Randy Kiser | Legal Evolution |
Media attention shifts rapidly from law firm profitability to gender bias and from technology to new lateral partners. Yet, if we pull back to conduct a deeper analysis, what we observe is a law firm sector grappling with three interrelated threats that are seldom the focus of sustained attention:  insufficient leadership, attorneys’ lack of meaning and purpose in their work, and client service. As shown in the above graphic, these three domains are the linchpins of law firm performance and sustainability.…
leadership 
9 days ago
What is the Purpose of Your Firm? - Adam Smith, Esq.
No question there are mercenaries abroad in the profession, but (a) do you really want them in your firm; and (b) are you willing to twist the primary purpose of the firm into raising PPP in order to cater to them?  Whatever your answers to (a) and (b), they represent a distinct, and unlovely, minority.  We often advise clients not to twist their management structures and principles to respond to the outliers, and this would be an occasion for invoking that exact counsel.

Second, what is your firm “for,” again?

When you think about how to respond to that question–which you should take as probing, and to which you should respond without cynicism–where would you place your firm on spectra like these:

carnivorous vs. collaborative
short-term vs. long-term
consumption vs. investment
over-rewarding juniors or over-rewarding seniors
And do you ever use the word “stewardship” in your management and leadership discussions?

Finally (and one detects a strong aroma of this motivating the Business Roundtable’s arguably belated move), permit me to note the obvious:  There’s a widespread feeling of disenchantment with capitalism out there.  This is new in my lifetime, and one can argue, as some cultural commentators have, that if you’re 20- or 30-something, capitalism has scarcely delivered a stellar or particularly convincing performance during your lifetime.  To the extent shareholder-value-maximization supremacy has had anything to do with that, we’re overdue for a rethink.
firms  purpose 
9 days ago
Access to Justice and Productivity Gains for All Lawyers – Oklahoma Bar Association
Improving productivity is a challenge, but hopefully the above examples can be instructive and the Law Practice Magazine issue I’ve cited contains many more ideas. Whether planning to make the delivery of limited scope representation as efficient as possible or being better prepared to deal with a large corporate client’s legal bill review auditors, productivity improvements are good for both lawyer and client.
productivity  solo 
9 days ago
National | CBA National - The Power of Perspectives
The elements of the above service are already available, and a range of players from international giants to startups like Australia's Legaler have begun to stitch their own marketplaces together. It is the retail side of legal services that will be the first push in this direction, as a great many people have routine questions about law that can be quickly answered by a competent person. People who are not being served by existing offerings. The savings will come from a combination of better utilization of extra capacity from existing lawyers, outsourcing, digital workflows, and scale.

Platforms are profitable only with significant scale, but once they have achieved that — serving hundreds of thousands or millions of customers worldwide — there are massive benefits for consumers. But it takes technology to enable that enable that scale.

Disruption of retail law

A quality-assured legal advice app would be a challenge to existing legal practices that are focused on the low end of the market. However, the arrival of this kind of service would cause lawyers to migrate to the platform in order to bring in new business and focus on the law instead of finding clients. Some lawyers might resist it; others will see the opportunity and consumers will begin to recognize the brand, creating a virtuous cycle of growth. Most lawyers in Canada don't have a brand and potential customers are often confused about whom to turn to. A legal video chat app would address this gap and provide a more convenient platform for lawyers to help people.
access  innovation  chatbot 
9 days ago
Reynen Court under the microscope: The beta launch and road map | Legal IT Insider
The challenge with Reynen Court is to describe what they are about without using the term ‘App store’ as a metaphor. So, I shall say this, Reynen Court was founded in September 2018 by ex-Cravath, Swaine & Moore associate Andrew Klein with the aim of providing law firms with a simplified mechanism for selecting and implementing software designed for them with a minimum of expenditure of time and effort.

The simplification operates on two levels:

o technical
o procurement / due diligence.

On the technical level the system works by ‘containerising’ (I tried not to use that term either, but it is too difficult) the software such that it is established in an infrastructure-independent form and can be readily spun-up for use by a law firm in its own technical environment. Such environment could be on premise (in virtualised data centres) or in private or public clouds hosted by AWS, Azure, Google or others.

As Klein said at the time: “The important point is that by running containerised applications, firms get all of the benefits of modern cloud computing without having to trust content to third party SaaS platforms.”
cloud  it  innovation  firms  platform 
11 days ago
Alternative Legal Services Providers and the Shortage of Legal Talent | Legal Executive Institute
n my articles I’ve noted how the demand for legal services at corporations is growing. I’ve also highlighted how corporations are looking for new ways to procure legal services and determine what they should be paying for these services to manage legal support costs. Finally, I’ve noted how ALSPs have addressed these needs — at least in part — and how ALSPs’ successes are resulting in very strong growth. That’s been a good thing for many.

Unfortunately, that growth is creating a talent shortage, a talent shortage in a segment of the legal services market which, in turn is affecting the way corporations hire outside legal help.

It may sound strange to say there’s a talent shortage in the legal industry given the number of law students graduating into the profession each year and given how many of them struggle to find a good — let alone a great — legal job. But the hiring we are seeing is very concentrated, and much of it comes from law firms filling traditional associate roles. But there is a demand for legal talent that’s not being met, and it’s having a cascading effect in parts of the corporate legal services industry, specifically that part of the industry involving ALSPs and the work that they support.
competition  process  talent 
16 days ago
Will the conversation catalyzed by the Law Society of Ontario mean the end of articling? | Canadian Lawyer
“It really is just a shortage of positions altogether,” says Scheffelmair, who is also vice chairwoman of the Canadian Bar Association law student section. “There's not a lot out there. They’re very scarce.”

The result of more trained lawyers from home and abroad and law firms not offering enough articling positions to keep up with the increase is that, every year come August, 200 to 300 candidates will have still not found a position. Many of these candidates then won’t end up in their preferred practice area or their ideal location and pay expectation, the LSO states.
articling  admission  governance 
20 days ago
LeClairRyan: Mistiming The End Of The Legal Monopoly | Above the Law
LeClair concocted an accounting and stock structure within the firm that allowed for the purchase of a preferred class of firm stock that paid an 8 percent return contingent on the firm making budget. In the short term, firm partners theoretically could invest, build up the firm’s capital reservoir, and have a comfortable long-term return on their investment. In the long term, once the rules governing firm investment loosened up, LeClairRyan would be instantly positioned to either accept massive waves of outside funds and grow itself into a superpower, or sell the firm and allow preferred shareholders to cash in. Sounds like a great plan, right?
collapse  firm  partners  innovation 
20 days ago
How LeClairRyan’s Grand Plans Unraveled | The American Lawyer
ven before leadership changed hands in 2016, some pointed to decisions such as overpaying underperforming lawyers and creating too much overhead that led to the lackluster financial metrics.

The firm failed to meet its budget in for the first time in 2011, according to an arbitration award filed in litigation between former partner Michele Craddock and LeClairRyan over claims of gender bias.

The firm missed budget again in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the court filing said.

According to the filing, LeClairRyan had pointed to its own financial problems—such as problematic compensation packages for its lawyers—to defend against Craddock’s claims that she was paid unfairly.

“The firm’s leadership acknowledged that the ‘raise culture’ of ‘paying more in compensation than [it] should be paying … resulted in (the firm’s financial) shortfalls,’” the arbitration award said.

According to the Craddock decision, the firm used subjective and objective criteria to determine compensation, including hours worked, origination, matter management and team leadership. The firm described its compensation system as a “‘relatocracy,’” the filing said, referring to the connection between each lawyer’s contribution to firm values and execution of its strategy, which “is not determined by the rigid application of a formula.’”

The compensation system wasn’t a big hit. Some sources told ALM that the system, described as complicated and murky, paid certain partners more than they were worth—inconsistent with the firm’s competitive price points for clients.
collapse  firm  partners  innovation 
20 days ago
In Law Firms, 'Caste System' Persists Among Attorneys and Business Professionals | The American Lawyer
In some firms, the separation between lawyers and staff is literal: Katten Muchin Rosenman’s largest office in Chicago had two separate cafeterias, with the majority of staff barred from eating in the attorney dining room.

“It made me feel worthless, that what I offer means nothing to you, and that you don’t care about me,” said a former Katten business professional.

