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o one ever said that being a lawyer

would be easy. Indeed, we have

always suffered the slings and

arrows of criticism. In 1591, or there-

abouts, Shakespeare, no less, had the

dastardly character of Dick the Butcher

say: “First we kill all the lawyers.” Some

interpret the meaning of this line to be that

without laws and lawyers to enforce them,

Dick and his gang could steal and plunder

with impunity.

The critics have always made lawyers’

jobs stressful, but today it seems as though

our profession is becoming increasingly

competitive, harder and more demand-

ing. In response, the CBA has embarked

on an in depth study of the future of the

practice of law in Chicago. Beginning

last year, more than seventy five lawyers,

judges, law students and law professors

have been working to identify key issues

in certain areas of our profession which

can be improved. The culmination of this

study will be a report identifying trouble-

some issues and proposing ways to make

the practice a little easier. We have solicited

and have received input from our members

and we hope for more.

The working group has focused on: 1)

The Judiciary and its case management

and pro se resources and how to make the

courts more litigant friendly; 2) Alterna-

tive business structures in law firms which

are demanded by clients and how the solo

firms and mid-size firms are coping with

technology and economic changes and

in finding new clients; 3) Soft skills, the

stress of practice and how it affects the

lawyer and alternative dispute resolution

and its changing nature and impact on

the practice; 4) Life and the practice of

law, how clients’ demands and expecta-

tions have increased and changed, how

law practice management is more difficult

than ever and the impact of social media

on a lawyer’s job; 5) Diversity and inclusion

in the multi-generational work force and

6) Law schools and how they are working

to prepare their students for the practice

by practical course work. Technology, of

course, runs throughout each category and

is a major influence in how the profession

has changed and evolved.

A Profession in Transition

The legal profession and the economics of

the practice of law are in flux; lawyers are

losing their professional uniqueness and

ethical considerations may be no longer

paramount. The internet has caused the

practice of law to speed up while the judi-

cial system remains mired in the slowness

of paper.

Law firms’ lateral hiring has created

a free agent market for lawyers, driven

by the reporting of profits-per-partner,

but finding a job immediately following

law school continues to be difficult. Law

schools’ rising tuition has caused some

schools to focus on teaching only “core”

competencies demanded by employers to

the exclusion of other skills that might

make a student more-rounded. Compe-




What Is Our Future?

The Chicago

Bar Association



Judge Thomas R. Mulroy

Circuit Court of Cook County

First Vice President

Steven M. Elrod

Holland & Knight LLP

Second Vice President

Jesse H. Ruiz

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP


E. Lynn Grayson

Jenner & Block LLP


Maurice Grant

Grant Law LLC

Executive Director

Terrence M. Murphy

Assistant Executive Director

Elizabeth A. McMeen



Jonathan B. Amarilio

Alan R. Borlack

Judge Thomas M. Durkin

Mark B. Epstein

Judge Shelvin Louise Marie Hall

Robert F. Harris

Michele M. Jochner

Michael J. Kaufman

Daniel M. Kotin

Pamela S. Menaker

Paul J. Ochmanek, Jr.

Matthew A. Passen

Mary Robinson

John C. Sciaccotta

Helene M. Snyder

Andrew W. Vail

Greta G. Weathersby

Zeophus J. Wiliams