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Penn Law announces new ‘Future of the Profession Initiative,’ launched through Law 2030 Conference

October 29, 2019

In the Fall of 2019, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School launched the Future of the Profession Initiative (FPI) to advance its mission of educating the next generation of lawyers and catalyzing change throughout the profession. With a focus on innovation in legal education and an emphasis on profession-wide thought leadership, FPI will contribute to the Law School’s development of Lifelong Learning for Penn Lawyers while leading profession-wide conversations about accelerating changes in the legal landscape.

As the legal profession becomes more globalized, complex, and connected to other disciplines, law schools must adopt a more holistic vision for education. FPI will help prepare students for the landscape ahead while also engaging leaders across the profession to actively participate in shaping the practice environments of the future.

“Change in the legal field is accelerating as technology evolves, new entrants join the industry, the practice of law becomes more globalized, regulatory frameworks governing lawyers shift, and attorneys approach their careers differently,” said Penn Law Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law Ted Ruger. “As a result, law school applicants, students, and graduates are thinking in new ways about how they imagine their careers, underscoring the need for a solution that promotes innovation, thought leadership, and enhanced interdisciplinary education and engagement.”

FPI will enhance the way Penn Law prepares its lawyers in the face of an ever-changing legal landscape. The addition of lawyer well-being to the curriculum, as well as the semester-long Innovation in Practice: Design Thinking for Lawyers, the Law 2030 podcast, and the “Reimagining the Future of the Profession” virtual webinar series are examples of new FPI-led initiatives.

From February 27-28, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School presented “Law 2030: A Global Conversation About the Future of the Profession,” a worldwide event that welcomed leaders throughout the profession, the clients they serve, and innovators from across disciplines to the Pennovation Center. The event featured interactive, educational, and inspirational conversations about how real change happens, why lawyers struggle to change, and how legal professionals can improve client service. Along with the over 200 live participants, the symposium was also livestreamed for hundreds more across the globe, with attendees tuning in from at least four continents and across the United States.

The keynote speaker was Vijay Govindarajan, Coxe Distinguished Professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University and author of The Three Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation. The symposium included presentations on “Navigating the Decade Ahead,” and “Why Lawyers Struggle to Innovate” and highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to innovation. A panel discussion moderated by Dean Ted Ruger with leaders from Penn Medicine and Penn Nursing on “Health Care Innovators Leading Legal Service Providers” kicked off the second day. The event also featured flash presentations on innovations from the fields of medicine, nursing, business and public policy and concluded with a student design sprint competition.

Law 2030 was the first major event for the Future of the Profession Initiative. Moving forward, FPI will continue to teach the skills and knowledge most relevant to modern legal professionals, lead broad conversations about the new opportunities that abound in the dynamic legal profession, and transform the way legal services connect clients with more responsive systems.

“Penn Law—because of its future-oriented approach to legal education and its position within a mature innovation ecosystem in the broader Penn community—is uniquely situated to improve the practice of law, growing access across the income spectrum,” said Jennifer Leonard L’04, Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of Penn Law’s Future of the Profession Initiative. “This initiative will be the hub that brings together students from across disciplines, practicing attorneys, and experienced professionals from other fields to spark innovation in our profession.”