Katten did not return a request for comment.


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Nearly every law firm professional has a war story: a thrown stapler, ignored emails and even public shaming. Professionals find themselves constantly scrambling to justify their presence, and just one mistake—even a small PowerPoint typo—can erase all the goodwill.

Park remembers being publicly shamed by a senior partner after submitting the wrong version of a Chambers and Partners entry. After privately emailing the partner to point out the mistake, he berated her in an email sent to all the partners in the firm.

“If you’re a legal professional trying to earn respect from your partners, that’s how they destroy it,” said Park, who left the legal industry in 2017. “You can’t say anything; you can’t do anything. You just have to take it.”

Many say the unequal treatment exacerbates the already stressful environment within Big Law firms, leading to mental health concerns among staff.
firms  culture  staff 
23 days ago
At #ILTACON19, Law Firm Tech Spin-Off Debuts App Designed to Better Serve and Inform Clients | LawSites
Being announced today at ILTACON is a client-facing app and cloud platform designed to provide law firm clients with intuitive access to legal documents, automated legal forms and agreements, secure messaging, and digital billing and payment.

Called ConnectIVITY, the app is being developed by Connective Counsel, a startup technology company that spun off in 2018 after beginning as an internal project at the midsized Cleveland, Ohio, firm Kohrman Jackson & Krantz (KJK).

The app is currently in a beta-testing release and will officially launch early in 2020. The company is accepting law firms to participate in the beta, during which the cost of the app is $100 per client per year. Several mid-sized firms are already participating, including KJK.

Attendees at ILTACON will be able to see the app demonstrated in booth 3 of the exhibit hall’s Startup Hub.

The company says that the app is designed to complement, not replace,  a firm’s document management system. It already integrates with the DMS Worldox, allowing lawyers and staff to select documents within Worldox and upload them to ConnectIVITY for client access.
innovation  apps 
23 days ago
Organizing for Innovation, #ILTACon19 Live - Prism Legal
F&R. No formal innovation program. Initial IT department at Fish was too complicated. Two years ago, long-standinutg CIO retired. Beau proposed separating infrastructure from “Legal Technology Solutions”. Made a conscious decision not to use the word innovation because everyone at the firm innovates. This group has 25 people; it includes about one-dozen developers, who build a lot of custome applications, and regularly interact with client. The client interaction is new in last year or two and is very successful. Will re-org again to align more with practices and client services.
innovation  firms 
23 days ago
Economic Uncertainty Is Changing Clients' Expectations - Attorney at Work
Clients are auditioning new law firms. BTI research shows only 38 percent of law firms earn an unprompted recommendation from a client. Client service is the single largest driver behind the coveted unprompted recommendation. Law firms that don’t earn a recommendation are rarely invited back for the big, complex issues. Clients are hunting for the firms that embrace client service along with complexity. Use any lead as an invitation to big-time work — and bring your A+ game. The stakes are bigger than they look.
Interest in alternative fees is surging. Clients are paying more for the new, complex work — leaving less money for other work. They are revisiting AFAs as a source of savings to fund the new, complex matters.
Complex work is officially a growth market. BTI research shows new, complex matters are now growing about 6 percent a year. This means you don’t have to steal that work away from someone else, but you still have to convince a skeptical client to hire you. Not easy, but a touch easier than convincing a client to fire a firm and hire you.
clients  intel 
23 days ago
Legal Research Tools Are Changing Law Practices—to a Point | Legaltech News
Still, while each research platform has crossover appeal, each also has particular strengths and limitations. Williams-Range said that Westlaw Edge, for instance, is “one of the best on the market” for U.S. law and litigation analytics, and is one of the tools most used by the firm’s litigation team. However, she said it’s limited in what it can offer in the way of transaction analytics.

On the other hand, she said that Bloomberg Law, while newer than the others, is one platform that is “coming up in the market on the transactional side,” a space that has grown over the past few years.

Meanwhile, she said LexisNexis is most useful for due diligence and negative news searches, though it also good for U.S. and French law. Lastly, she highlighted Wolters Kluwer’s research platform, which she said is mainly useful for taxation and regulatory issues.

To be sure, while many of these tools are used to perform proactive risk analysis, they cannot be used for predictions. “You’ll hear litigation analytics described as predictive analytics. … They don’t do that, they don’t predict the future,” Cravath’s Reents said.

Instead, he noted such tools are best leveraged in making educated determinations around things like litigation strategy and case budgets.

What’s more, though modern legal research platforms leverage AI, many require humans to support the machine-powered analytics by manually curating knowledge. But Cliff Nichols, senior counsel at Day Pitney, noted that this may be changing with newer legal research players like Casetext and ROSS, whose legal search platforms use AI to exclusively read and classify data.

“It’s actually reading the contents of the decision and classifying the decision based on their content rather than what a human did before,” he explained.
research  robo 
23 days ago
LeClairRyan’s Early Plans for Outside Investment Came Too Soon
According to several former attorneys at the firm who spoke to Bloomberg Law but requested anonymity to preserve relationships at LeClairRyan, the firm made attempts under its old leadership to break the traditional firm mold. But it appears to have made these moves prematurely, anticipating innovations, like the regulatory acceptance of nonlawyer investment in firms, that have still not come to fruition.
firms  innovation  collapse 
27 days ago
How Law Schools' Online Classes Are Supporting Rise of ‘Virtual Law’ | Legaltech News
“Gaining an education and knowing how to self-educate through virtual technology is leverage for telling an employer that you’ll be successful working from home and so many more jobs are virtual,” Coseglia said.

Many of the competitive advantages that students may be receiving are ancillary to any legal knowledge or even tech-related skills that may be built into the curriculum. Yaacov Silberman, a founding partner and the chief operating officer at Rimon PC, doesn’t think that success as a remote employee is even about technical prowess.

“I think there is sort of a cultural, behavioral, interpersonal quality you have to have if you’re working at home,” Silberman said.
virtual  schools  innovation 
27 days ago
Allegations Against Burford Could Muddy the Waters for Litigation Funding, Law Experts Argue | Law.com
Last week, Muddy Waters published a report calling Burford “arguably insolvent” and accused the litigation funder of manipulating its metrics for gauging financial returns. The next day, Burford issued a scathing rebuttal and hosted a lengthy shareholder call, slamming the report as false and misleading. On Sunday, Burford officially accused Muddy Waters of market manipulation. The Rosen Law Firm in New York is investigating the allegation on behalf of shareholders, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Morrison & Foerster are advising Burford.
The back-and-forth continued Tuesday with Muddy Waters ripping into Burford’s response. 

“Leave it to former trial lawyers to talk so much, and yet say so little,” Muddy Waters said in a statement. “BUR’s written response and numbing two-hour call did nothing to dispel our view that BUR a) aggressively marks its cases up to generate non-cash profits, b) manipulates its … metrics in order to justify its fair value gains, c) deliberately confuses investors about the extent of its fair value gains in each period, and d) has a fragile balance sheet with too much leverage, particularly given the excessive costs the business runs (of which a significant portion could be management compensation).” 
litigation  financ 
27 days ago
Too Many Write-Offs? It’s Not Them, It’s Your Outdated AR Process | Legaltech News
Writing off 14 percent of total bills is unacceptable when firms are delivering high-quality, meaningful work for clients. And lawyers’ reticence to be collections agents, hounding clients for payment, shouldn’t be the reason those firms and partners lose out on revenue.

Technology has helped law firms morph in various ways over the last several years, and introducing automation for accounts receivable is an emerging one firms should consider so they can truly see payment for their work performed. Explore automation to not only reject the status quo that says, “losing out on revenue is what you should expect,” but to improve the overall health of your firm for the future.
collections  realization 
27 days ago
Innovation Case Study 3: Perkins Coie | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
to offer support, ideas and access to tools and methodologies.

 

TRUE PARTNERING WITH CLIENTS
 

Toby regularly meets with the firm’s top clients to understand their legal and operational needs and challenges, negotiate creative, value-based pricing and monitor their satisfaction with the firm’s services.  These meetings often result in intel about what other firms are doing and watershed moments about what clients need.

