It has always been a pleasure for me, more than a professional obligation, to communicate with my students and young colleagues to explore the opportunities and challenges facing young legal professionals today that are different from those I encountered at the start of my career. I provided them with guidance and support and observed their progress, noticing how skillful they were in finding their own paths.
Long before Ron Padgett’s “How to Be Perfect” became one of my favorites, I was well aware that generalized prescriptive advice is rarely helpful. Whenever possible, I mentioned that all kinds of decisions and plans, including professional ones, should be made based on personal circumstances, goals, expectations, and priorities.
The face-to-face interactions I had with students while teaching transformed into digital correspondence as I carried on the path of private practice. Despite this change, my passion has remained the same: to help law students and young lawyers improve their (continuous) learning of legal matters and to encourage them to widen their horizons, especially their global professional vision. I have always tried to assist them in creating a blueprint for their professional lives in line with the changes to legal practice and its demands.
In this setting, after having spent nearly two decades in Turkish legal academia as a tenure-track faculty member of Istanbul University Faculty of Law, I had a chance to return as a visiting scholar to Boston University, where I received my LL.M. degree. For my research, I spent over a year observing classes and faculty meetings as well as attending conferences, book and author events, research, and information literacy conferences, and much more. I was not surprised to see the legal industry’s changing trends and the ways in which legal education had evolved since I completed my LL.M. degree. Thus, I started to re-study Turkey’s legal education and the legal profession. Additionally, I was impressed by the quantity and scope of the research and publications that focused on how globalization has reshaped the legal-services market and how the legal profession is being transformed accordingly. This transformation in the US, as well as various analyses based on empirical studies demonstrating the shift of the legal work in other emerging economies, led me to learn more about and contribute to this meaningful but challenging dialogue.
Ironically, I began receiving ever-increasing messages from my former students from different backgrounds. Some were about to graduate; some had already graduated, and many had started serving their internships; some had already gotten their licenses and had started practicing. Most of them wanted specific information rather than instructions. They asked to hear stories and context to make up their minds. Their concern was common—they scrutinized “the future lawyer” concept and wanted to discover the critical challenges they might confront as young Turkish lawyers. They wanted to learn how to prepare for the key challenges they would face. In other words, these young professionals were eager to identify the skill sets required to compete on the global level. They had already realized that merely knowing substantial law would not qualify them to deliver the demanded legal services in the international legal marketplace.
This project came into existence with the encouragement of this conscious new generation of law students and lawyers with the intent of being beneficial for them.
Through this project, I intend to:
• Categorize the concerns and issues that constitute the common denominator under systematic headings;
• Compile up-to-date information, developments, views, and experiences on these issues;
• Put them in writing, as I do, when replying to the e-mails that I received from my students and young colleagues;
• Create content such as audio, visual, video recording, graphics, questionnaires, e-learning, webinars, interviews etc. as applicable;
• Present these contents in a digital environment that will be partially interactive;
• Host guest writers, interviewees and other content creators with valuable knowledge and expertise to add a different perspective to the project;
• Enrich the content by letting the voices of law students and young legal professionals be heard through the interactive content.
Although the abovementioned communication produced a rich list of questions and topics to be discussed, I chose not to make a limited list. Instead, I planned a directory that will be continuously formed by adding post-related concepts. In this context, by clicking each category in the directory under the Categories heading on the Post Page, all topic-related posts can be accessed. I hope that these new questions, problems, issues, and posts will be sources of inspiration. I want to emphasize that posts will be titled with the author/content creator and their posting date as it is possible to have multiple posts with different viewpoints or subtitles under the same category.
I thank my students and young colleagues. Their questions, comments, and insights challenged me to rethink and clarify my vision for our profession's future through the years. Without their inspiration and encouragement, it would not be possible for me to launch this project.
I hope this project raises the awareness of law students and beginning lawyers on the current and future needs of legal professionals and guides them on their journey to figure out how they can stay ahead of their competition. I also hope that these posts are useful to anyone interested in the change of not only legal education but also the legal profession and the developments and impact on forming the "future lawyer."