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'Crazy Ideas' Welcome: Inside Orrick's Plan to Build an Innovation Culture | Legaltech News
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has worked to make innovation a fundamental part of its brand in recent years.

It can point to successes along the way: In December, The American Lawyer honored Orrick as an innovation leader at its first industry awards, citing the firm’s legal technology venture Orrick Labs. But in embracing innovation, the firm has been forced to confront the risk-aversion that’s fundamental to the practice of law.
“People are so conservative about what can be done,” said Orrick chief talent officer Siobhan Handley. Advances and breakthroughs tend to require enduring failures and embracing uncertainty—pretty much the opposite of what lawyers strive for.

“We’re rules-following individuals,” Handley said.
One strategy for trying to change the mindset of attorneys across the firm has been a program, launched last June, that allows associates 50 hours of creditable time a year towards innovation projects. Orrick isn’t alone in the idea: Reed Smith piloted a similar project in 2017 for a limited number of associates and removed a cap on the number of projects that would be approved in 2018.

While the Orrick associates interested in participating also have to put together a proposal, chief innovation officer Wendy Curtis emphasized that the bar is not high.
innovation  firms  culture 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
BCLP Reboots Service Delivery Arm Following Lawyers on Demand Sale | Legaltech News
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has reorganized its multi-pronged service delivery business, with a new entity to launch this year.

The new service, called BCLP Cubed, will integrate three arms of the firm’s delivery systems – complex legal advice, volume legal services, and legal operations support – into one.
It will be led by partner Neville Eisenberg as CEO, while chief innovation officer Katie DeBord will head the service’s product development team.

The new platform will bring together the firm’s volume delivery teams in Manchester and St. Louis, and initially be made up of 150 staff, according to Eisenberg.
He told’s Legal Week: “We plan on scaling that up and adding to that team as demand for these services grows.”

He added that the project had been under development for the last nine months and is due to formally launch in September.

Formerly a commercial litigation partner at legacy Bryan Cave, DeBord said the firms discussed how to combine their respective volume delivery teams when they merged last year.

Speaking to The American Lawyer, she said: “We found that we had all the makings for a full platform that could deliver streams of work through the life cycle of the matter.

“Clients are in a situation now where they are delegating certain work to alternative providers, and other types of work to technical providers. We said ‘Why can’t we bring that all together for clients?’”

With the implementation of BCLP Cubed, the firm aims to standardize and scale up its delivery systems in a bid to cut costs for their clients while still providing efficient high-quality services.

Eisenberg was managing partner of legacy firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) when the firm launched its alternative delivery service Lawyers on Demand (LOD) in 2007.
innovation  subsidiaries  managedlegal  flex  firms 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
Eversheds Sutherland Launches Its Own ALSP With $127M Revenue Target | Legaltech News
Eversheds Sutherland is creating its own global alternative legal service provider, joining a trend among large firms with an international presence.

The firm announced Wednesday that it plans to launch a new entity to house its advisory, interim resourcing and managed service offerings, called Konexo, using existing teams in Europe and Asia. ES Agile, the firm’s flexible lawyering entity, has also been folded into the new business.
According to Eversheds Sutherland, the advisory, interim resourcing and managed service segment already accounts for £40 million, or about $50.77 million, of annual revenue. It encompasses three teams, known as ES Consulting, Corporate Secretarial and Volume Insolvency, which together saw business grow by 38% last year, according to the firm.

The goal is to continue growing that number, the firm said, to at least £100 million, or nearly $127 million, in annual revenue. Eversheds Sutherland’s global revenue for 2018, reported in February, was $1.175 billion (£900m).
“This is in response to what we’re seeing as a clear client demand,” Eversheds Sutherland co-CEO Lee Ranson said in an interview Wednesday. There was “a constant theme” in conversations with clients around using technology and moving away from the traditional legal model for “repeatable-type” legal work, he said.
newlaw  subsidiaries  managedlegal  firms  innovation 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
Law firms are investing in innovation through venture capital services
Home Daily News Law firms are investing in innovation through…
Law firms are investing in innovation through venture capital services

JUNE 21, 2019, 6:30 AM CDT


Ari Kaplan.

Ari Kaplan spoke with Alex Nwaka, a principal with Touchdown Ventures, which provides venture capital services on behalf of leading corporations.

Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your background and your role at Touchdown Ventures.

Alex Nwaka: I started my career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley and UBS in New York City covering the energy industry, went to Columbia Business School and then spent some time at Virgin Management, Richard Branson’s family office, performing a combination of venture capital, private equity and corporate development work. After Virgin, I worked as a private equity consultant at Estee Lauder Cos. on their new business development team, helping to reorganize their M&A strategy. I joined Touchdown four and a half years ago as the first full-time hire. In the last year and a half to two years, I have focused on enterprise software and the future of professional services. Legal tech is among the categories on which I spend my time.

