21st Century Law—Foreword

At the State Bar of Michigan 2014 Annual Meeting, I challenged participants to tackle the hardest problems facing the legal profession. The work of the 21st Century Practice Task Force is an ambitious and thought-provoking response to that challenge. I urge members of the bar to review the findings and recommendations with a sense of urgency because the long term health of our profession is at stake.

Engineering a comprehensive vision for the future of the legal profession is not an easy enterprise. With the benefit of hindsight, future generations may not appreciate what we perceive as bold, creative, or visionary ideas. Our successors in the legal profession might even think we stated the obvious, but if that is the result of our work, we shall have succeeded. Indeed, to the extent that the vision gets it right about what is possible and creates a path to make those possibilities a reality, having stated the obvious will be a badge of honor.

While I cannot pass judgment on any particular element of this work, I do note that several themes: client focus, collaboration, cost-savings, and convenience—reflect what the Supreme Court is applying in our own efforts within the court system to increase access, improve efficiency, and re-engineer our courts—all so we can be the best possible stewards of public resources.

I am so pleased that the 21st Century Practice Task Force has been inquisitive and open-minded. If its work product sparks a broad conversation about where the legal profession is headed and leads to wider acceptance of the need for change, then the best is certainly yet to come.


Robert P. Young Jr.
Chief Justice
Michigan Supreme Court