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Welcome to L21C, the law firm for the twenty-first century!

You are a partner in L21C, a new and different law firm.  At L21C we want to do things better – for our clients, for the wider community and society, and for the people who work at this firm.

Our vision is to find ways to serve clients better: to bring down costs so that real people can afford us (and so we are better than the competition); to practice our profession ethically, based on deep reflection about what ethical obligations require of us in a changing world; and to do all of this while also living live good and fulfilled lives.

As Managing Partner, I will facilitate weekly partner meetings where we will discuss the new challenges and opportunities emerging in the legal services marketplace.

In our discussions, we will use the following texts (as well as additional readings noted in the schedule below, which are posted on Mattermost):

  • Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, The Future of the Professions (available at the book store and on reserve at the library, call number HD 8038 .A1 S98 2015 LAW) (Abbreviation for this: Future of the Professions)
  • Canadian Bar Association Futures Initiative, Do Law Differently: Futures for Young Lawyers (available online – you need your CBA member login info) (Abbreviation for this: Do Law Differently)
  • Canadian Bar Association Futures Initiative, Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada (available online) (Abbreviation for this: Futures Report)
  • Case studies from Harvard Law School: The Case Studies – go to and follow the instructions posted in Mattermost (there is a fee for this – USD $22.77) (I’ve tried to keep the costs as low as possible and I think these materials are really well done and worth the relatively small expense)

The Managing Partner’s Office Hours

Mondays and Thursdays, 1 pm to 2 pm, or by appointment – OM 4745


Our Mission

(aka Educational Objectives)

Over the next 13 weeks, we will hold weekly partner meetings and you will work in teams inside and outside of the meeting times.

A key objective is for you to develop a road map for your legal career based on sustained reflection about the professional identity you want to create for yourself in light of the changes, pressures and new opportunities facing lawyers today and tomorrow.

We will work towards that objective by examining the following questions (among others):

  • How can we find opportunities in a changing legal services market to grow in new and better directions?
  • How are technology, globalization and economic transformation changing the practice of law?
  • How should the regulation of legal practice adapt to meet the needs of the profession, the public and the administration of justice?
  • How will the legal profession meet the challenge of providing meaningful access to justice for ordinary and disadvantaged Canadians?
  • How can lawyers significantly reduce costs so that ordinary people can access legal services, and what’s going to happen to lawyers if we fail to do it?
  • How can lawyers do better at understanding what clients want, and delivering it?
  • What opportunities exist to develop new business models that serve unmet needs for legal services?
  • What will legal jobs in the future look like, and are we ready for them?
  • How can legal education best prepare students for successful futures?
  • How can lawyers develop satisfying and rewarding careers in keeping with our personal and professional aspirations and our responsibilities to society?

You will also work on learning and improving more specific skills, including:

  • Working effectively in a team;
  • Legal practice management skills such as opening new client matters, recording time and working collaboratively on firm documents using a cloud-based practice management platform (see “Use Clio” under “Firm Policies,” below); and
  • Creating professional-quality written work product by doing successive drafts, self-editing, and peer-reviewing one another’s work; and

The most significant task before you is your team project: LawHack.

Each team will present its LawHack project to a panel of “Legal Dragons” in the last meeting on December 2.

L21C’s Management Philosophy

(aka Course Methodology)

L21C confronts the messy, complex problems of contemporary legal practice using a methodology called problem-based learning.

You will work in teams to engage actively with the problems and opportunities that face lawyers entering the twenty-first century marketplace.  Problem-based learning involves using what you already know to analyze problems, identifying what’s missing in your knowledge, carrying out self-directed research and reflection to increase what you know, and using your imagination, analytical ability and critical thinking skills.

Most of the meeting time will be devoted to active discussions and tasks intended to help you move forward in developing your ideas and solutions.

This will not look much like a traditional lecture or law class.  We all come to the meetings to share ideas and to make our ideas better by examining them critically, refining them, and working out effective ways to put them into practice.

We will use a web-based collaboration tool called Mattermost for class communication and management.  Readings, assignment due dates and other important logistical information are posted there.  I will post class announcements on Mattermost.  You will submit your assignments by uploading to Mattermost.  It’s your first stop for all class information.  Access Mattermost at this link:

The other important link you need is – the course blog.

Work Assignments and Performance Evaluation at L21C

There are no grades at L21C!  You will pass if I determine that you have successfully met the requirements for the course, including attendance at meetings and completion of the assignments listed below.

Performance evaluation measures your work against the goals of performing at your highest possible level and striving to improve your knowledge and skills.  The purpose of performance evaluation is to provide you with constructive feedback so that you can keep improving.

