The Multi-Dimensional Lawyer and the Legal System

California Western School of Law envisions that the lawyer of the future will be multi-dimensional in role, skills, and mentality.  Lawyers, judges, court administrators, and legislators will need to broaden the personal, social, and economic contexts in which legal problems are understood.

The most traditional role of the lawyer–-in the legal system as well as in the rhetoric and image of lawyers themselves–-has been as a strong advocate.  California Western acknowledges the importance of this role and its associated skills, and continues to provide excellent training in advocacy and litigation procedures. 

Yet through its curriculum and through efforts undertaken by the NCPL, the Louis M. Brown Program in Preventive Law, and Center for Creative Problem Solving, new lawyers are being trained to prevent legal problems whrever possible, and to resolve creatively those problems that do arise.  

A Preventive Lawyer understands both client needs and the environment in which the client operates, so as to prevent problems from arising in the workplace, in the market, in health care, in financial planning, and in the use of natural resources. Proactive and preventive roles, skills, and mentalities are primarily addressed by this NCPL website.  The site also explores, however, broader understandings of Preventive Law.  The Preventive Lawyer can, for example, use law and legal procedures to help strengthen social and political institutions.  Judicial training, improved legal infrastructure, and better access to the legal system can enhance the Rule of Law, preventing potential problems of corruption, human rights violations, and civic unrest.  Designing courts to deal comprehensively with problems of stemming from addiction or that arise within families can prevent entrapment within destructive, recurring life patterns.  By demonstrating the skills and values of non-violent, rule-based problem solving, criminality and disregard for others may be prevented. 

For further explanation of this expanded vision for lawyers, click here to read Preventive Law and Creative Problem solving:  Multi-dimensional Lawyering by Thomas D. Barton and James M. Cooper.