The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) published a report on the trends and issues surrounding the future of legal services in Canada on June 12, 2013. It marks the next phase of the CBA’s “Legal Futures Initiative” where stakeholders across the country will be consulted on what the future of law should look like in Canada. The report is accessible to the public on the CBA’s dedicated website CBAfutures.org.
What is in the report?
The paper surveys the broad macroeconomic forces at play in Canada’s legal industry. It discusses briefly what the legal market is, and the level of competition that exists in a market mostly restricted to licensed professionals. It is a good primer document for people otherwise unfamiliar with the topic.
What is missing from the report?
Although the CBA’s report delivers on its promise to highlight broad themes and issues in the legal services marketplace, it does not directly cite where its themes and trends originate from. The report acknowledges there is a lack of microeconomic data in the Canadian legal industry as a whole, which makes precision difficult. However, those who want to dive into the research that’s available need only consult the CBA’s complimentary report “The Future of the Legal Profession: Report on the State of Research.”
In addition, the trends and issues report does not contain suggestions or recommendations for a way forward. It is meant to provoke discussion and initiate the next phase of the CBA’s initiative: consultation with stakeholders. Based on how the report’s findings are presented, we suspect the CBA does have some recommendations it would like to draw out. However, we will have to wait a little longer to find out what exactly they are.
Where can you learn more?
The trends and issues report is supported by six supporting research papers the CBA commissioned and released at the same time. The first is an exploration of the available research, mentioned above. The others broadly cover the client’s perspective, social media influences, demographic trends, innovative case law, and marketplace forces. All the papers are free to download from the CBA’s website.
Here at LFTI we hope this report provokes some discussion about the legal economy in Canada, and we’re excited to see the CBA’s next move.