The lawyer of the future will need training in skills that demand broader and deeper understanding of people, their problems, and the consequences of confronting those problems in solely adversarial ways. Lawyers will require training in such skills as:
- listening and communicating
- understanding conflict through understanding interests
- collaborating and finding solutions of mutual gain
- developing insight, creativity, and judgment
- designing systems to prevent future problems
Lawyers need to be able to think more broadly, more flexibly, more relationally, and more preventively. Legal problems are becoming more human, as law reaches further and further in our everyday activities. Legal procedures are changing in response to this, offering a variety of methods by which legal problems may be resolved.
By opening themselves to conceiving legal problems within a fuller human context, lawyers will use the right procedures for the right problems, and will use them well. Better yet, lawyers will devise interventions to prevent problems before they arise.
To get there, lawyers will need new skills and attitudes that encourage their use. Law schools should expand their curricula to offer courses emphasizing the skills of preventing problems that are avoidable, and solving creatively those problems that are inevitable.
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