This is a very interesting development that is slightly worrying bearing in mind the value of legal services to the UK GDP. ‘English courts’ (courts in the English language, staffed by people trained in English law, applying English law) are springing up in EU countries such as France, Belguim and the Netherlands.
English courts are opening in the EU
The concept is to try and pull business away from London by providing a forum to hear international and cross-border disputes in the host countries that are geographically more convenient for the parties. There is a very good point made in the article that the success of these English Courts will depend on the quality of the lawyers and judges who appear in and preside over them but regardless it is a very interesting twist to the post-ECJ scenario once the UK leaves the EU. I wonder whether the UK could counter this by establishing official dispute resolution hearings in foreign countries; a kind of ‘McDonalds Court’. It’s an interesting thought that touches on the commercialisation of English law. As they say, “Watch this space!”
I read this 2010 paper today and strongly identified with the qualitative research compiled by Judith Willis from interviews with LPC tutors.
Although the paper focussed on the personal and professional stories of tutors, there were inevitably many points, questions, issues and opinions expressed about the student experience as a result of the tutors’ background and teaching. I noted one point in particular:
“The LPC aims to instil relevance into the learning process for the students. Barab
and Duffy examined the concept of communities of practice and identified that in fact
formal education, where it seeks to prepare students for work, more nearly resembles
“practice fields” in that they are not linked to society. They lack “authenticity” a
complaint echoed in the student responses to the Law Society study. They argue that Lave and Wenger’s “situated learning” takes place in society and a classroom can only
be a close approximation.”
I wouldn’t disagree with that except that I think we can bridge the gap between society and the classroom if we only stop teaching (or rather training) professional legal practice in isolation. Use of simulated clients for the training of practical legal skills for instance. Allowing trainees to develop skills in a realistic but safe environment which allows legitimate peripheral participation, advanced under supervision, until the learner becomes the expert. As Willis says, “The LPC could be risking leaving students to sink or swim in the community of practice they enter.” Let’s not do that anymore.
The latest “Success for All” video has just been released by NTU, featuring yours truly and the Propertymon Go! app that brings augmented reality to land law.
NTU “Success for All”
You can visit the Propertymon Go! website by clicking on this link to get further details about the app.
I have a number of digital magazines utilising Flipboard that I use to curate articles and news items that are aligned to my work and interests. You can subscribe to them in order to receive updates.
Legal Education News
The Football Cookbook
In the past, the threat to commercial law firms from the big accountancy boys may not have been taken entirely seriously. Doubt as to whether the accountants were really interested in becoming legal service main players, or whether they just looked on legal services as part of a one-stop, full commercial advice service, has always been there. A lot of reliance (perhaps too much) was placed on the depth of legal advice that could be offered by law firms in comparison to the accountants. Law after all is the core business of law firms, whereas the accountants, although at a huge advantage in terms of influence through their auditing service, had legal departments that arguably operated more in a support role.
That would no longer seem to be the case if the news from PwC concerning their Learning Management Service (‘LMS’) points to the future of legal service provision.
PwC Sets Out Its AI-Powered NewLaw Strategy
The law, commercial law in particular, must now be viewed as data. Data contained in documents, data contained in judgments…data that can be analysed, compared, selected, predicted and assessed. That being the case, the organisations with the greatest amount of data and the resource to process that data accurately will be the major players in the market. As the above article mentions, the big accountancy firms have the greatest reach globally and therefore the best contacts and network among commercial organisations. If they decide to throw their weight behind the use of AI in the provision of legal services then they could easily dominate the LMS market.
In my own field of legal education, which (sadly) is itself a business nowadays, the same principles should apply. And yet I’ve seen first hand in a number of commercial sectors that even to this day, in a world where analytics are ubiquitous and more prevalent than ever before, this is not so.
Business would do well to heed Tim’s advice. Transparency breeds trust and trust delivers longevity and perhaps even more importantly sustainability and success.