If you read the whole article, it is about the need for lawyers to innovate and change, not about an "end" of the profession (unless the "end" is of practicing law in a way that does not fit in the 21st century). I realize the writer is using the title of Susskind's book but the proposition is not about end of lawyers; instead the book and the article are about, well, is this word too sensational: transformation? From the article with the misleading title:
When Richard Susskind predicted in 1996 that lawyers would soon send most legal advice and documents through e-mail, he was dismissed by his British brethren as a threat to the profession.
Today e-mail is as common as the office phone, but 12 years ago the Internet was only taking baby steps and Mr. Susskind's digital forecast was seen as blasphemy to a profession that has imparted advice and arguments on written paper for hundreds of years.
“The idea of a lawyer not sending a letter was revolutionary, it was unthinkable, unimaginable. … I was seen as a seriously dangerous person. I was told my ideas were offending a traditional profession and I was dismissed as fanciful,” Mr. Susskind said.
It took only a few years of Internet innovation to vindicate Mr. Susskind, a Scottish-born, Oxford-educated lawyer and legal technology consultant based in England. Now his futurism is rattling the
Matthew Lieberman is associate professor of social neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles. In recent weeks, he’s also rebutted the claims of a recent paper, “Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience,” which explored the high correlations between measures of personality or emotionality in the individual—such as the experience of fear, or the willingness to trust another person—with the activity of certain brain areas as observed in an fMRI machine. Mind Matters editor Jonah Lehrer chats with Lieberman about why most fMRI correlations aren’t false, the “reward” of intense grief and why accepting unfair offers seems to activate brain areas involved with self-control.
LEHRER: Your field of research has come under fire in a recent paper titled "Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience." What's the authors' argument and have they identified a significant problem in this field?
LIEBERMAN: In their paper, Vul and colleagues suggest that brain-personality correlations in many social neuroscience studies depend on invalid methods and thus are “implausibly high,” “likely…spurious” and “should not be believed.” These claims are incorrect. These analyses use standard procedures for drawing inferences and protecting against false positives. The correlation estimates will tend to be somewhat higher than the true value, but there is no evidence to suggest that these correlations are meaningless or “voodoo” science.
This cross-disciplinary conference will be held in October in Switzerland. From its Web page:
Intersections of Law and Culture aims to investigate law’s place in culture and culture’s place in law. This focus proceeds from the realization that law, once one of society’s most powerful discourses in both its secular and religious forms, has become increasingly influenced by intersecting and competing discourses in medicine, ethics, education and politics. Moreover, the operations of law—its processes and decisions—have entered the realm of popular culture, media and the arts as plot devices used in sit-coms, films and pulp fiction. These in turn have begun to change the way law operates.
Given this increasing porosity and interpermeability among prominent areas of knowledge, the focus of this conference is precisely on the interstices between law and other discursive practices.
What are the mechanisms by which popular representations and cultural practices find their way into legal processes?
How does law in turn bleed into and influence cultural processes?
Does law act as a buffer against societal assumptions about, and constructions of, gender, age, ability, sexuality and ethnicity, or does it re-enforce and re-inscribe existing social norms?
Clearly there are no simple, monolithic answers to these complex questions; answers will be historically and culturally contingent, and will change shape depending on the case or the context at hand.
We are especially interested in work that reflects on the differences in law and culture in the European and the Anglo-American contexts. What are the differences between the legal cultures in these distinct
Zen Brain Science is just now documenting what meditators have known for millennia. Jim Austin calls meditation “artful attention” and discusses the importance of this skill in our lives. He talks about his own experience both as a Zen student and a neurologist looking at the brain in relation to meditation.
Zen Brain 1Science journalist and New York Times contributor Sandra Blakeslee provides an overview of how recent developments in neuroscience have changed the way we view the impact of various practices, including meditation, upon brain structure and function.
Zen Brain 2 Neuroscientist Richard Davidson provides an introduction to brain systems that may be relevant to meditation. This presentation gives an orientation to neurophysiology and lays the foundation for Dr. Davidson’s second presentation which discusses the relationship between the brain and meditation.
Zen Brain 3 The presenters read and answer questions written by the audience. Topics include the role of meditation in the scientific workplace; trauma, PTSD and resilience in relation to meditation; and whether meditators have less of a chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Zen Brain 4 Dr. Davidson describes his recent electroencephalographic and neuroimaging studies of long-term Buddhist practitioners, and of persons who receive short-term training in mindfulness-based stress reduction. He explores the ways in which complexity theory may help in understanding the patterns of brain physiology he has observed, and the development of compassion in long-term meditators.
I am happy the Zen Center has posted these for our listening and learning.
In recent years, some of America’s most popular TV programs and films depicted lawyers winning in court but losing in love. A distortion of reality, or do lawyers really have problems building and sustaining relationships? Regrettably, the image is accurate.
It’s not that lawyers lack relationship-building skills. But, overworked, overburdened and squeezed by time – and now, the worst downturn in two decades – lawyers do exhibit communication and intimacy breakdowns peculiar to their education, their professional training and work environment.
More to the point, the same traits that bring lawyers success in the workplace also interfere
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society is sponsoring another retreat for lawyers; this one will be held April 2 - 5, 2009, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California Co-sponsors are the Bar Association of San Francisco and Spirit Rock. More here. Excerpt:
Mindfulness meditation can provide a practical tool for busy legal professionals to enhance their law practice, quiet the mind, increase clarity and awareness, and restore a more peaceful balance to their lives. This program will include meditation instruction and practice, and will explore the interplay between contemplative and legal practices and the role meditation has played in enriching the professional lives of lawyers. The program is appropriate for beginners and experienced meditators.
The leadership for the retreat is comprised of senior meditation teachers and lawyers with substantial experience in both law and meditation practice.
Register with Spirit Rock. 5 California MCLE credits will be available for this retreat in the areas of ethics and elimination of bias.
Think of your brain as a Swiss army knife, says Lehrer. It contains a number of highly specialized tools, and you have to help judge which is the best tool for the job. Start by "eavesdropping on your emotional brain," to discover what you're attracted to. Accept that much of advertising is speaking directly to that emotional brain (studies have shown that the emotional pull of brand attachment can overwhelm your sense of taste). And if you rely on one of those pro vs. con grids to help with big decisions, realize that an subconscious emotional bias can warp your ability to generate pros and cons.
From Recovering Lawyer Examiner, several articles about career transition. I do not like the label "recovering lawyer" because it seems to indicate the practice of law is a disease or an affliction. Nevertheless, those of you thinking of making a career switch may find some useful tips in these articles. They are written by Jennifer Loud, a Denverite; most curious as I have neither met nor heard of her. I hope to remedy that because she looks like someone with whom I would like to connect. Any of you met her?