To pass, you must complete a portfolio of individual and group assignments, as follows:

  • A client memo drafted collaboratively with your team AND your team’s bill for your work on the memo, both due in class on October 7 – it’s COMING SOON so this will be your main work for the first few weeks of the semester!
  • Your 21st Century Lawyer Manifesto, due on December 9
  • One blog post on the L21C blog, which you can do at any time (on or before December 9)
  • At least three comments on other posts on the L21C blog, on dates of your choice (on or before December 9)
  • Prepare at least one question for each guest speaker (see the list of speakers on Mattermost) and ask at least one of the questions during the semester (try to ask in person, but you have the option of making alternative arrangements, which must be discussed with me, such as asking the question by e-mail)
  • THE MAIN ASSIGNMENT: Your team’s LawHack project, to be presented to the panel of Legal Dragons on December 2. A written summary is due on November 25. You will receive feedback from the Legal Dragons on your project and presentation.  In addition, I will ask each of you to complete a self-assessment / peer-assessment form where you will evaluate your own performance and that of your fellow team members, which is due on December 9.

One of your assignments is to write a blog post for the course blog; you are also expected to post at least three comments on your classmates’ blog posts.  The blog is accessible to the public. You have the right to privacy and anonymity, and you may choose not to make your work public with no penalty or consequences to you.  You will have the option of posting anonymously or completing an alternative assignment should you so choose.  Please let me know if you would prefer not to make your work publicly accessible.

Your completed portfolio, along with a checklist confirming that you have completed all the required items, must be submitted to the Managing Partner no later than December 9.  More detailed instructions on the individual assignments will be provided during meetings and posted on Mattermost.


In order to pass the course you must complete and submit all the assignments on time (unless you have arranged an extension before the due date) and you must make at least a reasonable contribution to the class discussions and your group’s LawHacks project.  I will evaluate your contribution to the LawHacks project based in part on the feedback from the other members of your team.  This is a minimum standard, and I confidently expect all of you to do far more and far better than the minimum needed just to scrape by.  But you should be aware that it is possible to fail if you fail to meet the basic standard of doing the work and making a positive contribution to the collective enterprise.  If at any point you feel that you may be at risk of falling below this standard for any reason (including personal circumstances), please speak to me and/or the Associate Dean as soon as possible, before things reach crisis point.

Firm Policies

BE A GOOD PARTNER.  Take responsibility, work supportively with your team and the other partners, contribute.  The success of this venture depends on you.

COME TO THE MEETINGS.  It is very important for all of us to work together and contribute to this enterprise.  You are expected to attend all of the partner meetings.  The (semi) exception is the time allocated for work on your LawHacks projects on October 14, 21 and 28 and November 25 after the guest speaker presentations.  In that time, it is fine if you and your team agree to work together outside of the classroom – but you are expected to attend the guest speaker presentations, and you are expected to be there to work with your team (it’s not an excuse to go home and watch Netflix!).  Please inform me, as far in advance as you reasonably can, if you do need to miss class – and please let everyone else on your team know if you can’t be present during time scheduled for team work.  A high number of absences without a really good reason may affect whether you pass the course.  Bottom line: this isn’t like a big lecture where only you are affected if you ditch class once in a while.  We are all in this together and you are needed!

DON’T RECORD THE MEETINGS.  Meetings will include talks by guest speakers and (I hope) a lot of participation by your colleagues.  It is not fair or appropriate to record any of this.  Furthermore, there is really not much point.  Listen and participate instead.

ENGAGE ACTIVELY AND CONSTRUCTIVELY WITH GUEST SPEAKERS.  When we have guest speakers in class, it’s a chance for you to give them an excellent impression of our Faculty, of L21C and of yourselves!  Make the most of it.

ASK FOR ACCOMMODATION IF YOU NEED IT.  Accommodation requests will be handled in accordance with the Faculty’s Academic Accommodation Policy and should be discussed with Associate Dean Jon Heshka as soon as possible.

ACT WITH INTEGRITY in all things, including but not limited to following the letter and spirit of applicable regulations and using sources properly.  If you use something someone else wrote in your work, cite it correctly.  Group work requires collaboration with your team; your own individual work must be yours alone.  Read and follow (i) the Regulations of the Faculty of Law (please pay particular attention to Article 15 – Plagiarism / Cheating / Other Academic Misconduct) and (ii) the University’s Academic Integrity Policy (pay particular attention to Article VI – Forms of Academic Dishonesty).  Any violation of these policies may cause you to fail the course.

USE CLIO.  We will use Clio, a cloud-based practice management platform, to try out law practice management basics, like tracking and billing your time and working collaboratively on documents.

BE PRO PUG.  L21C is (obviously) a pug-friendly work environment and all partners must love or, at a minimum, tolerate pugs.  But seriously, if you don’t love pugs what’s wrong with you?

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Partner Meeting Schedule:

Fridays 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, OM 3632

We will spend meetings 2-4 (September 16 to October 7 inclusive) discussing the philosophy and mission of our firm.

Put yourself in the position of your potential self in about 5-10 years.  Imagine that you have had a successful early to middle career working in a traditional law firm.  You’ve enjoyed your work and learned a lot, but there were some things that you weren’t quite satisfied with or thought could be done better, and you have some concerns about the ability for traditional firms like your old one to adapt to the evolving challenges facing the legal profession.  Now, you’ve joined together with some like-minded colleagues to start a new firm – L21C – and go in a new direction.  Congratulations!  We are all partners in an exciting new enterprise.  But now we have to figure out what to do next!