Ari Kaplan: How does the company’s model of providing venture capital as a service work?

Alex Nwaka: We believe in strong collaboration with our corporate partners, where each party brings a valuable perspective. Touchdown brings the venture capital expertise, which includes sourcing, diligence, deal execution, deal management, including board representation and commercial relationships, through an exit. We also handle some of the reporting and monitoring of the portfolio as well. Our corporate partners bring deep industry expertise from their vertical or the category in which they operate. Together, we make a complete team combining the VC and operating knowledge.

Ari Kaplan: What are the advantages?

Alex Nwaka: We collectively can bring significant strategic value to our portfolio companies either as customers, channel partners or as a general sounding board for go-to-market strategy and even product development in the broadest sense. We are more than just a check to the founders and entrepreneurs that we invest in. We really try to bring strategic value.

Ari Kaplan: What types of organizations are investing in legal tech?

Alex Nwaka: We are finding most often that law firms are one of the key constituencies investing in legal tech. Corporate legal departments and GCs within Fortune 500 corporations are also investing in legal tech. And, to a much lesser extent, institutional venture funds are playing around in the ecosystem as well.
innovation  firms  clementi 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
Are Incubators Only For Big Law? Austrian Firms Show Collaboration Is The Answer – Artificial Lawyer
By pooling resources between seven firms, and then bringing in the support of local universities and other bodies, the law firms (see below), which include major local brands such as Dorda, Schönherr and Wolf Theiss, have been able to put together what they may not have been able to do on their own.

For example, although Dorda is a well-known and leading firm in Austria and the region, it has less than 100 lawyers in total – and devoting fee earner time to creating and running an incubator would be a strain. But, if you combine a firm of this size with the firms below, then they have the resources of a far larger business.

Although the LTHV doesn’t appear to have gone down that road yet, another opportunity here could be to pool anonymised contract data to help NLP/ML start-ups – something that Singapore is planning to do.

Overall, this collaborative approach could be a model for law firms in other parts of the world that also want to explore working directly with start-ups and scale-up legal tech companies, but that feel limited in terms of resources. 
innovation  firms  incubator  r&d  collaboration 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
More Than Law: Is The Traditional Big Law Model Over? – Artificial Lawyer
But, what if a leading commercial ‘law firm’ now had to do more than law to prosper and keep clients happy? 

And, it’s worth saying that just because we now have ALSPs, LPOs, law companies and the Big Four in the market, it does not automatically mean the traditional model that has existed for centuries is over. They can all co-exist in parallel. One species’ evolution does not mean every other species has to evolve as well to survive. Nature doesn’t work like that.

Also, just because a number of law firms in the UK have become Alternative Business Structures (ABS) under the Legal Services Act and started to make a handful of other professionals into equity partners, also does not mean the trad model is over. A CFO and some accountants made into partners, or even a public listing, does not make the overall business model of a firm that different in terms of what it sells.

It’s also worth saying that the majority of the ‘true’ ABSs in the UK that are genuinely offering a wide combination of law and other professional services, such as property surveying and accounting, are very small firms. In fact, the majority of the now 100s of ABSs in the UK are very, very small, no matter what they offer. [Note: England & Wales has around 10,000 registered ‘law firms’, most under £10m in revenue.] We are talking about the largest commercial legal brands here, i.e. what is called ‘Big Law’ in the US.

The trad model is only really over when the leading firms, in growing numbers, invest significantly in offering more than law.

Also this is not about ownership structures, but rather what is made by that business and sold to the clients.
innovation  firms  business  models 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
Forum Magazine: A Safe Space for Innovation — Law Firms Creating “Captive ALSPs” | Legal Executive Institute
oday’s market for alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) has become larger, quickly growing and more broadly adopted by clients looking for more nimble or lower cost options to law firms alone.

In response to clients’ needs, ALSPs are leveraging different business models, emerging in all shapes and sizes from the Big Four accounting firms to small, tech-savvy disruptors, according to a new report on the sector from Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, in partnership with Georgetown University Law School’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, and legal research firm Acritas.

One of these new formations — captive ALSPs — has seen law firms seek to regain their competitive edge in the market by essentially creating in-house ALSPs that can allow the firm to pitch a wider range of services to clients and offer oversight of the work while keeping costs low. Indeed, this was the first year the report measured the impact of captive ALSPs, and it found that the new model was making “headway among law firms of all sizes in both the US and the UK.” Further, when captives are included in ALSP market totals, “the scope of the alternative legal services model and market expands significantly,” the report notes.

Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Acritas, said captive ALSPs were included in the report totals this year because they’ve grown very quickly and are becoming quite commonplace within the market. “Among the large law firms, if they don’t already have an in-house ALSP, then they are looking at having one,” Hart Shepherd says. As part of the report, Acritas conducted telephone interviews with representatives of 35 ALSPs located in the US, UK, and other countries. While law firms were not willing to release the revenue or growth figures for their captive units, some noted that the units had staff that numbered in the hundreds of employees.
newlaw  subsidiaries  r&d  innovation  firms 
13 hours ago by JordanFurlong
BARREL | Creative & Digital Marketing Agency in NYC
nice little menu on the side:
- right hand hamburger
- neat hover animation
- page content slides left
- links slide in from right, too, but as a panel on top of page content
design  firms 
28 days ago by tylerpaige
Firms Halted Innovation Efforts in 2018 at Their Own Risk, Report Finds | The American Lawyer
But a good year does not fundamentally alter the economics of the legal market. Seeger and Clay found that firms have relaxed in their efforts to improve legal and work processes and lower costs. Regardless of a recession, Seeger said that firms must continue to differentiate themselves from the pack or risk losing out in the long term.

“It’s still a highly competitive market. Clients are very aware that they have choices,” said Seeger. “We are advising firms to not get complacent but to focus on long-term stability and competitiveness.”

The study found that only 54% of law firm leaders say that their firm’s urgency to change is higher now than it was two years ago. And only 22% of firms made a serious effort to change work processes.

The authors wrote that it is imperative that law firms continue to value change. Firms should take a look at their legal operations—pricing, staffing, technology utilization and knowledge management—to appease clients who want to see lower legal costs, they said. Leadership development and collaboration can help reduce a culture of feet-dragging.

“As has been the case for years, law firms’ success will be driven by their ability to meet the changing requirements of the marketplace,” the authors wrote. “Firms that can craft smart, client-focused strategies and execute on them rapidly are likely to achieve competitive advantages.”

strategy  recession  firms 
8 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Data Snapshot: The Path to Big Law Equity Partnership Is Narrowing |
Data analyzed by ALM Intelligence, a division of parent company ALM, shows that among partners at firms ranking in the Am Law 100 index, the percentage of equity partners has been steadily contracting for almost two decades.
That decline comes even while many firms have seen positive financial performance. The Am Law 100’s average revenue per lawyer was up 4.2 percent in 2018 to almost $1 million—the fastest year-on-year growth since 2010. The average Am Law 100 equity partner brought in $1.88 million in profits in 2018, up 6.5 percent from the previous year.

David Altuna, a client adviser at Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group, told The American Lawyer last month that maintaining or shrinking the equity partner tier has become a trend—and that some firms are seeing an “upward lift” in profits from cutting partnership ranks.

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“I think this is just an arms race,” said Nicholas Bruch, a director and analyst at ALM Intelligence. “In the old days where most firms had collegial partnerships where all you had to do was work long enough and you got into the partnership, what that meant was that some people were being subsidized. ”

“ As soon as one or two firms decided that they weren’t going to do that, then everyone basically had to go to that world,” Bruch added.

The American Lawyer categorizes “non-equity partners” as those who receive more than half of their compensation on a fixed-income basis.
partners  firms  compensation 
9 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Who Does Your Law FIrm Serve? - Adam Smith, Esq.
I said a moment ago that we worry about firms’ perseverance and diligence in executing every material element of a plan, but I wasn’t quite leveling with you.  If other priorities are expressed–greater collaboration, disinvestment in particular practice areas, more authority and accountability given to business professionals (for example)–then yes, we hope the firm will be conscientious, thorough, and determined in pursuing them, but the “clients first” bothers us in a way we’ve struggled to articulate for some time.  Now we think we have a hypothesis that might clarify this.  Here’s Part 1 of the hypothesis:

Many lawyers do not understand that they’re in a client service business.

They may, and usually do, pay it lip service, but in their core they don’t act it out.
firms  partners  clients  purpose 
10 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Machine Learning-Enabled Judgment: Baker McKenzie on the Law Firm of the Future
For a global firm with 78 offices across 46 markets, these challenges are particularly acute — and we are doing a lot of work internally to come up with solutions. For example, looking at different encryption models to help with getting client data in the cloud, and longer term projects to get the enormous amount of know-how we have structured and in one place. But the issues around use of the cloud and fragmentation of legal data are tough and systemic. They are collective problems requiring collective problem-solving that draws in the full range of legal, technical, business, regulatory, and academic stakeholders and expertise.