Representative collaborations where the firm has had measurable successes with specific clients include:

Reporting (quarterly business reports, KPIs, predictive analytics, dashboards)
Technology solutions PC Matter Management tool, Portfolio Dashboard, Patent Prosecution Portfolio Management/P4
Project management and process mapping
Electronic billing
Knowledge management (Emerging Companies & Venture Capital Forms System)
Value-Based Pricing Models
Continuing Legal Education
Custom Training for Executives and Business Staff
Diversity (Joint 1L diversity fellowship)
Pro bono
 

Stories about how effective Perkins Coie has been in their client partnering initiatives include successful case studies of key clients:

Software Company – Two flat fees for separate portfolios of legal services, dashboards that reflect budgets and staffing in real time, quarterly business review calls on high level issues and business strategy, working together on pro bono activities, shared lawyer training, diversity internships.

Technology Company – A fixed fee for all of the work for a specified business unit. This involves a unique process and tool for on-boarding new projects, reviewed and adjusted annually.

A Retail Company – A fixed annual portfolio fee for all contract review. New matters are initiated by the client in a custom portal allowing faster turn-around times on documents, and better data analytics on contracts volumes, cycle times and contract types.
innovation 
4 weeks ago
Fish & Richardson Legal Tech Director on Why His Group Split With IT | Legaltech News
Legaltech News: Why was the legal technology solutions group spun off from Fish & Richardson’s IT department?

Beau Mersereau: We wanted to focus primarily on new technologies and innovative services, and bifurcating it allowed us to focus on the areas that were important to our clients. That also allowed the IT department to focus on technology and providing better services to our firm with less distractions.

What are some of the new solutions the group is developing? 

We are piloting machine learning to auto-classify documents or incoming mail from the Patent and Trademark Office that will allow us to route mail automatically to the appropriate teams. Eventually, we hope to start doing other things from auto-classifying time cards to having better data within our pricing group.

We hired a data scientist this year and he’s been helping us a lot. He used to be an astrophysicist, and it’s pretty interesting to have someone from a different field looking at our data and trying to understand it. Law firms have a lot of data and it’s not always easy to find the nuggets of good information in there.
it  firms  strategy 
4 weeks ago
Big Law 'App Store' Reynen Court Offically Launches, Announces Elevate Partnership | Legaltech News
Alternative legal services provider Elevate has partnered with legal tech platform Reynen Court, as the company officially launches today (August 15). 
Reynen Court’s aim is to provide law firms with a single platform to install, use and manage the abundance of legal tech products available to firms from various vendors—similar, in theory, to creating an “App Store” for legal tech.

Reynen Court was established last year, supported by 19 law firms with backers including Latham & Watkins, Clifford Chance and Paul Weiss.
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The company has now launched the platform, with Elevate agreeing to make three of its technologies available on Reynen Court’s legal tech app. These three products include a legal AI and document analytics platform called ContraxSuite; legal project management app, Cael Project; and a billing app called Cael BillPrep.

Elevate VP of software products Sharath Beedu said in a statement: “In essence, it’s a private, curated ‘app store’ where products are pre-packaged for easy installation within each firm’s respective IT environment. This enables firms to try new systems without using third-party cloud environments, which is prohibited by many of their clients.”

U.S.-based Reynen Court told The American Lawyer last October that it was looking to use its law firm backing to officially launch and increase its headcount in 2019 to around 40. That hiring kicked off in January, when the company hired former Davis Polk & Wardwell attorney and NY Legal Tech Meetup founder Christian Lang as head of strategy and Washington state-based lawyer Nancy Norton as general counsel.

Lang told Legaltech News at the time that Reynen Court will find what the consortium firms’ needs are and pair them with legal tech vendors, acting as a “matchmaker” of sorts. Access to cloud-based technology in particular, he said, should lead to cheaper, better and quicker access to legal services.

“I think the top firms that are in our consortium that have the resources to do this right … once they do these things, there will be a lot of implications for other firms in the market to have better access to legal,” Lang said.

“I think we are on the cusp of what could be a golden age of legal technology that can really improve lawyering and legal advice,” he added.
it  strategy  firms 
4 weeks ago
ABA Profile Reveals a Profession in Crisis | TechLaw Crossroads
28% of lawyers report suffering from depression. Almost 20% report severe anxiety. Over 10% of lawyers report having suicidal thoughts.

 

28% of lawyers report suffering from depression. Almost 20% report severe anxiety. Over 10% of lawyers report having suicidal thoughts.

 

How do we deal with this? 21% of lawyers report problem drinking; 32% of lawyers under 30 report problem drinking. This compares to 6.4% of the general population.
demographics  health  addiction 
4 weeks ago
Being a Law Firm Partner Was Once a Job for Life. That Culture Is All but Dead. - WSJ
Four hundred of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s top lawyers gathered in May at an oceanfront resort in Southern California to toast another banner year.

Kirkland was the highest-grossing law firm in the world for the second year running, earning $3.76 billion in revenue. When a slide flashed on the screen, showing the value of the firm’s shares, the partners in the room quickly did the math. They would be taking home $1.75 million to $15 million.

Not invited were another 560 partners, who were back at the firm’s 15 offices around the world, working. Though outwardly carrying the same title as those lounging poolside in California, they hold no equity in the firm and generally can expect to make $800,000 at most. While a comfortable living, the salary and its implied second-class status is not the reward many expected after striving to join the venerated partnership.
firms  partners 
5 weeks ago
Maroons & Grays: Part 3 - Adam Smith, Esq.
Absolutely wrong.

For starters, both can provide invaluable client service—it’s just “different” client service.

And we did allude earlier to the complexity of managing each type of firm.  Maroons are actually pretty simple to run; for one thing, lawyers have been doing it (it’s the Cravath Model, essentially) for over a century.  Hire great legal talent, love and compensate it generously, and turn away any work that doesn’t have boardroom visibility.

Grays, by contrast, are very challenging to manage effectively, and thus in our book far more intrinsically interesting from the perspective of strategy, finances, and leadership judgment.  Lawyers are one of management’s constituencies, but only one; the business professionals who are experts in process optimization, project management, big data analytics, pricing, and more provide an equally indispensable core competence.  Getting cognitively and intellectually diverse teams to work together and form a more powerful whole—including, critically, in client-facing roles—is far more challenging than identifying the finest lawyer/practitioners in XYZ field and letting them lawyer things.

Here’s a simplistic way of thinking about the two types of firms and the consequences for each of strong or of weak management.
strategy  markets  clients 
8 weeks ago
Is access to justice a design problem? (099) | Legal Evolution
Several years ago, if someone asked me how to solve the U.S. access to justice problem, I would have replied, “more government funding, more generous philanthropy, and more pro bono hours from lawyers.”  With these greater inputs, a lawyer would be available to every citizen needing to access the legal system.  Almost as a reflex, I suspect a large number of my lawyer peers would have given the same answer.

But what’s the likelihood of a 5x or 6x increase in resources? Cf. Legal Services Corporation, “2017 Justice Gap” at 6 (June 2017) (reporting that “86% of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans in the past year received inadequate or no legal help.”). I’d put it at close to zero.

Today, I am much more hopeful about our ability to substantially solve access to justice.  But it’s likely going to involve a massive redesign of how many types of disputes get resolved, including the possibility of lawyers and courtrooms being engineered out the process.  I say this based upon what I have learned about the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), Canada’s first online dispute resolution (ODR) system. The graphic above is a screenshot of the CRT’s homepage, which also describes the tribunal’s current jurisdiction.
access  design 
8 weeks ago
'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 
8 weeks ago
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 Law.com’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 
8 weeks ago
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 
8 weeks ago
Law firms are investing in innovation through venture capital services
Home Daily News Law firms are investing in innovation through…
PRACTICE TECHNOLOGY
Law firms are investing in innovation through venture capital services
BY ARI KAPLAN

JUNE 21, 2019, 6:30 AM CDT

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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 
8 weeks ago
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 
8 weeks ago
Do Laterals Create or Destroy Value? - Adam Smith, Esq.
Finally, back to integration:  It begins at the very start of your talks with the potential target firm or lateral hires.  And you will need to spend real money on it.  According to the study, over 90% of the acquisitions that added value spent 6% or more of the deal value on integration, while 93% of the value-destroying deals spent less.  (I know it may be hard to draw a comparison to “6% of what, exactly?” but notionally think of it as real money.  A $100-million acquisition, which probably happens across the national economy several times a week, would imply >$6-million spent on integration.)