In these first meetings we will discuss why we started the firm and what we want it to do, focusing each week on a different theme or challenge that we want to be prepared to meet.

In the meetings from October 14 to November 25, we will hear from some distinguished guest speakers, and you will have time to work on your LawHacks projects and consult with me (and one another) on how to make them really powerful and exciting.

In the last meeting on December 2, you will present your LawHacks projects to the panel of Legal Dragons.


Date Theme of the meeting Reading material*
Sept 9 Introduction to L21C

Intro to Mattermost by Brian Lamb (12:00 pm)

No readings this week
Sept 16 Why did we start the firm?

1: To be leaders in innovation in the legal profession

Guest speaker: Mitch Kowalski

Future of the Professions 1-45, 66-71

Do Law Differently 8-20, 56-57

Heineman, Lee & Wilkins, “Lawyers as Professionals and Citizens” 1-21

Georgetown Law / Peer Monitor 2016 Report on the State of the Legal Market

HLS case studies:

“SeyfarthLean: Transforming Legal Service Delivery at Seyfarth Shaw” (21 pages)

“How to Be a Good Team Member” (5 pages)

Sept 23 Why did we start the firm?

2. To be ready for new developments in business structures, pricing and regulation

Future of the Professions 101-142

Do Law Differently 30-41, 44-47

Futures Report 1-51

Adam Dodek, “Taking Self-Regulation for Granted” (Slaw post)

Joe Patrice, “Should Non-Lawyers Own Firms? Do They Already?” (Above the Law post)

Chris Johnson, “World’s First Publicly Traded Law Firm Takes a Big Hit” (American Lawyer)

HLS case studies:

“Writing and Presenting Short Memoranda to Superiors” (4 pages)

“Creating Collaborative Documents” (4 pages)

“Three Vignettes on Pricing of Professional Services” (12 pages)
HLS case studies: “The Demise of Howrey”

Sept 30 Why did we start the firm?

3.To avoid the pitfalls that have brought down some law firms

4. To do something constructive about the access to justice crisis

Future of the Professions 231-269

Do Law Differently 42-43, 50-51, 68-69

Adam Dodek, “Canada: Death of a Legal Icon, Dawn of Change?”

“The Legal Profession in the 21st Century,” Remarks of Chief Justice McLachlin at the 2015 Canadian Bar Association Plenary

Canadian Bar Association, “Reaching Equal Justice Report” 14-31, 124-142

HLS case study: “The Demise of Howrey” (27 pages)

Oct 7 Why did we start the firm?

5. Because we want a fairer, more diverse workplace and better lives

6. Because we think legal education can be better and we want to play a part in improving it

Future of the Professions 270-308

Futures Report 53-63

“Lawyers as Professionals and Citizens” 49-64

Bill Henderson, “Solving the Legal Profession’s Diversity Problem”

Mark A. Cohen, “BigLaw’s Gender Diversity Problem Is the Traditional Model Itself,” Legal Mosaic

Michele R Pistone & Michael B Horn, “Disrupting Law School: How Disruptive Innovation Will Revolutionize the Legal World”

Justice Rosalie Abella, “Professionalism Revisited,” Law Society of Upper Canada Benchers’ Retreat Opening Address (1999)

HLS case study:

“Axiom (A): Getting Down to Business” (18 pages)

Oct 14 Guest speaker: Katrina Leung of Courthouse Libraries / Clicklaw Felipe Santos, “Is Social Enterprise Sustainable?”
Oct 21 Panel presentation on Starting an Innovative Law Practice with Jayne Rossworn and David Hughes Adam LaFrance, “Here Be Dragons: Lessons for Legal Startups,” Knomos blog,

Heather Gardiner, “10 tips for starting your own firm,” Canadian Lawyer 4Students,

Oct 28 Guest speaker: Adam La France, CEO, Knomos Knowledge Management Inc. Margaret Hagan, “User-Centred Legal Design”

Jake Knapp, “How to Test Prototypes with Customers: The Five-Act Interview”

Nov 4 Field trip to Kamloops Innovation Centre, 348 Tranquille Road

Time after the field trip for coffee / lunch and chatting about LawHacks projects at Red Beard Café, 449 Tranquille Road (right across the street from KIC)

Gillian Hadfield, “Equipping the Garage Guys in Law”

There is no formal make-up class

In lieu of this class meeting, on Wednesday November 9 I will be in my office all day and available to consult on LawHacks projects.

You are welcome to set up a different time to meet with me (instead or in addition)

Nov 18 Fred Headon

Hersh Perlis & Chris Bentley LIZ

No assigned readings – go back over the Futures report, do your own internet research on the LIZ, and use the time to work on LawHacks
Nov 25 Ben Alarie Benjamin Alarie, “The Path of the Law: Toward Legal Singularity”

Tim Urban, “The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence” Parts 1 and 2, What But Why blog

Part 1:

Part 2:

Dec 2
LawHacks Presentations to the Legal Dragons