Legal Futurism and Law 2050

July 3rd, 2013

Professor J.B. Ruhl has a very cool and timely legal blog, Law2050, that looks at the future of the legal profession (H/T Gregg Macey). J.B. writes from the perspective of where law students graduating today will be in 4 decades. J.B. (and I, another J.B.) agree that the legal marketplace will be a very different place:

As a legal educator, the legal future of most concern to me is the time span of my students’ careers–thus the 2050. As a former practicing lawyer, I experienced rapid change in my field–environmental law–in just one decade of practice. New lawyers looking ahead to a career of 30 to 40 years must anticipate the possibility of sea changes in their chosen fields as climate change, globalization, technological advancements, demographic shifts, and other forces put stress on existing legal doctrine and demand new legal approaches. The most successful lawyers participate in those processes and take anticipatory steps to adapt rather than passively watching them happen and responding only reactively. I am hopeful that law students and legal practitioners of all career stages will participate actively in Law 2050.

I also hope that Law 2050 will become an active forum for legal academics to explore and debate theories of legal change, both generally and in specific fields, looking well into the future. No theory of law or legal systems can be complete without accounting for change. Many legal academics are already immersed in the dynamic legal issues being driven by climate change, the internet, Big Data, genetic engineering, and other hot topics of the day. What are the hot topics of the future, and how should law respond to them? I hopeLaw 2050 will stimulate this discussion.

There are a handful of lawprofs who write and speak in this field. I hope that this number will continue to grow.