Finally, do not
laterals  partners  strategy 
8 weeks ago
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 
8 weeks ago
Legal Operations Teams Are Growing But Still in Early Stages, Says Survey | Legaltech News
About 68% of legal operations departments in a recent survey said they were still in the early stages of development, with a majority saying they expect their technology spend to increase over the next year.

Christina Speakman, director of legal operations at JDA Software Inc. in Scottsdale, Arizona, said she took part in the “Spring 2019 Corporate Legal Operations” survey and considers herself part of the “early stage” group.
“I’d say we are at the front of the bell curve of those moving into using artificial intelligence,” Speakman told Corporate Counsel.

“Legal departments are often resistant to change,” she said, “and to accepting how automation can bring value to their position and team.”
ops 
8 weeks ago
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 
8 weeks ago
Innovation Case Study 1: Levenfeld Pearlstein | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
Levenfeld Pearlstein is a 75-lawyer firm in Chicago. Its innovative CEO, Angie Hickey, recently shared her insights at the P3 Conference about how the firm has adopted a corporate style Customer Experience culture that sets it apart.  Their client focus permeates everything the firm does both internally and externally.

The firm was founded in 1999 in large part to create a different kind of law firm, one that was focused on developing loyal client relationships and producing exceptional client value. There are a number of aspects to the firm’s culture that are distinctive and innovative, and they are embodied in their model “The LP Way™.”  Unlike some firms that tout slogans or promote innovative aspects of their client value initiatives without the backing of measurements and frameworks, The LP Way™ actually is a business strategy.  It is used as the basis for how the firm attracts, develops and rewards talent and how it ensures consistency, transparency and satisfaction to clients.

Many years ago, firms began developing client service standards, protocols and strategies.  An example of a firm that was way out in front on this was Miles & Stockbridge who at the direction of their former visionary CEO and Chairman John Frisch, developed a set of client-focused values, a service pledge, a robust client feedback program and policies, programs and training to indoctrinate all lawyers and staff in exceptional client service practices. While some other firms carried through on their promises, many inadequately delivered on the client service pledges they published on their web sites.

 
innovation  client  service 
8 weeks ago
For Legal Ops, Making Outsourcing Decisions Takes a Long-Term Outlook | Legaltech News
Legal operations professionals say the field, which aims to increase efficiency through tech and process improvement in-house, is growing, but many opportunities in the space may be outsourced long term.

After legal ops hits initial process improvement and tech adoption goals, maintenance is likely to be outsourced to keep head count and budget lower, some ops leaders said. Kevin Clem, the chief commercial officer at HBR Consulting, has already seen some departments outsource ops work.
“I think a lot of it will be outsourced,” said Connie Brenton, NetApp Inc.’s chief of staff and senior director of legal operations. Her team already outsources some legal ops work, including e-billing tool management.

She said “as a general rule it makes more sense to outsource maintenance” because it takes a “less expensive resource to maintain” than to design and implement a process. Out of 21 legal ops technology tools at NetApp, she said most are currently in maintenance mode.
Brenton said it has to be the “right place, right time, right price” to outsource. Tools and processes involved should be stable, meaning the tool has collected enough data and isn’t “having errors in the system.”
ops  offshoring  managedlegal 
8 weeks ago
Curriculum Comes Alive: How Two Law Schools Use Virtual Reality in the Classroom | Legaltech News
In recent years, law schools have injected a host of technologically-savvy initiatives into their curriculum, ranging from start-up incubators to online-centric coursework and beyond. But some law schools are looking to move their curriculum into a new dimension: the third dimension, to be specific.
The educational tracks at the 2019 American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) conference opened with “Virtual Reality in the Law Classroom,” a presentation of what two law schools have done with 360 video and 3-D modeling technologies to increase their students’ learning. Kenton Brice, director of technology innovation at University of Oklahoma College of Law, and Jenny Wondracek, director of legal educational technology at UNT Dallas College of Law, demonstrated that while the technology may seem futuristic, adopting it is feasible now.
schools  it 
8 weeks ago
Lawyers: Forget The Client, Welcome The Community. How Chicago Is Working For Justice For All.
What if legal aid were powered by the community? This is what social entrepreneur Lam Nguyen Ho is working on, starting with a network of community-allied lawyers and community groups in Chicago. Ashoka’s Annie Plotkin-Madrigal caught up with Ho to learn more.

Q: In broad brush strokes, how does legal aid work now?

A: Legal Services Corporation, a federal government program set up in 1974, largely controls what we know as legal aid in this country and funds it about half a billion dollars every year. It serves a great good and reaches many low-income people and communities. I’ve worked as a legal aid lawyer for more than a decade and I’ve seen and done remarkable work with LSC support. But there are big and growing gaps. One is that overall funding has dropped 60 percent in the past decade, making the system and its lawyers completely overstretched and locking out many who urgently need legal help. Even beyond funding, though, there are real structural limitations in how legal aid operates.

Q: What are the limitations?

A: For one, legal aid lawyers and organizations funded through this system can take on only some cases. Over 20 case “types” are excluded, including people facing gross injustices and civil liberty infringements like undocumented immigrants, sex workers, anyone who's in prison. Class action lawsuits and anything related to org
community  access 
10 weeks ago
Scoring your innovation (098) | Legal Evolution
The worksheet provides two types of insights. First, low scores on a Section I factor or in one of the other Sections help prioritize your efforts (or the decision to pull the plug). Second, you can use it as a point of comparison. For example, score the most successful innovation in your space. As students in my “How Innovation Diffuses in the Legal Industry” courses quickly realize, we are operating with many faulty assumptions. We find this out when we test them.

For those using the worksheet (click on thumbnail to the right), I’d welcome feedback. Please send to editor@legalevoltion.org.

I’m creating another worksheet for Organizational Innovativeness (Posts 015, 016, 017), but this is enough for now.
innovation  metrics 
10 weeks ago
Shouldering More Work, In-House Becomes Selective with Tech Adoption | Legaltech News
When pressed for where technology was expected to deliver the biggest advances in efficiency, 64 percent of respondents said contract management— specifically contract creation, management of the renewal process and risk mitigation. Those considerations may also be driving the ways that companies use AI as well.

According to the survey, 44 respondents indicated that AI is having the biggest impact in contract management and review. E-discovery took the second biggest piece of the pie at 27 percent, followed by managing repeatable legal workflow at 22 percent.

“If you’ve got 200,000 contracts, you can’t take make sense of that on your own. You’ve got to use technology to do that,” Cemenska said.

He pointed to contract analysis tools, where an AI identifies key terms in a document or PDFs to extract and index data, as an example. Once those solutions are in place, it’s easier for an organization to proactively mitigate future risk by, say, identifying problematic clauses hidden within existing contracts.
it  robo  contracts  clients 
10 weeks ago
What Replaces Timesheets? — Ignition Consulting Group
Timesheets, even if accurate (they’re not), provide only one uni-dimensional piece of information: who’s “busy.” Time tracking doesn’t reveal anything about what really matters in a professional firm, such as client satisfaction, work quality, or professional effectiveness.

Worse, the practice of time tracking provides incentives for all sorts of bad internal behaviors, from stretching the truth to discouraging innovation and collaboration.

Given the pervasiveness of time tracking in professional services, it’s understandable that even those managers who have become convinced that recording time is an ineffective way of measuring success feel at a loss when looking for a metric to replace it. Let me recommend 22 of them:
metrics  quality  value 
10 weeks ago
How Leading In-house Organizations Manage Quality S.M.A.R.T.ly | Legaltech News
But gathering impressions of quality from in-house counsel, though valuable, is likely to reflect a definition of quality that is much more academic. Quality will be centered around the extent to which outside counsel has demonstrated encyclopedic knowledge and technical artistry in their area of expertise. Trouble is—the client doesn’t care. They just want the thorn pulled out of their side and for you to disappear.

