Law is changing.

Law has always been changing. But technology is driving change faster than ever. Demand for legal services is shrinking due to self-service management platforms, outsourcing, and “intelligent” software. Many law firms’ business models are becoming outdated. And legal services still remain out of financial reach for many Canadians.

Our new legal reality demands a new kind of lawyer.

Today’s leaders in the development and application of new technologies and service models will be tomorrow’s leading practitioners and firms. They are masters of adaptability. They understand change.

And they draw on a skill set that stems not only from a mastery of the law, but extends to a deep understanding of business models, management systems, and technology.

A new kind of lawyer needs a new kind of classroom.

The intersection of business skills, law, and management isn’t currently taught at most Canadian law schools. Some firms bring in business trainers. Some lawyers pay for workshops and EMBA programs once they realize they’re falling behind. Some trade associations provide basic seminars. But until now, no law school has delivered a full range of future-proofing courses that lawyers need to thrive in practice.

We deliver our courses entirely online in a way that provides a highly personal and interactive experience while still fitting the busy schedules of legal professionals.

jordan-furlong.pngManaging partners and law firm leaders consistently tell me they're looking for new lawyers with practical legal knowledge and business skills -- not just because these assets help lawyers connect more effectively with their commercial clients, but also because firms increasingly expect lawyers to ’own their practices’ and be responsible for constantly improving their own productivity and value.

I fully expect the knowledge imparted by this program will be extremely helpful to lawyers making their way in law firms. But really, it's going to constitute a valuable cornerstone of their careers no matter which route into the legal market -- private practice, in-house lawyer, public-sector counsel, startup innovator, and more -- they eventually pursue. The profile of the 21st-century legal professional looks a great deal like the lawyers that Queen's Law's new program will produce.

Jordan Furlong
Legal analyst and author, speaker and consultant
Owner/operator, Law21

BELL_karen_bio_1306.jpgOver the last twenty some years, the legal profession has experienced a variety of pressures – globalization, technological innovation, competition from outsiders and most importantly, consumerism. These have left us with significant gaps in our education so we have had to adapt what we learn and how we learn very quickly. Although not all students of the law go on to practice (be it as a private practitioner, in-house, for profit or not, or in government), most do. And being aware of and prepared to deal with the issues of managing practice in any of these environments is vital but until recently has been out of the mainstream of education.

The Legal Services Management Program at Queen’s Law School is a big first step to filling the gap and it does so in terms of both content and format. It puts front and centre the drivers for success in legal practice - client centricity and service, productivity, teamwork, technology and innovation, and profitability. It ‘educates’ with context. It shares practical perspectives. Simply put, it equips the legal student to apply the other dimensions of their legal education. And it does so from an online platform, which makes for or a more nimble and accessible experience for students and faculty alike.

There are many dimensions to legal education. This program recognizes that there is a place in law school to address other dimensions that focus on the business of law. And that is very important for the future of our profession.

Karen KH Bell
Practice Management Advisor
Formerly Senior Director, Professional & Client Education at McCarthy Tetrault LLP