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Journal of the Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics

Authors

Mary C. Daly

Publication Date

10-1-1996

Introduction

Fantasy? Folly? I submit neither. This memorandum is a balanced projection of the future of legal education and practice for main stream law schools and main street lawyers. I am not so bold a visionary as to predict the demise of state or national borders in the next hundred years. Nation-state legislation will continue to regulate individuals private lives (e.g.,domestic relations, testamentary dispositions of property, purchases of real property for personal use, etc.) and their public lives (e.g., environmental restrictions on businesses, the imposition of fair labor standards on the employment of workers, and prohibitions against criminal behavior directed toward others).

The globalization of capital, financial, and commercial markets that has occurred over the past twenty years will never unravel. Advances in telecommunications and technology, intimately linking the remotest parts of the world are not "around the comer" - they are here and improving every day. What I predict, therefore, is a revolution in legal education and in the delivery of cross-border legal services. Law schools will have to graduate students whose legal antennae are sensitive, for example, to the interstices of supranational sales codes, to the subtleties of foreign bankruptcy codes, and to the cultural differences in styles of negotiations. As cross-border trade becomes common place for medium and small companies, new forms of associations among U.S. and foreign law firms will be needed to service these clients.

While the globalization of the economy will have its greatest and most measurable impact on lawyers who practice in the organizational sphere of the profession, lawyers in the personal sphere will need antennae sensitive to foreign law issues as well.' Foreign law issues will intrude more regularly into clients' personal affairs, as patterns of immigration alter, as immigrants' choose to maintain closer ties with their native countries, and as more U.S. and foreign nationals become "global citizens" in their outlook and life styles.

These changes in the personal and organizational hemispheres of the legal profession will necessarily entail the modification of the current sovereign-state system for the admission and discipline of lawyers. They will also require the adoption of a common code of professional responsibility for the representation of clients in cross-border transactions. This essay first "looks back" to the next 100 years of lawyering and to the evolution of legal education and cross-border practice and then briefly examines an emerging model regulatory framework.

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