3. They investigate incidents of poor quality and take remedial measures

Another large organization I interviewed that collects quality impressions on thousands and thousands of legal matters every year makes a point to immediately investigate any matter that is closed with a low quality rating. When a low rating occurs, the quality team goes even further by reviewing the output and speaking directly to the rater to understand what really happened. The team does not wait until some arbitrary future time period to review reports of poor quality; they pounce on them immediately. In some instances, the team determines that the low rating was more of a reflection of the unrealistic expectations of the rater than the quality of the counsel’s work. In others, they may conclude that, while the matter went poorly, the root cause was not in the performance of counsel but poor internal business processes that stymied counsel’s ability to provide otherwise excellent work.
metrics  quality 
10 weeks ago
Law Company Elevate Raises $25M, Aiming for 2021 Public Listing
Elevate Services has received $25 million in funding from a private equity firm as the Los Angeles-based legal services business aims internally for a public stock market listing in 2021.

Elevate has also predicted its revenue will climb to $76 million in 2019—and to more than twice that amount by 2023, according to a presentation obtained by Bloomberg Law.

Elevate’s growth and drive toward a public listing shows how fast-growing the market for nontraditional legal service models has become. Elevate, which bills itself as a “law company,” provides consulting, technology and other services to law firms and law departments.
newlaw  outsourcing  process 
10 weeks ago
Exclusive: Unregulated virtual firm granted SRA waiver - Legal Futures
One of AGL’s selling points to lawyers is that it says they keep a greater share of the fees they generate – up to 90% – than any of the equivalent firms, of which there is a growing number, such as listed law firm Keystone Law, gunnercooke and Carbon Law Partners.

At the moment, solicitors working for unregulated businesses have to call themselves non-practising, but the AGL waiver means that any solicitor working at the firm can operate under their title without having to seek an individual waiver.

Founder Lindsay Healy is a former Norton Rose solicitor and latterly a general counsel at technology company Xchanging.

He set up AGL last year to offer a wide range of commercial law services. It started with him and two clients and now has 15 lawyers and 80 clients.

Mr Healy outlined major ambitions for the firm, which he said would have 19 lawyers by the end of June and could reach 75-100 by the end of the year.

Every lawyer at AGL can work flexibly and everyone – including Mr Healy – is paid in the same way and receives an equal share in the profits. “Nobody takes profit from anyone else’s work,” he said.

Lawyers retain an initial 85% of what they bill; the remaining 15% goes towards AGL’s overheads, but whatever is left after that is distributed back to the lawyers as profit – in proportion to the hours they have billed – less 5% donated to charity, which is currently Great Ormond Street Hospital.
clementi  newlaw 
10 weeks ago
The Escambia Project: An Experiment in Community-Designed Justice by Melissa Moss :: SSRN
Abstract
This article shares observations made during an experimental community-led, participatory design project undertaken to identify promising new solutions for civil justice services, from which the people in the local community would benefit and that they could easily use.

Nationally, the Escambia Project is likely one of the first times community members have served as equal partners and decision-makers throughout a civil justice participatory design project. Community-led approaches can help improve civic participation, create more democratic outcomes, build a sense of community, and strengthen participants’ attachment to their community and each other. The Foundation’s hope for this experiment was that this methodology could benefit Escambia County in the same manner and ensure that Foundation future investments in new projects to improve people’s access to legal assistance would be embraced and effective.

The Florida Bar Foundation funded and dedicated staff to the year-long experiment that generated three new initiatives that were prototyped, field tested, and prepared for continuation. Two of the three initiatives have been adopted by the community and continue. The Escambia Project ultimately engaged more than 100 community members and relied on the support of dozens of local volunteers and organizations.

The article also contains lessons learned and recommendations for how community-led participatory design could help transform the justice system.
access  community 
10 weeks ago
SALI: Open legal industry standard formally launches | Legal IT Insider
As with any standard, SALI’s success or failure will depend upon adoption. “This new standard has the potential to bring forward many of legal procurement’s dreams about effectiveness and efficiency,” said Dr Silvia Hodges, CEO of Buying Legal Council, “Clients should quickly adopt the new standard and expect their firms to use it.”

The release follows the recent contribution by Bloomberg Law of several taxonomies to the SALI Alliance.  “Open legal standards like SALI are a critical component of providing transparency and accelerating innovation in the legal marketplace,” said Joe Breda, president of Bloomberg Law. “For this reason, Bloomberg Law is proud to not only serve as a member of SALI but to have contributed some of our proprietary taxonomy to the open standard.” Bloomberg Law has provided taxonomy codes for U.S. Governmental Bodies, U.S. federal statutes and international organizations.”

While much of the focus of SALI is currently in the US, the ambition is for the standard to be global.

“This draft of the standard is the collective work of many people and organizations. Notably, Bloomberg Law and the Free Law Foundation have made major contributions of codes for U.S. Governmental Bodies and U.S. Courts that are used in more than 5 million publicly available documents,” said Toby Brown, SALI Board president.

“The work SALI is doing to establish industry standards on matter types addresses two critical problems facing the legal industry: first our continuing quest for value-orientation and second, extreme inefficiency in the buying and selling of legal services,” said Jae Um, Director of Pricing Strategy at Baker McKenzie.
ops  standards  pricing 
10 weeks ago
Innovation in Law Firm Operations: Takeaways from LMA's P3 Conference | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
Nearly four hundred professionals gathered for the 7th annual P3: Practice Innovation Conference focusing on project management, process improvement and pricing and hosted by the Legal Marketing Association.  It was an impressive group of experts and very instructive to see how law firms continue to expand their commitment to legal operations and innovation in their efforts to improve client service delivery and value.  Included below are a few highlights from the conference sessions.
ops 
10 weeks ago
Most Companies Will Reduce Legal Spend in the Next 2 Years, Says EY Survey | Legaltech News
“The recruitment challenge for legal teams seeking junior lawyers is to attract them with meaningful work, not routine activities, and demonstrate the potential for career progression,” Paula Hogéus, EY global labor and employment law leader, said in the report.

The options that firm attorneys who want to leave private practice have broadened. Before, firm attorneys would want to go in-house to be more involved with the business. Hogéus said that now lawyers have the option of working on a contractual basis and roles in legal tech startups.

Another issue is finding ways to give new in-house attorneys meaningful work, rather than menial tasks.

“The recruitment challenge for legal teams seeking junior lawyers is to attract them with meaningful work, not routine activities, and demonstrate the potential for career progression,” Hogéus said.

In order to find meaningful tasks for junior in-house employees, businesses are beginning to outsource those more menial tasks. Thirty-three percent of businesses indicated they are already outsourcing tasks such as contract management, entity management and document retention.
clients  recruitment  retention  budgets 
10 weeks ago
The Future of Profitability Models and Analysis for Law Firms — Tim Corcoran
Many law firm leaders who dig a bit deeper perceive profit to be solely a function of the “cost of an hour.” This is a calculation of how much revenue remains from a lawyer’s billable hour after his or her direct expenses and an allocation of the firm’s overall expenses are deducted. This approach tends to reinforce that the most profitable lawyers are those who bill the most time and those who bill the highest rates… each of which is only sometimes true. This approach also overlooks key long-term drivers of profitability such as client retention, client expansion, client satisfaction, and non-hourly fees.

Because outdated measures of profitability tend to reinforce partner behaviors that drive clients away, law firm leaders have a compelling incentive to adjust their approach. This book provides guidance on how and why to do so, what to expect on the journey, how to identify and overcome the obstacles to progress, and how to build a profitability culture based on clients rather than on production.
profitability 
10 weeks ago
Republicans and Democrats Don't Understand Each Other - The Atlantic
Americans who rarely or never follow the news are surprisingly good at estimating the views of people with whom they disagree. On average, they misjudge the preferences of political adversaries by less than 10 percent. Those who follow the news most of the time, by contrast, are terrible at understanding their adversaries. On average, they believe that the share of their political adversaries who endorse extreme views is about 30 percent higher than it is in reality.

Perhaps because institutions of higher learning tend to be dominated by liberals, Republicans who have gone to college are not more likely to caricature their ideological adversaries than those who dropped out of high school. But among Democrats, education seems to make the problem much worse. Democrats who have a high-school degree suffer from a greater perception gap than those who don’t. Democrats who went to college harbor greater misunderstandings than those who didn’t. And those with a postgrad degree have a way more skewed view of Republicans than anybody else.
global 
10 weeks ago
'This Is Not Greenberg Traurig': Firm Leader Touts New Innovation Venture | The American Lawyer
Greenberg Traurig chair Richard Rosenbaum recognizes that the traditional full-service law firm can’t do everything.

