean of the George Washington University Law School)
Daiquiri Steele (CFLE Member, Director of Diversity Inclusion and Assistant Professor of Law in Residence at the University of Alabama School of Law)
Andrea P. Sinner (CFLE Director)
Daniel Rodriguez (ABA Center for Innovation Governing Council Chair; Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law)
Camille Nelson (ABA Center for Innovation Governing Council Member, Dean at the American University Washington College of Law)
Kellye Testy (President CEO of LSAC; previously Dean of Washington University School of Law)
Ed Walters (CEO and co-founder of Fastcase; Teaching Law of Robots at GeorgetownLaw Cornell Tech; Editor, Data-Driven Law; previously ABA Center for Innovation Governing Council Member)

2018 Midyear Event

Open Hearing

When:  The Open Hearing was held on Sunday, February 4, 2018 in Vancouver, BC. 

CFLE Summary

The Commission on the Future of Legal Education is leading the effort to build the legal profession of the future by articulating how best to align the education and licensure of legal professionals with accelerating technology advances and the ever-changing practice of law. The Commission has organized around the following areas of research and ideation:

  • Future Skills – explore the law jobs of the future, with associated required competencies, across the coming two decades; highlight the shifts needed in education and licensure to serve that future view, and explore models more agile to the pace of change
    • QUESTION FOR OPEN HEARING - How can law schools prepare students for the law jobs of the 21st century?  What are the new skillsets not traditionally included in law school curriculum?
  • Access to Justice – address the systemic structures in education and licensure which limit the ability of the profession–and society–to make greater progress on access to justice
    • QUESTION FOR OPEN HEARING - What can law schools do to further progress on access to justice?
  • Licensure – better understand recent bar passage trends, and explore different examination and certification models which align with a forward-looking definition of entry-level competence
    • QUESTION FOR OPEN HEARING - How well does the current bar exam (please specify your state) correlate to entry-level competence for the 21st century attorney?

2018 Midyear Public Testimony

The agenda below provides the list of individuals who gave testimony at the Open Hearing; this includes those who scheduled in advance, and attendees who decided to contribute testimony on the day. See Video.

The following written testimony has been received thus far by the CFLE.