Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, advances in technology had begun to filter into the practice of law. Libraries lined with rows of books were already an endangered species. The pandemic has significantly accelerated these changes, compelling legal institutions not always known to be on the technological cutting-edge to rapidly embrace a suite of new changes. While certain aspects of legal practice will eventually return to pre-pandemic norms, many will not. Some of the changes that already seem likely to outlast the pandemic include virtual litigation tools, remote networking and recruiting, remote collaboration, and the increasing role of artificial intelligence. Taken together, these changes will have a major impact, not only on the practice of law but on the operation of the justice system as whole.

All of this has important implications for legal education. To fulfil our responsibility to best prepare students for the world of law that emerges when the pandemic mercifully subsides, law schools cannot simply hold our collective breath awaiting a return to a pre-pandemic normal that is unlikely to ever materialize. Instead, we must counter these far-reaching changes to the legal industry with meaningful and lasting adjustments of our own.

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