Most lawyers went into the law because we answered a higher calling. We were drawn to the structure of the law as a way to make the world a better place. By learning the law, we would give voice to the voiceless, defend the defenseless. We would unravel complex bureaucratic procedures for our clients. We would find a greater purpose and meaning in our work.
As laws and procedures have become more complex, familiar signposts have become obscured. We communicate, investigate, research, and manage cases in new ways. Legal tasks are being handled by those without a J.D. and by automated systems. No doubt technology is changing the profession and raising questions: How do we use technology and innovation to better serve our clients? To better serve justice? Will we be able to earn a livelihood in this shifting paradigm? Will principles of service and professionalism still apply?
Because of these changes, professionalism is more important than ever. Professionalism is what distinguishes law as a profession rather than as a business motivated solely to maximize profits from the sale of legal services. Professionalism is the foundation of the public’s confidence in the legal system and the source of a deeper meaning that called us to this career.