CBA Sept.-Oct. 2020



for download. Similarly, the recommendations reflect rules from other states that have created licensed paralegals who are authorized to perform limited legal services. There are also suggestions for services to assist the lay public in navigating our complex volume of laws and finding legal assistance. While these changes will benefit under- served communities and underemployed lawyers in general, some individuals may find certain changes objectionable. Some lawyers will have to learn new skills. Some will have to face competition that did not exist before. If the past is any indication, there will be opposition to any loosening of our professional rules. Nevertheless, although there may be some temporary dis- location in adopting the recommendations in the Report, changes are needed to ensure the continuing health of the profession. The rates for classified ads are $2.50 per word for CBA members and $3.50 per word for nonmem- bers. Checks payable toThe Chicago Bar Associa- tion must accompany all ads. Mail to: Classified Ads, c/o CBARecord, 321 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60604-3997. Landex Research, Inc. PROBATE RESEARCH MISSING/UNKNOWN HEIRS LOCATED NO EXPENSE TO ESTATE Domestic & International Services for: Courts, Lawyers, Trust Officers, Administrators, Executors 1345 Wiley Road, Suite 121 Schaumburg, Illinois 60173 Phone: 847-519-3600/800-844-6778 Fax: 800-946-6990

Time for a Sweeping Change: CBA/ CBF Task Force Recommendations

I t’s an understatement to say that the practice of law has changed a lot in the past few decades. Regular followers of this column will have read comments on how the law has morphed from a learned profession to a business – on how technol- ogy has radically impacted the nature of the practice – and on how the needs of much of the public remain unmet while many lawyers remain underemployed. There are multiple reasons for these changes. Notably, technology advanced and invaded the practice of law just as it invaded the rest of our lives. The law itself has evolved and now impacts more and more interactions – both business and personal – that now require the services of a lawyer. And law schools create more lawyers, at a higher and higher cost, competing in a dysfunctional market place for clients with the ability to pay.The current pandemic has only exacerbated these problems. From time to time the American Bar Association and various states have attempted to address these issues on a piecemeal basis, with limited success. The problems are inherent in the structure of the system that regulates the professional con- duct of lawyers and law firms. The typical code of professional responsibility and state laws regulating lawyers seem locked in the twentieth century. To the layperson, the Bar appears to be the last remaining medieval guild, existing to protect the privileges of its members. The cure will have to be global, not piecemeal.

Enter the CBA/CBF Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law and Innova- tion. As reported in the July/August 2020 edition of the CBA Record, under the aus- pices of the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation, “[d]ozens of members from diverse backgrounds across the legal community…developed recom- mendations to reform the way we regulate the business of law…[T]hese changes will make for a better and more sustainable legal profession, a better and more accessible justice system, and improved access to legal help for consumers and small business.” This column does not have space to discuss the details of the Report (which is available on the CBA/CBF Task Force webpage available on the CBF website), though specific items may be discussed in the future. But the recommendations – taken as a whole – significantly change the way in which legal services would be furnished to a large segment of the market. To a great extent, the recommendations reflect changes that are already taking place and need only changes in the Rules to normalize them. As examples, the recom- mendations recognize the fact that many people look for lawyers on the internet, either through individual lawyer or firm websites, or, more likely, through interme- diary entities that connect the potential client with the lawyer. The recommenda- tions also recognize that many people look to the internet for solutions to generic legal problems with solutions or forms available

John Levin is the retiredAssistant General Counsel of GATXCorporation and a member of the CBARecord Editorial Board.


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