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Who (or what) inspired you to go to law school?

Regardless of their reasons for choosing a legal education, today’s young lawyers can expect that their experiences practising law will be different from depictions of the profession they witnessed growing up. Tablet computers have replaced wheeled trial bags, Skype™ conferences stand in for face-to-face meetings, and there’s no assistant down the hall to cheerfully type a memo or pull a file.

But these changes are just window dressing. The underlying shakeup in the practice of law is far more radical. The globalization of commerce, innovation, conservation and other initiatives is encouraging lawyers to consider how they can assist clients with legal issues that extend beyond our borders. Increasing diversity in Canada’s population is placing pressure on firms to increase their cultural competence by hiring lawyers with varied backgrounds, and by training firm members to identify and be sensitive to cultural nuances. Barriers to access to justice – for example, economic barriers to hiring a lawyer – are inspiring lawyers and paralegals to be efficient and innovative in delivering services, and to be more open to collaboration with clients who choose to handle aspects of their own legal work. Finally, technological innovation is forcing lawyers to rethink traditional work processes.

The future of law is no longer your mother’s, father’s, or Hollywood lawyer’s practice. So what does this mean for you?