EDITORIAL > Focus on the future
Everywhere you turn we’re bombarded by messages that the nature of the legal profession is changing. We’re being replaced by robots or computers or being outsourced overseas. The hot new topics are the sharing economy and coding a legal app. As young lawyers and up and coming law students, there is constant pressure to keep up with the latest legal trends to stay ahead or even just to stay current in a rapidly changing world.
But the future of the legal profession is more than just how the law responds to new frontiers like space or new technology like artificial intelligence. Even assuming that the retirement age does not change, many of today’s law students will still be practising into the 2060s, and will have management and leadership roles. It will be up to us to define what the profession will look like, what norms we will accept and what we will fight against. Do we want a legal industry that looks just like the one the managing partner grew up with, or do we want to blaze our own paths?
This edition of the Young Lawyers Journal focuses on the future of the legal profession. It suggests some emerging areas of law and asks how the nature of legal practice is changing and what challenges young lawyers will face in the future. Most importantly, it discusses what you can do to be involved with that future – be that reading up on an interesting new area of law or having a hand in how the legal profession is developing.
One edition couldn’t possibly cover everything new and changing in the legal profession. Think of the articles in this edition as a starting point, something to get you thinking, talking and taking action. It is up to us, as young lawyers, to get involved and shape the future as we want it to be.
Adam Wakeling is a senior compliance adviser at State Trustees.
Andrea de Souza specialises in medical law at Minter Ellison. They are co-chairs of the YL Editorial Committee.