How Many Lawyers Does It Take to Change the World? All of Them

When things break down, lawyers often get the first phone call. Divorce, bankruptcy, IP theft, corporate missteps – when formerly solid foundations begin to crumble, lawyers swoop in like superheroes, wielding intelligent brawn to protect their clients against those who would take advantage of any crack in the armor. It’s a simple reactive relationship, born of necessity. People call lawyers not because they want to, but because they have to.

But why must lawyers’ role be so narrowly defined? Do people only view lawyers as the antidote to conflict – called upon only to avoid or manage disputes? Is that how lawyers view themselves?

What if, instead of specializing in managing and guarding against fallout, the role of lawyers in society was more proactive and creative? What if lawyers used their knowledge and body of experience to create a framework so that disputes didn’t happen in the first place? Better yet, what if lawyers could help foster partnerships and connections that create new possibilities, help things grow and make the pie bigger for all?  What if lawyers spent their time truly creating value rather than simply protecting against its loss?

Many lawyers feel that their ability to make an impact of this kind as lawyers is limited. Some leave the practice and pursue business and consulting roles or judicial and legislative service as ways to truly make an impact. But that can’t be the only answer. Lawyers have enormous power, which they use daily to effect change for their clients. There is no lasting change in business or society that doesn’t in some way involve a lawyer.

Broadening their view of themselves in the world would help lawyers recognize their potential to serve a greater purpose – a purpose that centers around defining the ways in which we can live and work together for a greater common good rather than one centered around picking up the pieces when things dissolve or planning for future pitfalls. Lawyers could become the architects for some of the greatest innovations in our society. What could we all gain if this were the case? Let us know what you think below.