To respond to the growing need for lawyers to have a bigger toolbox for delivering their services, The Institute for the Future of Law Practice, https://futurelawpractice.org/, or “IFLP” was founded in the Fall of 2017. IFLP is a unique collaboration of American and Canadian law schools and employers in the legal services space – law departments, law firms and alternative legal service providers – to teach law students important skills in business operations, process and service design, legal tech, project management and data management and analytics. Additional industry-focussed modules help students apply skills in context. Osgoode Hall Law School is excited to be part of this cross-border law school and legal industry collaboration.
In the summer of 2018, the first IFLP three-week boot camp was held in Chicago at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, with 40 students including five from Osgoode. The boot camp was followed by ten-week internships in legal operations projects such as developing expert systems, using predictive modelling to analyze case costs, developing budget templates, and process mapping specific matter types. The intern employers in Canada were Bennett Jones, Blakes, Kira Systems, McCarthy Tetrault and Osler, all of whom have committed to take one or more interns following the 2019 boot camp, scheduled for May 13 through 30. A number of other Canadian employers have committed already for summer of 2019.
Students undergo a selection process by IFLP and many bring backgrounds that are an asset to legal operations. Last year’s Osgoode boot-campers brought backgrounds including software development, supply chain management and legal tech entrepreneurship. All have a keen interest in learning how to use process design and technology to improve legal service delivery. Intern employers interview their own selected short-list of the candidates, and candidate selection is completed before students attend the boot camp.
The skills taught at IFLP are useful not only in corporate and large firm settings but also in the public sector and public interest; in fact, one could argue they are even more important in the latter. This year’s boot camp will include case studies and applications in government and non-profits.
Cameron McMaster, now a third-year JD student and one of last year’s boot-campers, attributes securing an articling job in a hyper-competitive market in part to the IFLP program. “I think my experience at the boot camp differentiated me as a candidate,” he says. In some articling interviews, “we mainly spoke about the current state of the legal industry and the role of legal operations in firms to start delivering more client-centric services."
What if employers want an intern but don’t have people in “legal operations” roles to supervise them? Elevate Services, a rapidly growing legal services delivery consulting firm, will be working with IFLP in 2019 to offer “supervised internships.” This is a great opportunity to have some legal operations expertise brought to an organization without existing resources in that area.
Osgoode Professional Development will be hosting an information session about the 2019 boot camp and internship program on October 30, 2018, at 5:30 PM, followed by a reception. Professor William Henderson of the University of Indiana Maurer Faculty of Law, co-founder of IFLP, and editor of the blog at www.legalevolution.org, and Lisa Colpoys, director of IFLP, will be attending, as well as IFLP Board member Victoria Watkins, executive director of Osgoode PD and assistant dean at Osgoode Hall Law School. Dean Ian Holloway of the University of Calgary Faculty of Law (Calgary is a new participant in 2019) will join us, as well as Jordan Furlong of Law21, Monica Goyal of My Legal Briefcase, Jason Moyse of LawMade and Elevate, and other legal industry thought leaders.
If you are interested in taking an intern or just want to know more about IFLP, register here https://bit.ly/2N4GMps or contact Amy ter Haar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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