College of Law Practice Management Announces 2011 InnovAction Award Winners

Global law firm and two law schools awarded for innovation and imagination
Aug. 9, 2011 - PRLog -- The College of Law Practice Management, an international organization that recognizes excellence in law practice management, today announced the recipients of the 2011 InnovAction Awards. The global law firm of Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP joins two law schools, The University of Miami School of Law and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, as recipients of the coveted 2011 InnovAction Awards.  

For the seventh straight year, the InnovAction Awards have recognized outstanding innovation in the delivery of legal services demonstrating to the legal community what can happen when passionate professionals, with big ideas and strong convictions, resolve to create effective change.

“The five InnovAction judges were greatly impressed by the groundbreaking ideas in the submissions from law firms, law schools and companies in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom,” said Jordan Furlong, Partner with Edge International and chair of the 2011 awards program. “The winning entries exemplify how bold ideas and innovation can be implemented and shared among various stakeholders including lawyers, their clients, academics, prospective law students and legal administrators.”
Here are the 2011 InnovAction Award-winning entries:

• Berwin Leighton Paisner, LLP (BLP) was selected for their Lawyers On Demand (LOD) initiative which began in 2007 after BLP observed two important issues affecting the UK Legal market:  (1) legal services clients are wanting to find a way to stretch their budgets further and (2) many lawyers are looking for greater flexibility and autonomy in their work.  BLP created LOD to address these issues.  LOD challenged the traditional models of legal service delivery and brought talented freelance lawyers to work directly with clients. LOD lawyers work at the client office or their home office but are nevertheless vetted and supported by BLP know-how and resources, making the LOD service unique in the market.  LOD began as a pilot in 2007 with eight lawyers. Since then, it has increased ten-fold in size and gained a fantastic list of clients.

• The University of Toronto Faculty of Law was selected for its Internationally Trained Lawyers Program (ITLP).When immigrating to Canada, one of the biggest challenges internationally-trained lawyers (ITLs) face is the lack of access to opportunities to receive practical, hands-on experience in the Canadian legal environment, particularly during the lengthy accreditation and licensing process. In recognizing the limited opportunities for ITLs, the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law created a bridging program for ITLs who wish to practice law in Ontario.  The ITLP is a comprehensive 10-month program to help participants obtain their license and secure full-time professional employment. The program includes intensive academic, cultural fluency and career development classroom sessions, designed to support international lawyers.

• The University of Miami School of Law in partnership with five other law schools received an InnovAction Award for their LawWithoutWalls initiative.  LawWithoutWalls is a part-virtual, collaborative academic model that unites students, faculty, practitioners, and entrepreneurs from around the world to innovate legal education and practice. It’s designed to help those engaged in the education and practice of law to embrace the impact of our changing world.  LawWithoutWalls exemplifies what 21st century education can be.  Students are not educated on-line in the same old way.  Instead, technology is utilized to create an entirely new educational experience, a platform for interdisciplinary interchange and community.

"Future survival of a vital and contributing legal profession now depends on the innovative, unstuffy thinking of a few individuals and organizations around the world. It is the mission of The College of Law Practice Management to shine a spotlight on extraordinary thinking and impressive implementation to illustrate what can be accomplished when firms dare to take a risk.” said College Past President and InnovAction judge Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, principal of Astin Tarlton and co-publisher of Attorney at Work.

In addition to Ms. Tarlton, the other InnovAction award judges included Ida Abbott, principal, Ida Abbott Consulting; Maggie Callicrate, COO, Pierce Atwood, LLP; Thomas S. Clay, consultant, Altman Weil, Inc.; and Tony Williams, principal, Jomati Consultants LLP.

The awards will be presented on Friday, October 28, at a special session during the 2011 Futures Conference, held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the College of Law Practice Management in Chicago, IL.

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The College of Law Practice Management (the College) is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1994 to honor and recognize distinguished law practice management professionals, to set standards of achievement for others in the profession, and to fund and assist projects that enhance the highest quality of law practice management. The College and its Fellows inspire excellence and innovation in law practice management by:
• Honoring extraordinary achievement
• Developing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge
• Stimulating innovation in the delivery of legal services
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