UC Connect lecture: Professor John Hopkins

22 August 2018

Law without lawyers: does legal education have a future?

  • John Hopkins

Professor John Hopkins, School of Law, will present a UC Connect public lecture on Wednesday 12 September on the topic "Law without lawyers: does legal education have a future?".

Lawyers are popular, as Shakespeare’s most famous and much-repeated quote makes clear. However, the changing nature of law means that the extortions of Dick Butcher to “kill all the lawyers” may no longer be necessary.

The increasing cost of legal advice and the excessive formality of the legal system has left the way open for alternative ways to undertaking the ‘law jobs’, without the need of lawyers. From Blockchain to ‘Alternative’ Dispute Resolution, the way appears open for a legal system without the need for the high priests of the legal profession to navigate it.

If current trends continue, the much maligned profession may die out, all on its own. Given that the profession is facing such an existentialist threat, what does the future hold for legal academia?

Based upon his published work, Professor Hopkins argues that the legal academy’s future is assured but very different from its recent past. Successful law schools will be those that shrug off their isolationist exceptionalism and embrace a multi-disciplinary future. In effect, the changing relationship between law and society will drive legal education back to its academic roots. The future of legal academia is the study, not the training of lawyers.

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