One of the UK’s most prominent
lawyers, Dame Linda Dobbs, last night presented a lecture at London South Bank
University (LSBU) to an assembled crowd of students and legal professionals about
the changing legal landscape and the resultant challenges and opportunities facing
the legal profession.
Dame Linda presented her lecture,
entitled The Changing Legal Landscape,
as part of LSBU’s Inspired by Law: a
gallery of and for inspiring lawyers series which recognises inspiring
student-nominated lawyers for their dedication to human rights, the rule of law
and social justice both nationally and internationally.
In her address Dame Linda Dobbs described changes to the legal landscape
from a practical and practitioner’s point of view, highlighting the impact of
change for aspiring law students, current professionals and legal institutions
such as LSBU’s School of Law and Social Sciences who will all face new roles
and demands in the future.
She drew attention to the rise of global law firms
and cuts to legal aid, which present new challenges to lawyers working in
smaller city firms where more fee-paying work must now be undertaken. She also
suggested that conventional lawyers will not be as commonplace in the future as
they are now, due to increasing demand for bespoke lawyers in specialist areas.
“The general view, thanks to popular
culture, of lawyers representing or prosecuting criminals in a courtroom is
rarely what being a lawyer all is about. In fact, that’s only what a small
number of lawyers do,” he said. “We want to expand people’s
perceptions of the law and help them understand the good that lawyers can do,
especially in the areas of humanitarian and human rights law. Our goal is to instil in our students
a strong sense of social justice which they will then carry into their careers
as legal professionals and exposing them to inspiring people like Dame Linda
Dobbs is part of that.”
The lecture follows on from last
year’s inaugural Inspired by Law gallery, which saw 11 inspirational lawyers
recognised by students at LSBU.
Several of the world’s leading
lawyers, including Professor Akua Kuenyehia, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Diana Nammi
and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC attended the event to accept their awards and to
talk to students and others about their work. This will be annual event with
the next scheduled awards ceremony in November 2016.