Julie Macfarlane – Champion of the Self-Represented (#7)

It’s really important that we understand that there are real people’s lives being affected by this crisis. It’s not just numbers. ~ Julie Macfarlane

Dr. Julie Macfarlane (@ProfJulieMac) is a recognized leader behind the idea that we should turn the attention of our justice system to the “real people” facing the challenges of access. As the Director of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project she has been heading up the charge to collect evidence directly from ordinary people confronted by justice challenges that can end up turning their lives upside down. 

Julie also has impassioned views about transforming the legal profession, and the way we educate tomorrow’s lawyers in law schools.  

On the subject of legal education, Julie’s story about her own path into academia is just epic. Trust me on this one: you don’t want to miss it. 

Julie’s books include The New Lawyer: How Clients are Transforming the Practice of Law (2nd edition 2017 UBC Press) and Islamic Divorce in North America : Choosing a Shari’a Path in a Secular Society (Oxford University Press 2012). Her forthcoming book From Grief to Action: Confronting Sexual Violence (Between the Lines Press) will be available in 2020. You can read more about it on her From Private Grief to Public Advocacy blog.

Topics Covered

  1. The path to legal academia
  2. Legal education
  3. Empirical and qualitative legal work
  4. Self-represented litigants
  5. Access to justice 
  6. The cost of legal representation
  7. Regulation of the legal profession

Listen to “7 Julie Macfarlane – Champion of the Self-Represented” on Spreaker.

The Quiz for this episode is here

Pre-approved by the Law Society of BC for 1 hour of CPD credits.

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Show Notes

How Julie describes her job 5:20

The aura surrounding law professors in Canada 7:20

What being a law professor means to Julie in terms of rejecting the current norms 8:00

Changing the system from the inside 8:15

Her path into legal academia 8:45

How she supports students who are finding their path into a legal career 15:22

Taking risks in your legal career to get what you want 21:15

Julie’s work with the National Self-Represented Litigants Project 21:55

Why she thinks there wasn’t much work done for SRLs before now 23:03

Julie’s empirical and qualitative legal work 29:45

High level numbers regarding self-represented litigants 32:20

What Julie still finds shocking in her self-representation work 32:24

Most people who don’t have a lawyer still really want to have one 37:03
SRLs feeling like outsiders 38:00

Immediate solutions vs structural changes to the justice system 39:05

Structural problems with the justice system 39:50

Expanding the scope of service providers and changing the way lawyers are regulated 44:00

Deregulation of legal services 45:00

Public perceptions of the lawyers-disciplining lawyers structure 48:53

Advice for lawyers who are on the other side of a file with a self-represented litigant 51:30

Advocating for a debate about deregulation and the public good 54:00

Saving the legal profession for good 56:40

If Julie had a week’s worth of work but only 3 hours to do it 57:20

Practices or hobbies 59:40

Getting outside 1:00:00

Advice for people wanting to learn more about her work 1:00:30

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants (2013) 1:01:00

Before my work in the law is done… 1:01:32

Favourite books in the last year: Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister and Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit 1:02:30

Jumping Off the Ivory Tower Podcast 1:03:21

BBC Brexit Podcasts 1:03:48 

The Guardian Podcasts 1:04:00

The Daily Podcast 1:04:00

From Private Grief to Public Advocacy blog 1:04:10

Julie’s Calls to Action 1:05:30

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