Amy Salyzyn, Beyond the Quid Pro Quo Premise: The Legal Profession and the Public Interest, published on SLAW April 9, 2013.
The Canadian legal profession has never been shy to rationalize and justify its role in society. The public relations campaign launched by the Ontario Bar Association in February is just the latest in a long history of institutional advertising efforts tracing as far back as the 1930s when the Saskatchewan Law Society placed a series of advertisements in a farm weekly.
A new urgency, however, now colours our collective efforts. What it means (and will mean) to be a lawyer has perhaps never been more uncertain. In other jurisdictions, new and disruptive business structures are radically changing once taken-for-granted “rules of the game” for the delivery of legal services. New technology is displacing the need for lawyers to perform certain tasks and will continue to do so. On top of this, our country is neck-deep in a seemingly perpetual access to justice crisis that has seriously undermined the public’s confidence in the ability of the legal profession to respect and protect their interests. The list of challenges, as we all know, goes on.
How should we, then, seek to understand and explain ourselves in this tumultuous time?
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