Legal education programs now face strategic inflection points. To survive and thrive long-term, education programs must embrace entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, platforms, and customer service as the means by which to navigate through strategic inflection points. Imagination, adaptability, agility, determination, and speed will separate market leaders from laggards. Scrappy, entrepreneurial, and action-oriented programs that deliver omni-channel, lifelong knowledge and skills development solutions are the movers that will radically redefine and likely dominate the legal education industry. Slow, tradition-bound programs resistant to change are non-movers that face extinction.
Entrepreneurial education leaders committed to program growth know that since competitive advantages are transitory, they must create and nurture opportunities for continuous innovation. They also recognize the nexuses between customer satisfaction, institutional relevance, program solvency, and employee job security. These mindset shifts, coupled with a bias for action and modernization, will provide fruitful paths for new doctrinal and skill transfer services by legal education programs.
While tinkers to student admissions and traditional business models may temporarily buffer the forces of creative destruction, the market will ultimately sort winners and losers. Because technology does not respect reputations or legacies, incumbent institutions face significant risks from flexible, adaptive and shape-shifting competitors that exploit emerging technologies. These shape-shifters rapidly respond to market changes by re-engineering and reinventing their business models, platforms, systems, and processes to capitalize on emerging trends—with an end goal of human-AI integration.
Bottom line: Innovation represents the only firewall to obsolescence.
I. Introduction: Creative Destruction and Digital Convergence
II. Assessment of the Current Legal Services Ecosystem … A. Technology Will Transform the Knowledge Professions ... 1. Omni-channel Experiences ... 2. Platform-Based Services ... 3. Hybrid Human-AI Services and Virtualization … B. Status Quo Under Threat ... C. The Business of Legal Education ... 1. Education and the Marketplace ... 2. Langdell Model for Legal Education ... 3. Business Model Shift to a Referral-Based Service Provider
III. Strategic Inflection Points ... A. Identifying and Responding to SIPs ... 1. Step 1: Determine Whether SIP Has Arrived ... 2. Step 2: Analyze and Act with an Outsider’s Objectivity ... B. The Mover Advantage ... C. Navigating through SIPs ... D. Winners and Losers
IV. SIP Analysis of Legal Education ... A. Legal Education Ripe for Disruption ... B. The SIP Facing Legal Education ... 1. SIP Indicator: Student Enthusiasm for Legal Education ... 2. SIP Indicator: Funding Changes and Uncertain Economic Outlook ... 3. SIP Indicator: Law Schools Accepting GRE in Lieu of LSAT ... 4. SIP Indicator: Personal, Professional, and Financial Well-Being ... 5. SIP Indicator: Marketplace Dissatisfaction with Graduate Skills in New Landscape of Professional Services ... 6. SIP Indicator: Technological Disintermediation … 7. SIP Response Options: Reinvent or Dig in? ... 8. SIP Reality: Market Will Decide ... C. Planting Seeds for Truly Sustainable Growth ... 1. Build Startup Culture ... 2. Embrace New Technologies ... 3. Scout for Opportunities in Adjacent Markets ... 4. Prepare for a Human-AI Future ... 5. Move and Innovate
Appendix I: T-Shaped Skills for Knowledge Professionals
Appendix II: Multimedia Resources
Appendix III: Glossary of Key Terms
Hilary G. Escajeda,
Legal Education: A New Growth Vision Part I—The Issue: Sustainable Growth or Dead Cat Bounce? A Strategic Inflection Point Analysis,
97 Neb. L. Rev. 628
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol97/iss3/3