The Leo Justice Lab
The legal profession is undergoing rapid change. Technological advancement, changing client demands and new conceptual paradigms are disrupting and transforming the way we work. There are growing calls to evaluate the legal system’s effectiveness in meeting the needs of society.
It’s recently been identified that around 80% of Australians cannot access effective legal representation because they cannot afford a private lawyer or qualify for legal aid (the Justice Gap).
Embracing this rapid change, has led us to establish the Leo Justice Lab – designed to equip graduates for the future of law and work, with innovative methods and mindsets that can solve real-world legal problems.
The Adaptability Quotient
To thrive in today’s constantly changing landscape, emerging lawyers need to have the mental agility to face new and unfamiliar circumstances and challenges.
As the name implies, the Leo Justice Lab is experimental in nature. This enables graduates to explore with curiosity, respond to “failure” as feedback and adjust accordingly, and embrace problems as opportunities.
The specific methods we teach are Design Thinking (both in the form of a facilitated workshop and asynchronous resources) and Project Management.
The mindsets include creativity, empathy, curiosity, adaptability, critical thinking and overcoming bias, challenging assumptions, collaboration, digital awareness, and ethics.
Connecting to the profession, and each other
A key benefit of the Leo Justice Lab is that it provides graduates with an opportunity to collaborate with each other and the profession.
The graduates are tasked with working on solutions to a problem presented by an organisation working in or around the law. They hear about the problem directly from the organisation, building both awareness and relationships. They are then allocated to small groups and guided in all aspects of collaboration. This ranges from leveraging diverse perspectives and approaches to overcoming differences and reaching harmonious outcomes.
Midway through the program, the graduates present their first prototype to the organisation for feedback. This gives them on opportunity to further clarify their thinking and refine the solution. Everyone then returns in their penultimate week to “pitch” their final idea to both the organisation and a panel of judges.
This model not only benefits the graduates, but also the organisation, as it contributes meaningfully to the community through the education of emerging lawyers. There is also the potential for graduates’ ideas to be implemented and make a real-world impact on access-to-justice.
The skills developed during this program – such as empathy, overcoming bias and collaboration – will help create the forward-thinking lawyers of tomorrow.
Our graduates will be empowered to thrive in an increasingly complex and connected world, capable of not only forging a successful career, but also facilitating positive change and innovation across the entire profession.
Learn more about the Leo Justice Lab here
Liz is a lawyer and mentor at Leo Cussen and leads the Leo Justice Lab