The future, Yoda of Star Wars fame once said, is “difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.”
But that doesn’t stop anyone from trying to predict or analyze it. That includes us.
Welcome to the Law Tribune’s annual Forecast issue, one of the best-read editions of our newspaper each year. Why? Probably because it’s so different. For 51 weeks, we largely report on what’s already happened. Here, we ask more than a dozen experts to look ahead, and offer insight into legal issues, cases and trends that are likely to find their way into our reporting over the next 12 months.
On these pages, the state’s chief justice discusses future ideas for boosting pro bono efforts. A top employment lawyer predicts passage of workplace safety litigation. A scholar and longtime judge looks at how neuroscience is playing a growing role in legal thinking.
Below is the full list of predictions.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: Newly formed team to focus on all types of fraud

As the chief civil legal officer of the state, my job is to represent the people of the state of Connecticut to protect the public interest. The Office of Attorney General also serves as legal counsel to all state agencies. My staff has done outstanding work in 2012 and those efforts will continue in 2013 as we focus on our critical missions: representing and vigorously advocating for the interests of the state and its citizens; ensuring that state government acts within the letter and spirit of the law; protecting public resources for present and future generations; preserving and enhancing the quality of life of all our citizens and safeguarding the rights of our most vulnerable citizens.

JUDICIAL BRANCH: Pro bono initiatives critical to addressing court crisis

We first want to take this opportunity to thank the bar for its commitment to helping those individuals who need an attorney but who are unable to afford one. Perhaps you reduced your fees for a parent who needed assistance in a custody dispute. Or, perhaps you put in extra hours without charge to help a returning veteran. Or maybe you have taken on cases completely pro bono. Whichever way, you have made a difference and your contributions are deeply appreciated.


SOLO ATTORNEYS: Solos should seek ways to stand out in cluttered legal marketplace

“Branding? As in a hot iron and livestock? What does that have to do with my law practice?” While not the actual response I receive when I use the wording “branding” and law practice in the same sentence, it might as well be. As solo and small firm practitioners carve out a marketing and promotion budget for 2013, putting a little thought into re-defining and re-designing your brand may imprint your legal presence in a saturated industry.


ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Stronger neutrals bringing muscle to arbitration proceedings

As we all know, the two major components of Alternative Dispute Resolution are arbitration and mediation. Each is being affected by a major trend which could change how we approach our practice in these fields.

SCIENCE AND THE LAW: Brain research could soon reshape some legal concepts

We are in the second decade following the “Decade of the Brain,” which Congress designated to describe the national research focus for the 1990s. President George H.W. Bush proclaimed at the time: “A new era of discovery is dawning in brain research.”

FEDERALIST SOCIETY: Municipal elections will reveal ideological diversity in state

The chorus is loud and getting louder. Citizens throughout this country and our state claim that Connecticut will no longer support those policies associated with “conservatism.”

LEGAL TECHNOLOGY: BYOD trend raises security, discovery concerns

The upcoming year will present lawyers with familiar but more pressing issues — and bring faster, shinier, more convenient technology. Not all of the technology developments for next year will be bright for lawyers. There are some great gizmos and technology to make us more effective. But, there are challenges for us to meet.

EMPLOYMENT LAW: Newtown shooting likely to raise workplace safety issues.

So, last year, I brought out my trusted Magic 8-Ball to make my 2012 predictions. Looking back on those predictions, it did pretty well. It’s only flaw was suggesting that new National Labor Relations Board notice rules would go into effect in 2012; a court injunction prevented that from happening.


LAW FIRMS: Pleasing existing clients is as important as finding new ones

Well, we’re still in it. The “Great Recession” is undergoing a painfully slow death. Yet, our polling of law firms around the state and the country indicates that law firms are doing reasonably well by learning to do more with less.

CRIMINAL LAW: Judges, bar need to rein in ‘maverick’ prosecutors.

It is often said that our criminal justice system may not be perfect, but it is the best the world has to offer. The boast presupposes that our system affords individuals true due process and embraces the ideals of fairness, humanity and righteousness.

CONNECTICUT BAR ASSOCIATION: Leaders looking to make committees, sections more effective

The Connecticut Bar Association is looking ahead to the new year with a positive outlook, as we continue to work on many issues that affect the members of the bar and the citizens of the State of Connecticut.

LGBT LAW: Same-sex marriage to have its day in U.S. Supreme Court

2012 was a banner year for LGBT rights. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington State in February and couples won the right to marry in Maryland and Maine by way of ballot referendums in November. Minnesota voters struck down a proposed amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in that state. President Barack Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage.

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Gun issues, juvenile sentencing good bets for debate

Just like everyone in our state, I was horrified by the cold-blooded shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The pain we feel for the community of Newtown is overwhelming, and we continue to keep the families of those who lost loved ones in our thoughts and prayers. We must also look ahead to make sure that such an unthinkable act of violence does not ever happen again.