For clients’ primary needs—excellence in core legal areas—they’re not looking anywhere else. But when it comes to so-called “commoditized” work, they have an increasing set of options, and law firms will invariably struggle to keep up with the technology needed to compete.
His firm announced this week it was founding a subsidiary, Recurve, that will partner with artificial intelligence providers, staffing firms, real estate innovators and other startups to guide clients as well as other law firms in taking advantage of the growing range of services available. The idea is to be “innovation architects,” who identify client needs and guide them toward solutions, but won’t execute them or engage in the practice of law.

The initiative will be run out of Warsaw, Poland; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Denver, and will also include operations in strategically selected locations like Austin, Texas; Berlin; and South Florida. The 2,000-attorney firm has existing offices in all of these locations.
Rosenbaum spoke Wednesday with The American Lawyer about his vision for Recurve and what is novel about the offering.

In your own words, what is Recurve?

Over time we obviously have seen the evolution of both technology and other forms of staffing, artificial intelligence and other value-enhancing ways of addressing so-called repetitive and commoditized aspects of legal work. Because of that, there has arisen a lot of capital spending and business units within law firms, with limited success for the most part. It’s very hard to keep up with the cutting edge.
innovation  r&d  offshore  process 
june 2019
Mayson spells out hard choices in reforming legal regulation - Legal Futures
He restated his belief that professional titles were a “limiting factor in the development of regulation” and said that it “might be sensible” to move away from them, to a future where all ‘lawyers’ were regulated by activity.

However, he said that how far it might be possible to shift away from titles remained an “open question”.

The academic – who is undertaking the review with the support of University College London – said one of the problems with activity-based regulation was how to define the activities and he referred to Scotland’s independent review of legal services regulation, which found that this could actually increase the number of regulators.

“You could end up with more regulators than we have now, each regulating a different activity. It’s still a complex mosaic whichever way you cut the cake.”

The Law Society strongly defended title-based regulation in its response to the Mayson review in March this year and called for the public to be better educated about professional titles.

Professor Mayson said he agreed with the conclusions of the Competition and Market Authority’s study of the legal services market in describing the current framework as unsustainable and saying the justification for some reserved activities was stronger than for others.
regulation  clementi 
june 2019
The UK's Top Legal Tech Incubators: A Firm-By-Firm Guide | Legaltech News
This year alone has seen Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance and Ashurst all launch new initiatives. Even Barclays and PwC have taken interest with their own legal-tech focused programs.
The benefit for law firms is that they get in at the ground level with high-growth (and potentially high fee-generating) clients, or they can boost their own practices by bringing their technology in-house.

But you would be forgiven for losing track of which firm has done what. Here, Legal Week rounds up the main incubator-style programs run by U.K. Top 50 firms.
r&d  innovation 
june 2019
Greenberg Traurig Announces the Founding of "Recurve": A First-of-its-Kind Global Shared Services Platform Transforming the Delivery of Tech, Staffing, Space, and Other Support Services for the Legal Industry | News | Greenberg Traurig LLP
Recurve's core focus areas are intended to include innovations in technology solutions, artificial intelligence, project management, alternative staffing, novel space innovations and other developing aides for lawyers and clients which do not involve the actual practice of law. 

“Recurve will work outside the traditional legal model to provide previously unavailable tools and efficiencies in the legal ecosystem, bringing together diverse talents and resources across the globe in a collaborative platform aimed at industry-wide innovation to help attorneys and clients adapt to the rapidly changing legal landscape,” said Richard A. Rosenbaum, Executive Chairman of Greenberg Traurig. “We are pleased to establish this unique and nimble business, initially as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenberg Traurig. Utilizing investments by strategic partners involved in its core disciplines and other equity investors experienced in the space to fund its capital requirements and operational needs, Recurve is intended to become the first law-firm founded, third-party financed global collaboration platform solely focused on creative innovation in the support of the delivery of legal services.”

Recurve will be staffed by a lean and experienced team of innovation "architects", well versed in client needs, the advantages of the traditional law firm model and the wide array of growing resources in the legal innovation marketplace. This team will serve as the point of contact for Recurve's clients to identify their needs and design appropriate solutions; but it will not itself execute them or otherwise engage in legal practice. 
innovation  offshoring  r&d 
june 2019
Training Machines to Speak Legalese: The Perils and Promise of AI in Law | Legaltech News
Where AI Fits Into Legal
AI is poised to supplement lawyers, not replace them. Practicing law involves tremendous domain expertise, and lawyers must be able to maintain their grasp on large amounts of information, keep up on changes, and understand how those changes apply and should be interpreted in new contexts. While machines are much better and efficient at processing information and identifying patterns, it’s best to think of AI as an enabling technology that provides robust assistance to support attorneys. Gradually, more intelligent tools and interfaces are becoming more accurate, and providing information that allows lawyers to focus on higher-value tasks such as advocacy, decision-making, and interaction with clients and witnesses. AI technology, like legal analytics and chatbots, can supplement those higher-value activities by anticipating what lawyers need to know and do, helping them contend with “machine scale” data volumes so they can produce better legal and business outcomes.

What does the future look like where AI speaks “legalese?” Will there ever come a time when lawyers will be able to ask machines complex legal questions, have them compile and analyze the information, visually display the relevant data and recommend a course of action? It’s quite likely. Soon, advances in deep learning and natural language understanding technologies will enable machines to analyze and comprehend what is said in a meeting or conversation, helping us capture testimony during depositions, and record and encrypt other matter-related conversations.

We also envision voice applications assisting in case research. After “interviewing” the attorney to define and refine the search parameters, machines will be able to autonomously conduct extensive legal research and case law analysis, intuitively organize all data and documents related to the matter for easy review and retrieval, create “smart” legal documents that are “aware” of their contents and relationships with other documents so attorneys can formulate case strategy for pleadings.

What’s further away is a machine that has true general intelligence. We can teach machines to do specific jobs, but they don’t yet have a deep understanding of content and context. General intelligence requires machines to understand inferences and decisioning in a sophisticated way, like humans. When that happens, machines will be able to analyze case theory and strategies and use predictive modeling to determine the best legal approach for a given matter and illuminate potential outcomes.
robo 
june 2019
Legal tech firms “will go bust as app stores take over” - Legal Futures
Professor Katz said the total number of legal tech start-ups providing what were “purported to be” AI products was “pushing 2,000”.

He said that “what began as a US-UK phenomenon is now an ‘everywhere phenomenon’”, including European countries like Finland, Russia, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland, along with Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Africa and Asia.

Professor Katz said many of these companies claimed to be offering a “platform”, but were really offering a “point solution” – a specific solution that would not work once it was taken out of the “sweet spot” for which it was designed.

“We’ve had these two thousand point solutions bloom, which is one of the hallmarks of this period.”

However, he said the real challenge was to develop a “product services bundle”, to provide a more complete solution.

Meanwhile law firms, led by Dentons more than four years ago, had created “engagement frameworks” through tech accelerators.

“Some of these are just a glossy brochure – I’m not going to say which ones – but some have substance.”

Last year, an international consortium of law firms launched Reynen Court, which looks like the type of platform the academic has in mind.
robo  it  consolidation 
june 2019
AI for the Masses: Artificial Intelligence Now an Option for Smaller Practices | Legaltech News
“I think what is going to happen in general in the industry is you’re going to see it be a part of any legal tech product … whether there is an initiative to go out and buy or develop AI products or not,” says Jeff Marple, director of innovation for the legal department at insurance company Liberty Mutual.

Even with these advances though, significant barriers to adoption remain. And the ability to create bespoke, proprietary AI systems is still largely the domain of a well-funded few at the upper echelons of the legal market.

Yet there are some signs that even this is shifting. The rise and continued growth of “productized” AI means the technology can be more accessible to small and mid-sized law firms and legal departments than ever before. AI products will also likely get better and easier to deploy over time, and some legal teams are creatively pushing the limits of what AI can do and be in a market that has traditionally been underserved.

The days where small and mid-sized buyers were little more than an afterthought for AI developers, it seems, are long gone.

