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Feb 10

Philip Howard at TED on Four Ways to Fix a Broken Legal System

It’s not often you see a corporate lawyer getting a standing ovation, much less seeing one at TED getting a standing ovation. Philip Howard, a partner at Covington & Burling, gives a compelling speech about a 4-pronged approach to fixing a society paralyzed by CYA-syndrome.

However, as important as identifying the right course of action is, the trick is, as with so many things, in the execution. The legal system is something which is ingrained in the very culture and fabric of a society – consider that in the US, there is reportedly 1 lawyer per 250-350 people, but in Japan there is about 1 lawyer per about 8,200 people. It’s not because no one wants to be a lawyer in Japan (on the contrary, bengoshi are highly respected, and until recent years, bar passage rates were at the 2-3% mark), it’s because the Japanese handles disputes differently to Americans (and that’s what the legal system is – a dispute resolution mechanism of last resort). Now that I think of it, it might also be the reason why the Japanese can get away with things like this. Accordingly, widesweeping change to the legal system comes neither easily, nor quickly. It either happens gradually, or if it happens quickly it’s in response to a crisis. Still, nothing wrong with daring to dream.

  7:23pm  •  Law  •   •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment