Henry Higgins, in My Fair Lady, famously sang, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” For Higgins, an elocution teacher who traded in British class prejudice by offering to improve clients’ social standing through posh talk, the education of a woman was essentially a troublesome Alternative Business Structure (ABS) – he could work with the moving parts but the brain remained a mystery.
The Final Report of the Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Futures Initiative, released today, appears to be a multifaceted atlas mapping out a strategy for renewal of Canada’s law industry. There are many good thoughts in it, including a premise that “The future for lawyers is as much about ethics and values as it is about economics and value.” That equation is somewhat betrayed by the simple textual metric that the word “value” in the sense of economic value is used more than twice as often than in the sense of ethical values. Review of the report from beginning to end bears out this imbalance. In reality, there is no shortage of Darwinian zeal when it comes to the core message: Change or Die.