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How the Cost was Cut
As AI becomes more of an essential component of legal tech platforms, it’s becoming cheaper to use. Marple notes, “The implementation cost is coming down significantly.” There are several reasons behind this growing affordability, including the advancement of a wholly different technology: cloud computing.

In the past, if someone wanted to bring an advanced technology like AI in-house, they had to support it with physical servers and staff to configure and manage the software—essentially the body and muscles behind the brain. But now, the paradigm has completely shifted, says Ryan Duguid, chief evangelist at workflow automation company Nintex and a tech veteran who previously held various position at Microsoft.
client  robo  ops 
june 2019
Immigration Lawyer Explains How She Launched an (Almost) Fully Automated Firm | Legaltech News
After all, people—especially people juggling heavy caseloads—can make mistakes. So why not bring in a few robots? About 95 percent of the immigration practice at Irvine, California-based 2nd.law, the firm that Ansari co-founded with product designer Alex Pelevin, has been fully automated.

This means that she gets to focus on the practice of law while administrative items like billing are handled with an AI assist. Ansari’s own journey towards automation started gradually with functions such as employee task-setting and evolved into more client-centric uses like signing documents, setting appointments or document collection. Once Ansari has completed a review, an automated process is kicked into gear that schedules a meeting with the client to discuss the case via the video-chat platform Zoom.
Ansari spoke with Legaltech News about the challenges of adapting to an automated environment and the savings that she’s been able to pass along to clients. Answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Legaltech News: What drew you to technology—specifically AI—as a potential solution to try and address some of these problems?

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Bahar Ansari: I started out as a solo immigration attorney with my very own small law firm. I started scaling fast, and the law firm was scaling just from referrals from other clients only. And as it grew more and more I took on an assistant, but it really wasn’t scalable past a certain point and I couldn’t take on more clients and help them the way I wanted to with personal attention. And I had two choices: One was use some sort of technology to automate some of my work, two was hire more people.
innovation  virtual  robo 
june 2019
Q&A: What Microsoft's Legal Ops Director Has Learned From 10+ Years of Using ALSPs | Legaltech News
Corporate Counsel: What have you learned from your initial working relationships with ALSPs?
Tom Orrison: Make sure you really do partner with your alternative legal service provider. Make sure you bring them in, educate them about your business, let them know what you care about and paint a very clear picture of what success looks like. Then monitor and track that.

CC: How do you monitor that?

TO: We typically have technology to track individual items. We track service-level agreements, types of requests. And we have key performance indicators that we try to meet every month.

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If things aren’t going well, we have an early line of sight, so we can address those issues and course correct. We have very open and honest discussions about how to fix it. We try not to frame those problems as, “Hey provider, do better.” It’s more, ‘What’s the problem? And can we do something to help?”

CC: Are there still some challenges when it comes to in-house counsel using ALSPs?

TO: I’ve worked with attorneys for my entire professional career, over 20 years. They’re trained to be risk-averse.

Make sure they’re comfortable that what you’re doing is relatively low-risk compared to other legal work. If you can get them in a position where they understand that there are higher-value tasks they could be focused on if we took some of the tasks off their plate, that helps.

Make sure you pull the attorneys in, that they understand what is going on with continual status reports, updates, that they get to meet the team. Those things do help smooth things out and make them work better.
ops  client  IT' 
june 2019
Lifting the Prohibition on Nonlawyer Ownership: Advantages for Small Firms - Attorney at Work
Increased innovation. Traditional law firms of all sizes fund technology and other capital improvements straight from their pockets. Often, this means legal services will not improve without increasing the cost to buyers — unless lawyers are willing to take serious hits to their bottom lines. Changing the rules means law firms will no longer trail alternative legal services providers, legal tech and in-house legal in creating new legal services combinations that can deliver more value to clients. This opens up myriad partnering possibilities with other disciplines, such as technology, process design, data analytics, accounting, marketing and finance.
More money. With the help of outside investments that create efficiencies and cost-savings, small to midsize firms that represent individual consumers will be able to offer products and services that increase the volume of fee-paying client work — tapping into the pool of potential clients who often forgo legal services due to cost. Similarly, lawyers serving corporations will see more fee-paying work and law firms will be on a more level playing field with ALSPs, which have cut into the traditional corporate legal market.
Better teams. Being able to share profits allows law firms to bring in highly qualified professionals aligned with the firm’s goals. The internal empowerment (read: financial remuneration) in an organization that shares its success creates a better environment for innovation and ultimately improves client services. Also, by paying nonlawyers as shareholders, firms aren’t tied to a costly salary and bonus structure. Instead, firms can reward employees via profits, just as they are, meaning a previously fixed cost can fluctuate with the market.
New business possibilities. Repealing or modifying the rule will provide incentives for nonlegal entrepreneurs to fully enter the legal market. Many see a chance to create more successful outreach programs with allied professionals who can solve problems beyond a client’s immediate legal issues. One example: A small firm partnering with a hospital system might install a booth or satellite office in the lobby to assist patients and their families with the full spectrum of issues relating to health care law (power of attorney, HIPPA, insurance, proxies, wills, malpractice and elder law, to name a few specialties). Legal triage could be performed on the spot, and by nonlawyers.
Elevating the profession’s reputation. Lawyers should be viewed as trusted confidants and advocates who understand their clients, instead of as opportunistic fee-grabbers. Changes that allow lawyers to reach more people and expand access to legal services may help public perception. The profession has a duty to enlarge the pie by driving costs down and also serve the broader needs of society.
regulation  competition 
june 2019
Forum Magazine: Is the Law Firm of the Future in Abu Dhabi? | Legal Executive Institute
While Support Legal wasn’t the first law firm to provide such a service, it was the first of its kind in the Middle East serving the region’s burgeoning start-up environment. The UAE government and business community had launched a concerted effort to grow technology hubs, funded by venture capital firms and supported by a legal system largely based on English common law.
innovation 
june 2019
Corporate Law On Verge of Making Things Simpler with Complex Analytics | Legaltech News
Compelling and statistically accurate, at least according to HBR’s survey. The large portion of respondents, 41 percent, categorized data science and analytics as a “medium priority,” while 38 percent identified as being in the early planning stages. As for the two extremes, 16 percent of respondents called data science and analytics as a “high priority,” while only 6 percent said it was “not a priority.”

Baker posited several theories as to why analytics may be bounding up the ladder, ranging from the sophistication of the tools now available to the general wealth of data resting at a company’s fingertips. Still, while more companies may be engaging with analytics, they’re not all doing it at the same level or even with the same goal in mind. Baker alluded to a general progression in ambition that emerges as law departments start to become more comfortable with data and analytics.
clients  data  analytics 
june 2019
The UK's Top Legal Tech Incubators: A Firm-By-Firm Guide | Legaltech News
It’s no secret that law firms are pushing to build their tech-friendly credentials, most notably through ‘incubator’ programs, which offer a variety of perks to start-ups to help them grow their company.

This year alone has seen Slaughter and May, Clifford Chance and Ashurst all launch new initiatives. Even Barclays and PwC have taken interest with their own legal-tech focused programs.
The benefit for law firms is that they get in at the ground level with high-growth (and potentially high fee-generating) clients, or they can boost their own practices by bringing their technology in-house.

But you would be forgiven for losing track of which firm has done what. Here, Legal Week rounds up the main incubator-style programs run by U.K. Top 50 firms.

Allen & Overy

Fuse, Allen & Overy, London
A&O’s Fuse is an in-residence innovation program run from the firm’s London headquarters.

Participating companies receive day-to-day access to the firm’s lawyers and clients in order to develop their products. A&O looks to work with companies at various stages of development, who focus on legal or regulatory technology.
incubator  startup  innovation  it 
june 2019
Why Silicon Valley Loved Uber More Than Everyone Else - The Atlantic
More important, however, VCs liked the service themselves. In 2016, Hayes recalled his first encounter with Uber: “What I saw was a product that I would use all the time, even though I never use black cars. My friends didn’t use black cars, but this was a product they were going to use all the time,” he said. He and his firm would rely on their instinct instead of putting a number on the company’s value the standard way—by looking at the market Uber was targeting and figuring out how much market share it could win.

Even investor and media super-villain Peter Thiel has made fun of Silicon Valley power players’ tendency to invest in what they themselves like. “VCs often have a blind spot for things,” he said in 2014. “They overvalue things they use. They undervalue things they don’t use. Uber is overvalued because investors like riding in Town Cars.” (Thiel, for his part, invested in Uber’s rival, Lyft.)

