Future of the Profession

A special project of the Young Lawyers Section


The Young Lawyers Section is looking to the future of the legal profession. Events, special projects and articles developed through out the year will address what is no longer working for the legal profession as well as open discussions as to what alternatives exist to create a legal profession where job satisfaction and success are not at odds. The YLS hopes to start a conversation across all areas of the legal market on how this industry needs to change, and how we need to be planning for what it will be, not what it has been.


Video: Chair Mary Curry of the Young Lawyers Section Future of the Profession Committee invites you to be a part of the Committee’s upcoming 2015-16 bar year.


Past Events:



The Future of the Profession: How the Legal Profession Must Embrace Working Differently, Changing the Law Firm Model, and Innovation
September 19, 2013
Our kick-off event took place in September and was designed to start the conversation across all areas of the legal market on how our industry must change, and how we must plan for the future. At the event, author Deborah Epstein Henry set the stage by discussing the changing legal profession based on her bestselling book, Law & Reorder. She first provided the audience with an overview of the state of the legal market, how entirely new ways of providing legal services are emerging, and why changes must be made. She then moderated a panel discussion that involved three industry leaders in Chicago: a law firm managing partner, the Dean of Northwestern Law School, and the general counsel of a Fortune 500 corporation.  

Steven Harper's The Lawyer Bubble
April 16, 2014
In the spring, the YLS hosted an interactive and thought provoking program with Steven J. Harper, the author of The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis. In The Lawyer Bubble, lawyer and law professor Steven J. Harper investigates how the legal profession arrived at this crisis. He indicts the widespread fixation on rankings, the bottomless greed of equity partners, and the abdication of responsibility by law-industry leaders. In this meticulously researched and passionately argued book, Harper exposes dirty secrets behind the legal profession's malaise and explains what steps can be taken to repair the damage before it's too late as well as what it means for new lawyers entering the profession and strategies for succeeding in this environment. After the program a reception and book signing was held.



Dismay or Delight: Alternative Business Structures, Limited Licensed Legal Technicians & Proactive Ethical Infrastructures
September 16, 2015 / 2 IL PR MCLE / Watch Video
Discussion of the future of delivery of legal services in Illinois.


From Walmart to Coffee Shops to Malls: How Practicing Differently Can Improve Your Client Development
February 19, 2015 / 1.25 IL PR MCLE /  Watch Video
Panelists will describe non-traditional methods of client development, including mobile outreach, alternative office settings, hybrid businesses and more.


Elementary, My Dear Watson: Expert Systems, Process and Knowledge Management
February 18, 2015 / 1.25 IL PR Credit / Watch Video
Discover how you can use expert systems and knowledge management to expand your client services, based on the digitized summation of your firms know how.


Innovative Pricing Techniques: Moving Away from the Billable Hour
February 17, 2015 / 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Learn how you can develop new pricing structures that provide both value to clients and make your practice more profitable, especially when litigation is involved. Co-sponsored by The Chicago Bar Foundation.


Tomorrow's Law Firms Today: Alternative Business Structures
April 17, 2014
The traditional law firm structure is changing. Come learn from practitioners that are breaking the mold and exploring alternatives like virtual practice, referral networks, and "ad hoc" representation.
View the On Demand Video
 (fee may apply) - 1.25 IL PR Credit


Expand Your Practice with a la carte Legal Services - Part 2 
March 20, 2014
In this Part 2 of 2 series on unbundling our speakers will discuss how lawyers are adding limited scope services to their practices, how to market and price these services, how to frame engagement agreements and withdrawal notices, essential forms and marketing new services.
View the On Demand Video (fee may apply) - 1.25 IL PR Credit


Expand Your Practice with a la carte Legal Services - Part 1
February 20, 2014
Speakers will discuss the history of unbundled legal sevices, an explanation of recent amendments to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, and the ethics issues associated with providing unbundled or "limited scope" representation.
View the On Demand Video (fee may apply) - 1.25 IL PR Credit


The First and Next Levels of Success: How to Think Like a Future Lawyer
December 13, 2013
New lawyers can be particularly vulnerable to ethics violations as they build their law practices and begin to absorb practical implications of the attorney ethics rules. This program examined specific high-risk areas related to substantive competentence, and more.
View the On Demand (fee may apply) - 1 IL PR Credit

Goodbye Billable Hour, Hello Alternative/Flat Fees for Litigation Services
Thursday, November 21, 2013
While transactional work may lend itself to a flat fee structure, it is much more difficult to figure out how to charge a flat fee for litigation. Patrick Lamb and Nicole Auerbach, two of the founders of Valorem Law Group, explained how Valorem meets client demand for flat fees for litigation matters, while still maintaining profitability.
View the On Demand Video (fee may apply) - 1.25 IL PR Credit



You can be more effective in building and maintaining client relationships! Watch one or all sessions to ramp up your client development this year. The sessions were conducted by Tasneem Goodman of Akina Corporation. Akina is a training, coaching and consulting firm that helps lawyers rethink how they build relationships to achieve greater success in business development and leadership. 

(1) Strategic relationship-building for business development
This first program addressed Strategic relationship-building for business development. The program discussed the reality that young lawyers can no longer join a firm to only hone legal skills, leaving business development to partners. Instead, that is a skill lawyers should have at the outset.

(2)  How to close new business in the law firm setting
This program focused on how to close new business in the law firm setting: Demystifying the sales process by enhancing the credibility of attorneys and their firms.

(3) How to engender client loyalty and create a client experience that differentiates you from competitors.
This third and final program focused on the need to engender client loyalty and creating a client experience that differentiates you from competitors.

View the On Demand Videos (fee may apply) 



New technology is also at the forefront of how the legal profession is evolving and how we are  - and should be - providing legal services. We designed several programs to address this aspect of the changing legal field.

Another Way to Look at Your Legal Career: Alternative Legal Careers
June 30, 2014
Examine non-traditional ways your law degree can lead to a fruitful and fulfulling career. Leila Kanani, founder of Intermix Legal Group, will cover topics such as secondment work, freelancing, working for a virtual firm, and working for a NewLaw firm. Ms. Kanani will highlight issues such as work/life balance, pros and cons, and how easy/hard it is to find alternative work. The program is free for members ($20 nonmember).
View the On Demand Video
 (fee may apply) - No MCLE Credit

The Social You: Positioning Yourself Online for Success
May 9, 2014
Social Media has changed the workplace from recruiting to marketing. How can you use social media tools to make yourself more marketable to recruiting organizations? What social networks should the aspiring attorney embrace to attract employers? Is your personal life online protected from curious potential employers? Where and how often should I engage online? In this interactive presentation, social media strategist and coach, Jason Baumann re-introduced social platforms with tips and tricks on how to position yourself for success to future employers.






The Belly of the Beast-a blog by Steven Harper

FlexTime Lawyers

Featured in Chicago Lawyer: The Future Game (By YLS Chair Mary Curry)

Featured in the ABA Journal:
The Future of Law: Dark Clouds or Silver Linings

Featured in Forbes Magazine: Dr. George Beaton of Beaton Capital, On the Future of the Law

Featrued in the Huffington Post: Where is the Future of Law Taking Us?

Featured in The Atlantic: How the Job Market for Law School Grads Crumbled (and How It Could Come Back To Life)

Featured in New Republic: Last Days of Big Law

ABA Recommendations on Legal Education