For this reason, one of the most important pillars of our R&D program is ecosystem engagement, including through collaborative hubs we’ve launched and partnered with in key regions — such as the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco, our WhiteSpace Legal Collab in Toronto, and Europe’s first legal innovation hub ReInvent Law. We recognize that transformational change — truly disruptive innovation — requires us to ask big questions and solve challenges that are far beyond the ability of one organization to tackle alone.

So, our plan is to keep working at it and collaborating as the tech and our own capabilities evolve. But this is not just the key to getting where we and our clients want to go. The firms and lawyers who do this well, we think, are the ones who’ll succeed in the machine learning-enabled future. To us, “innovation” is not just some new product, initiative, or topic du jour. It is (and really, has to be) who we are and how we work — and from what we can tell, that never goes out of fashion.
it  firms  robo 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
Six new BigLaw firms sign up to Reynen Court | Legal IT Insider
In a model that will ultimately succeed or fail on the number of law firms backing it, six more leading law firms have joined Reynen Court to support the development and launch of its services automation platform.  The six new members are Cleary Gottlieb; Davis Polk & Wardwell; Debevoise & Plimpton; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Slaughter and May and Weil Gotshal & Manges.

They bring the number of firms backing the platform that we christened the app store for legal to 18. Co-chairs Latham & Watkins and Clifford Chance have been involved from the outset alongside Paul Weiss (vice chair); Covington; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Gibson Dunn; Linklaters; Orrick; Ropes & Gray; Skadden Arps; and White & Case. As we first revealed in January, Latham and Clifford Chance have each injected £2m in Series A funding.

Founded by former Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate Andrew Klein and formally launched at the end of September, Reynen Court will audit vendors and offer containerised cloud applications, enabling firms to buy and run the application in their preferred environment.

Instead of individual IT directors having to audit and worry about the security of new providers, that will become Reynen Court’s job, with the idea that it becomes an official legal app store that, once established, clients can give their blanket approval to. This sort of store will also help law firms to optimise their costs by enabling them to use applications as they need them.

The ultimate objective is that firms will be able to say they will not work with startups unless it is through Reynen Court.
consortium  firms  IT 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
Allen & Overy Picks Four Newest Companies to Join Fuse Incubator | Legaltech News
Four legal tech companies have fought off competition to join Allen & Overy’s vaunted Fuse incubator program.
Apiax, Define, HighQ and Scissero will move into A&O’s flagship tech space in early May this year, after beating 100 applicants for this year’s round.

The companies will join Fuse veterans Avvoka, Legatics, and Nivaura, which have been in the program since it launched in September 2017. They also join fintech company Regnosys, which was selected for the second round of the program last April.
Companies to leave the program this year include Kira, which raised $50 million in its first external funding round while on the program, and Bloomsbury AI, which was purchased by Facebook in July.
incubator  it  firms  innovation 
march 2019 by JordanFurlong
Divergent Perspectives on Law Firm Innovation | Legaltech News
Such a culture is often not the norm in law firms, however. Innovation is change; an event that most times is initiated by the whip rather than the carrot. To be direct, the legal market, despite the pressures it has suffered as of late, is and has been for many years a protected market. There may be a wolf trotting toward the doorstep, but it is relatively toothless – at least at the moment. A quick look at the P3 numbers of the Am Law 200 and the perpetually rising bill rates finds a very profitable industry, which, in and of itself can create significant inertia. Along with driving the process of innovation, the pressures of the market – “natural selection” – will break that inertia and invoke cultural change. But that is a slow process. The liberalization of the US legal market would greatly speed it up, but we shouldn’t hold our collective breath.

So, where do we start to make a cultural shift? This brings us to my second lesson: while cash will always be King – i.e., it’s tough to beat the leverage that compensation asserts on behavioral changes – communication comes in a close second, particularly where the process of shifting a culture toward innovation is concerned. In an interview I did with Chip Bergh for Forbes – the turn-around CEO for a (at the time) struggling Levi Strauss & Co. – he articulated a specific communication strategy that was one of the more important tools that he used to help evolve the culture of one of the oldest and most successful brands in the world. If it worked for them, it can work for your firm, too. So, your communication strategy should be taken most seriously and not just left to flourish or wilt as a product of chance. What messages are important? How are they communicated? Who communicates them? How often? How are you measuring their impact? Etc.

Third, and perhaps the most obvious, we can see that the more complex and financially successful (and potentially more evolved) firms think about, set their cultures around and invest in innovation in particular ways. If I am a firm leader that wants to institute cultural and practical change toward more aggressive innovation (or even just a partner or associate that wants the same), I would take this to heart. While the above information articulates the market’s positions at a higher altitude, it can provide a template to begin building your own firm’s plan.
culture  innovation  firms 
march 2019 by JordanFurlong

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