The Value Imperative: The Future of Lawyering in the ‘New Normal’

Since economist Milton Friedman’s 1970 doctrine “the social responsibility of business is to increase profits,” businesses have been driven by the bottom line, and the legal profession is no exception. Yet, in recent years, business leaders and lawyers alike have begun to see a structural pivot in the nature and purpose of business.

In this talk, Harvard Law Professor David B. Wilkins will reexamine business and law through the lens of delivering value to consumers of legal services in today’s society. If we go beyond market dollars, our industry can find its professional roots in being wise counselors and effective leaders who address complex problems with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Attendees can expect to explore where value might be defined, revealed, and delivered in law, policy, and even morality, and to examine who these new clients are and what value means to them.

Speaker Bio

David B. Wilkins is the Lester Kissel Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Global Initiative on the Legal Profession, and Faculty Director of the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

Professor Wilkins has written over 80 articles on the legal profession in leading scholarly journals and the popular press, and is the co-author or editor of five books, including one of the leading casebooks in the field. His current scholarly projects include Globalization, Lawyers, and Emerging Economies, Disruptive Innovation in the Market, the Reemergence of the Big Four Accountancy Networks in the Market for Legal Services, and After the JD: A Ten Year Longitudinal Study of Lawyers Careers.

Professor Wilkins teaches several courses on lawyers, including The Legal Profession, and Challenges of a General Counsel. In 2007, he co-founded Harvard Law School’s Executive Education Program, where he teaches several courses including Leadership in Law Firms and Leadership in Corporate Counsel. Professor Wilkins has given over 50 endowed lectures at universities around the world and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences, law firms, and corporate retreats.

He holds honorary degrees from Roger Williams University (2017) and Stockholm University in Sweden (2012). He is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Harvard Law School Alumni Award, (2016), the Aptissimi Award for Academic Excellence from ESADE UNIVERSITY in Spain (2014), the Distinguished Visiting Mentor Award from Australia National University (2012), the American Bar Foundation Scholar of the Year Award (2010), the J. Clay Smith Award from Howard University School of Law (2009), and the Order of the Coif Distinguished Scholar Award (2008). In 2012, Professor Wilkins was elected to the American Academy of Art and Sciences, and in 2014 he was elected as a corresponding member of the Spanish Royal Academy of Doctors.