In this webinar, Professor Meazell will explore the parallel evolution of American law practice and legal philosophy, which has largely been a story of the legal industry’s synergistic expansion alongside American business, and discuss potential avenues for the future. While it is still too early to view with any reliable analytical hindsight, the twenty-first century has already brought dramatic, some would say seismic, change to the Unites States. We have a series of signature events - 9/11, the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, the COVID-19 pandemic, the social justice movement - and “disruption” is the order of the day across many business models, including law firms. The judiciary has become highly politicized and legal philosophy is now often entangled in a divisive contemporary political environment. Legal education has been forced to reckon with a changing job market and to embrace pedagogical alternatives. Law firms have had to rapidly adjust to meet whatever the prevailing demands of their clients may be – themselves facing great uncertainty and financial pressures.
Our society depends on law and lawyers and both have developed throughout our history to serve the changing needs of American society. An appreciation of this historical backdrop can provide faculty across many subjects with additional foundational perspective to help our law students face and adapt to the challenges of our own times.