The 6th annual Educating Tomorrows Lawyers Conference by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System was held Oct. 5 to 7 at The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. This years conference focused on client service and explored the changing nature of the legal profession.
In her keynote address on Oct. 6, Washington State Bar Association executive director Paula Littlewood discussed trends in law and the issues facing lawyers and clients today, including a shortage of lawyers, increasing public demand and consumers seeking legal help elsewhere.
Littlewood went through a breakdown of legal need by economic status. For low and moderate income families, (moderate was defined as a four-person household earning at least $98,000 annually) more than 80 percent chose to forego seeking out legal assistance, a statistic she called staggering and something that has contributed to the rise in services like LegalZoom and Avvo. Littlewood also criticized the notion of a lawyer surplus and lack of jobs. She pointed to declining law school enrollment, which have consistently fallen since 2010.
“You cannot stand here with a straight face and say there are too many lawyers when there’s this much unmet need in the United States,” Littlewood said.