Posted by: Ray Brescia | February 25, 2021

On Three Crises and the Future of the Legal Profession

In a forthcoming piece in the Hofstra Law Review, I examine the potential impact of three crises–the pandemic, racial injustice, and the threats to the rule of law–on the future of the legal profession. A pre-publication draft is available for download here. Below is the abstract. Since it is just a draft, comments are definitely welcome.

The United States faces three simultaneous crises: a pandemic, a civil-rights reckoning, and a crisis of democracy.  The first of these crises has sparked dramatic—though potentially temporary—changes to the practice of law: moving much legal work to remote settings almost overnight, after the profession had largely resisted making such accommodations for decades.  The second has sparked an assessment of the extent to which the practice of law and the legal system are both riddled with racism and institutional bias.  The third, the crisis of democracy, has lawyers at its center, filing frivolous claims and fomenting an armed insurrection with designs on overturning the results of a free and fair election.  If the past is any guide, these crises will provoke a period of introspection within the legal profession and prompt calls for change.  What the profession tends to do in the wake of such crises and in response to such calls, however, is tinker around the margins of the rules regarding the operation of the profession, leading to little substantive, long-term, formal change.  It is entirely possible, if not likely, that the legal profession could respond to these crises according to this same pattern.  It does not have to be that way, however.  This Article calls on the profession—even as we are still in the midst of these crises in many ways—to seize the opportunity to advance real, lasting, and meaningful change and recommit to the central role it must play in the defense of the rule of law and democracy.


Responses

  1. Going to share this practical and cogent analysis with my class. We discussed these issues in clinic seminar yesterday! Thanks for posting and sharing Ray.

  2. The entirety of civil rights are on the chopping block within the bureaucratic system in a federal organization that regulates annual Human Rights on a worldwide basis. Yet, has a track record of targeting employees with disabilities, denying their request for assistance causing physical and emotional effects.


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