Stephen S. Wu-- SL: Legal Writer,, (408) 573-5737, 50 W. San Fernando St., Ste. 750, San Jose, CA 95113

Bar Leadership Call to Action

Two weeks ago, I spoke at the Bar Leadership Institute at the American Bar Association. The BLI is an annual meeting that brings together presidents-elect of state and local bar associations from around the U.S.

I had an opportunity to present to these bar leaders about changes to come in the kind of law we as lawyers will practice in upcoming years. I left the group with a call to action to start a national dialogue concerning science and technology law issues. I will, as part of this effort, education bar leaders about virtual worlds and the legal issues surrounding them.

For a copy of my letter to the bar leaders attending the conference, click here.
I told the bar leaders that someday, 3D Internet sites and applications will become as common as 2D Internet sites and applications. In the longer term, we are taking baby steps along the road from computer interfaces that display information on 2D monitors to full immersion virtual reality. By that, I mean virtual reality that is so good, you would not be able to tell physical reality from the computer generated one. We are not there yet, but the technology for displays and sound is getting better all the time. And researchers are working on interfaces to provide computer generated touch and smell inputs as well.

I asked the question of whether or not the legal profession is prepared today for rapid changes occurring today that may accelerate in the future. I think the answer is no. So, I think the right thing to do is start a national dialogue of lawyers from all over the country and eventually the world to start talking about changes in science and technology and how they have affected law practice. One thought might be to have a separate track to meet at the Bar Leadership Institute each year. More generally, I think we should have a group of people from bar associations around the country to compare notes and share information.

In any case, we need to start talking. I see lawyers all over the country struggling to try to keep up with electronic discovery. The same thing will happen with other technologies. If we have rapid advances in virtual worlds and virtual reality applications, lawyers will have difficulty coming to grips with the legal issues they will begin to face. I think the answer to this problem is starting to talk now to prepare our profession for the future.

If you are a lawyer, and belong to a state or local bar association with people that might want to join this discussion, please read and pass along my letter to the Bar Leadership Institute, and put me in touch with people in your bar association who want to start this group discussion. I reprint my contact information below to pass along to your colleagues. Thank you.

Stephen Wu
Chair-Elect, ABA Section of Science & Technology Law
(650) 917-8045