Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


John Toulmin, Queen's Counsel, was a student of Professor William Bishop when he attended the U-M Law School as a foreign Ford Foundation Fellow and Fulbright Scholar in 1964-65. As the president of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Community (CCBE), he returned to Ann Arbor as the William W. Bishop Jr. Fellow to give the 1993 Bishop Memorial Lecture on the international practice of law. This article is based on his lecture.

In 1965, it did not make sense to talk about a worldwide legal profession. There were many different legal professions which, in the spirit of those times, had little need to harmonise their rules or consider what effect changes in the rules would have on the pattern of practice in other countries. Indeed, until the last few years there was, except for a few specialists, little practical need for ordinary lawyers to study either the law or law practice in other countries.

What was until recently an academic pursuit of the few is now recognised as being of great practical importance to all of us. It is clear that we now have a worldwide legal profession and that it is developing at a considerable pace. Lawyers provide services for clients; clients respond to and take advantage of changes in the political and economic situation and in technology, thus driving change in the profession. In order to understand what our worldwide profession requires, it is necessary to look at the extent of the changes that have taken place.