McGeorge School of Law

Ethics Symposium Peers Into Future Law Practice

April 12, 2011

Renee Neman Knake

Michigan State Professor Renee Neman Knake discusses the future of blanket bans on corporate ownership and investment in law firms. At left, McGeorge Professors Leslie Jacobs and Paul Paton listen.

A Capital Center for Law & Policy symposium on April 8, 2011, took an in-depth look at the dramatic changes taking place in the delivery of legal practice worldwide. "Ethics 20/20 - Globalization, Technology and Transforming the Law" brought together leading scholars on the subject and practitioners riding the legal profession's futuristic wave.

Gillian Hadfield, a professor of law and economics at USC, presented a paper, "Law for a Flat World: Legal Infrastructure and the New Economy," which will be published in a forthcoming specialty law journal. Michigan State Professor Renee Newman Knake delivered a talk on 'Democratizing the Delivery of Legal Services: On Corporate Ownership of Law Firms" that has been accepted for publication by the Ohio State Law Journal. Professor Paul Paton, the director of the McGeorge's Ethics Across the Professions Initiative, and Professor Leslie Jacobs, the director of the Capital Center, served as respective discussants on the two sessions.

A third panel program featured the general counsel for LegalZoom, Chas Rampenthal, and the chief executive officer of a virtual law office, Stephanie Kimbro. They were joined by Dave Bilinsky, practice management advisor to the Law Society of British Columbia, and Michael Downey, a partner in Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, a Chicago-based law firm with 24 offices and more than 500 attorneys. They discussed "The Promise of Technology: New Challenges and Opportunities for Delivering Legal Services."

"It was a remarkable set of exchanges about the ways in which globalization and technology are transforming the way that legal services are delivered, how lawyers are regulated, and how the economic structure of the profession is being reconfigured." Paton said. "The sessions attracted outstanding student support, and I want to thank the Capital Center staff and the many others who helped pull this program together."