Pope & John Lecture to Address the Impact of Computers on the Legal Profession

November 12, 2007

Richard Marcus, Horace O. Coil Chair in Litigation at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, will discuss the impact of computers on the legal profession during this year's Pope & John Lecture on Professionalism at the Northwestern University School of Law.

The lecture, "The Impact of Computers on the Legal Profession: Evolution or Revolution?," will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in the Arthur Rubloff Building, room 140, 375 E. Chicago Ave. The program is free and open to the public and has been accredited in the state of Illinois for 1 credit hour in the area of professional responsibility.

Computers have greatly changed the way the business of law is conducted today, with enhanced capabilities for word processing, online research, e-mail and many other electronic services. Some argue that the changes will revolutionize the legal profession and that computer programs designed to solve client problems will diminish the need to employ the services of an actual lawyer.

Marcus will examine whether or not this is true, whether the impact of computers on what lawyers do should be viewed as evolutionary or revolutionary.

"Clearly changes in the legal practice relate to the growing importance of computers," said Stephen Lubet, director of the School of Law's Program on Advocacy and Professionalism and Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Professor of Law. "Marcus will discuss whether these changes should be viewed negatively or favorably and what to expect in the future."

Marcus has served as a special reporter to the U.S. Judicial Conference's Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, which originates amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He has had a central role in drafting major amendments to the federal discovery rules and to the class-action rule and in drafting rules for handling e-discovery. He and Martin Redish, Louis & Harriet Ancel Professor, at Northwestern’s law school, are co-authors of a leading civil procedure book, "Civil Procedure: A Modern Approach."

In 1991 the Chicago firm of Pope & John Ltd. established a lecture series at the Northwestern University School of Law. Each year the Pope & John Lecture on Professionalism focuses on the many dimensions of a lawyer's professional responsibility, including legal ethics, public service, professional civility, pro bono representation and the standards of conduct.

Past speakers of the Pope & John Lecture have included Ken Feinberg, special master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund; Robert A. DuPuy, president of Major League Baseball; and Charles T. Wells, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida.
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