The Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation Task Force on the Sustainable Practice of Law & Innovation has officially released its report and recommendations for public comment.
The problem the Task Force seeks to address in a nutshell is an untenable failure in the legal market: at the same time we have more lawyers practicing than ever before, more people than ever before are going without legal help. Dozens of lawyers and legal professionals from diverse backgrounds across the legal community in Illinois and beyond have worked diligently over the past nine months to tackle these issues and develop a comprehensive series of recommendations for regulatory reform.
The report recommends changes to modernize the Rules of Professional Conduct and related Supreme Court Rules, organized by three overarching Task Force goals:
- Helping lawyers connect to more potential clients and offer more affordable and accessible solutions
- Helping people to recognize they have a legal problem and where they can turn for affordable and reliable legal help
- Spurring more innovation in the profession and delivery of services
“Our task force has been hard at work examining these important issues that impact the entire legal landscape, and the report we are releasing today addresses head on these issues that are so critical to the future of our profession,” said Task Force Co-Chair and CBA First Vice President E. Lynn Grayson, of Nijman & Franzetti LLP.
“Disruption and change are happening all around us and we have a choice as to how we can respond.” said Justice Mary Anne Mason (ret.), Task Force Co-Chair and CBF Board Secretary. “We can watch as outside forces shape the future of our profession or, instead, we can take a lead role in shaping that change for the good of our profession and the public we serve. The status quo is unacceptable and our best course is to take charge of our profession’s future.”
The CBA and CBF are the first voluntary bar group in the country to take on this challenge and deliver a report and recommendations for public comment. “It is imperative that we identify and embrace legal innovations that have the potential to improve how Illinois lawyers practice law and their ability to better serve their clients and the public,” Grayson said.
The Task Force built off the good work of other task forces in Arizona, California and Utah, taking a multi-tiered approach to its report and recommendations. “The Task Force’s recommendations are comprehensive,” said Mason. “They run the gamut from high tech – allowing lawyers to harness the power of modern technology to deliver solutions to legal problems more efficiently and less expensively – to low tech – establishing community-based, in-person sources of reliable formation regarding legal problems.”
People can learn more about the report and recommendations on the Task Force page on the CBF website (chicagobarfoundation.org), where they can find a copy of the full report, a list of the Task Force members and other Task Force background, and links to “pocket chats”—brief video segments discussing each of the Task Force recommendations.
Interested parties can easily submit feedback on any of the recommendations online or by signing up to give brief testimony at one of our Zoom town halls. At the conclusion of the public comment process, the Task Force will review the feedback and refine its recommendations as necessary, get final approval from the CBA and CBF boards, and then submit our final report and recommendations to the Supreme Court this fall.