The New Normal and The Challenge to Legal Education Roundtable

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | Wolf Law Building 

Over the last 5 years, in the fallout of the Great Recession, the legal profession has entered the era of the New Normal.  Notably, a series of forces related to technological change, globalization, and the pressure to do more with less (in both corporate America and law firms) has permanently changed the legal services industry.  As one article put it, firms are cutting back on hiring “in order to increase efficiency, improve profit margins, and reduce client costs.”

On the legal education side of the equation, the New Normal means that some of the traditional sources of hiring as well as institutions that handled attorney training (namely, law firms) are playing an increasingly reduced role.  Law schools, too, are thus facing the “do more with less challenge,” as there are now non-traditional competencies that students need to develop to be successful. 

At Colorado Law, we have developed our Action Plan, outlining our basic strategies to provide a worthwhile return on investment for our law students.  That challenge involves both managing the costs (for starters, we have held tuition constant and increased scholarships) and increasing the value of the Colorado law education.  In particular, Colorado Law is focusing on the key range of competencies we need to develop effective and entrepreneurial legal professionals.

For the legal profession to thrive in the New Normal, law firms, corporations, and other employers need to work collaboratively with legal educators, something that was all too rare in the Old Normal.  Notably, such a collaborative effort is critical to developing the key principles that can guide law schools facing the “more for less” challenge and seeking to help students develop the range of competencies necessary for today’s multi-disciplinary practitioners and creative problem solvers.  To help jump-start this conversation, this Colorado Law Roundtable brought together a group of thought leaders to discuss the key competencies that students need to develop to find employment opportunities (and often non-traditional ones) as well as the best strategies for developing, measuring, and screening for those competencies.  


  • Rich Baer, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Liberty Media Corporation and Liberty Interactive Corporation
  • David Bennett, Dean’s Office Fellow and Startup Colorado Executive Director, Colorado Law
  • Brad Bernthal, Associate Professor of Law, Colorado Law
  • Connie Brenton, Chief of Staff/Director of Legal Operations, NetApp
  • Deborah Cantrell, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Programs, Colorado Law
  • Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • R. Stanton Dodge, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, DISH Network LLC
  • Mark Fogg, General Counsel, COPIC
  • Dan Fredrickson, Attorney, Kendall, Koenig & Oelsner PC
  • Marci Fulton, Assistant Dean for Outreach, Engagement, and Alumni Relations, Colorado Law
  • Christopher Gaddis, Head of HR, JBS USA Holdings, Inc.
  • Hugh Gottschalk, Partner and President, Wheeler, Trigg & O’Donnell
  • Bill Henderson, Professor of Law, Maurer School of Law
  • Roxanne Jensen, J.D., Managing Director, Catapult Growth Partners
  • Daniel Martin Katz, Associate Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law
  • David Kendall, Partner, Kendall, Koenig & Oelsner PC
  • Whiting Leary, Assistant Dean of Students, Colorado Law
  • Paul Lippe, Founder and CEO, Legal OnRamp
  • Jason Lynch, Partner, Reilly Pozner LLP
  • Jason Mendelson, Managing Director, Foundry Group
  • Randal S. Milch, Executive Vice President—Public Policy and General Counsel, Verizon Communications Inc.
  • Bill Mooz, Visiting Scholar in Residence, Colorado Law
  • Helen Norton, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law, Colorado Law
  • Bob Novick, Co-Managing Partner, WilmerHale
  • Paul Ohm, Associate Professor of Law, Colorado Law
  • Scott Peppet, Professor of Law, Colorado Law
  • Kim Rivera, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, DaVita, Inc.
  • Todd Rogers, Assistant Dean for Career Development, Colorado Law
  • Don J. Rosenberg, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Qualcomm Incorporated
  • John Ryan, Chief Legal Officer, Level 3 Communications, LLC
  • Jane Salance, Director of Legal Affairs, Biodesix, Inc.
  • Harry Surden, Associate Professor of Law, Colorado Law
  • John Walsh, U.S. Attorney, District of Colorado
  • Phil Weiser, Dean, Colorado Law
  • Nicholas White, General Counsel, JBS USA Holdings, Inc.