But plenty of companies have experienced founders and do things VCs like. What set Uber apart—and the reason it generated the Uber-for-X phenomenon—was its marketplace model.

The company used computers to restructure the driving labor market (“corrects some real inefficiencies”). Why have a dispatcher send cabs all over a city when an algorithm could do the same thing—with no labor cost or organizational infrastructure, and probably with better results? The cab companies, with their own complex institutional histories, were suddenly irrelevant. Drivers drove and riders rode—and the only thing necessary to connect them was an app on a phone. The model didn’t just make financial sense to people trained to think in Silicon Valley in the 2000s; it made ideological sense.
strategy  startups 
may 2019
Survival Skill No. 4 for Lawyers: Compassionate Professionalism - Attorney at Work
So far in this survival skills series, we’ve discussed developing emotional resilience, beating long-term stress, and staying grounded during difficult, emotional cases. Today, we cover balancing professionalism and compassion. It’s important to present a sharp, professional image in our work, but our professionalism should allow people to be authentically human.
EQ 
may 2019
What Does the New Qualcomm Ruling Mean for 5G and the U.S.-China Tech War?
The White House even sees 5G technological development as a national security issue, and it strongly values Qualcomm's 5G business. Last year Trump nixed Broadcom's $117 billion attempt to take over Qualcomm, citing national security concerns about Broadcom's relationship with third parties — specifically China. Republicans have even called on the White House to try to stop the FTC's case against Qualcomm and get it to settle. (Functionally, this is unlikely given the FTC's status as an independent agency and one of only two parts of the U.S. government that can see certain kind of antitrust cases, along with the Department of Justice.)

Critics of Koh's ruling have argued that by destabilizing Qualcomm and potentially limiting its research and development, the U.S. government is essentially shooting itself in the foot in the tech war with China. Earlier this month while Koh was still weighing her decision, the Department of Justice filed a briefing warning that the case could hurt U.S. companies' competitiveness in the 5G realm, which would ultimately benefit China. And, indeed, representatives from Huawei itself were eager to testify in the case to try to weaken its competitor.

But Huawei's global competitiveness — and by extension China's — has suffered recently too. A U.S. decision last week to place the company on the U.S. Commerce Department's Entity List means that U.S. suppliers must ask for the department to grant a permanent license to export to Huawei. This barrier will likely prevent some suppliers from working with Huawei, hurting the company's ability to remain a global smartphone competitor and 5G vendor and limiting its own investment into research and development.

Koh's decision – if upheld – will be a landmark one for the telecommunications industry. Not only will it fundamentally change the way that Qualcomm works in the industry by forcing a potential change to its business model, but it will have global ramifications in the broader tech war between China and the United States.
global  china 
may 2019
Big Data May Be Making Portfolio Pricing Easier Than Ever | Legaltech News
First things first: Portfolio pricing is any kind of fee arrangement covering multiple matters, either under a retainer or a deal that assigns one fee per matter for every single matter that comes through the portfolio.

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So why bother? If you’re a corporate legal department dealing with a high volume of matters, chances are that you’d rather receive four bills over the course of the year than 1,200.

“It frees up our attorneys; it frees up our staff to do more strategic things,” said Alan Bryan.

For some clients, the portfolio pricing approach also can lend some much needed clarity regarding the annual budget. Negotiating the bulk of your matters under a single portfolio provides more predictability around the chances of hitting a targeted number at the end of the year than negotiating projects one by one.

If you don’t anticipate having a bulk of matters, then it’s possible that portfolio pricing isn’t the right option.

“There’s a point where you need a certain amount of volume to make this work on both sides,” Bryan said.

The demand for volume doesn’t just apply to the work involved. In order for both parties to ensure that a portfolio pricing deal is the right fit, they should ideally be sharing data that shows some consistency over the type of matters a company deals with year over year and how those costs might shape up on the law firm side.

Matthew Beekhuizen, chief pricing officer at Greenberg Traurig, said his firm typically tries to look at three years of history for a particular client. Some companies don’t maintain enough data themselves to paint a very robust picture, but assuming they have been involved with the firm for some time, that history can help fill in the gaps.

“The good part about hourly billing is we do have a lot of data that we can work with,” said Beekhuizen.

Firms can build upon this information to prepare for the work at hand, which in some cases includes going out and hiring new staff members to make sure that they can accommodate the demands of the matters they’ll be working on over the course of the portfolio agreement.
pricing 
may 2019
What Do In-House Lawyers Want From Law Firm CLE? : TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog
This recent In-House Focus survey of in-house lawyers concerning their own experiences with law firm CLE provides some interesting perspectives on these topics. For example:

– 70% of survey respondents said CLE programming should feature diverse lawyers, presenters and faculty. But just 30% of respondents agreed that diversity is adequately represented in current CLE content. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that participating in CLE programming is an effective way for law firms to connect diverse lawyers to clients.

– 52% of respondents to IHF’s survey agreed that law firms should do a better job of facilitating introductions of their diverse lawyers to their clients, while just 5% disagreed. Further, 62% believe CLE programming is a good way to cultivate relationships between diverse lawyers and clients.

– 62% of respondents believe law firm CLE is not adequately tailored to in-house lawyers. Additionally, two-thirds agree that CLE content is more tailored to law firm practitioners than in-house lawyers. In fact, another 79% of respondents said they would be more inclined to watch a CLE program that included in-house lawyers as presenters who speak to their issues.

– When asked what are some things that would make CLE more pertinent to in-house lawyers, many responses revolved around the need for real-world examples. Some responses included: “concepts to reduce outside legal expenses,” “when to involve outside counsel and how to engage them,” and “case studies and sample scenarios from current in-house lawyers.”
cle  clients 
may 2019
Despite Appetite for Insights, Firms Still Struggle With Matter Profiling | Legaltech News
till, the “Using AI to Digitize Lawsuits to Perform Actionable Data Analytics” session at day two of the conference posited that despite the fact that there’s a large appetite for such insights at law firms, there are a few obstacles standing in the way. Chief among them? Matter profiling is very difficult work.
Patrick DiDomenico, chief information officer at Ogletree Deakins, for example, noted that  the process of structuring unstructured data being expensive and altogether mind-numbing work. Incentive is also an issue. Lawyers beginning work on a new matter may not have much data to work with and once they do, it’s time to move onto another case.

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“It’s something that everyone wants but no one is willing to contribute to,” DiDomenico said.

Panelists compared the infrastructure necessary to effectively mine data for insights to a three-legged stool. A firm needs the right people, process and technology in place, a triumvirate that is oftentimes nonnegotiable. Without having a standardized process designed for data collection, for example, there’s a chance that firms could inadvertently collect the wrong data pertaining to a matter.

“I’ve experienced deficiencies in all of these areas, and it can definitely be problematic,” DiDomenico said.
data  analytics 
may 2019
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.”

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strategy  recession  firms 
may 2019
CLOC’s 2019 Growing Pains | TechLaw Crossroads
But here’s the real rub: even if law firms become members, unless and until law firm management decides to participate as opposed to offering up those who can’t make fundamental strategic decisions, I’m not sure that CLOC and its conference will be able to drive the kind of changes or meaningful dialogue it wants. Talk to any legal/tech vendor and they will tell you the hardest thing about marketing to law firms is that the decision maker is rarely in the room for the pitch and will only get a summary from someone else two or three times removed. Too many law firms still manage themselves with lawyers and either don’t invite the other legal personal that don’t happen to be lawyers (to avoid using the “non” word) to the strategic table or don’t listen to them if they do. It’s all well and good for legal ops people in firms to get to participate and dialogue with corporate CLOC members but until they can actually drive change in their firms, progress will be slow.

 

Its a sad fact that change in law will still have to be fundamentally driven and dictated by the clients, the legal departments

Its a sad fact that change in law will still have to be fundamentally driven and dictated by the client and their legal departments. The people in these departments are already members and are having real conversations about what needs to change and how to do achieve these changes.  So adding law firm members who often are dragging their feet and reluctant at best to change may lead to little more than frustration.

The best solution may be for CLOC to turn its law firm membership into a selective one: you have to be invited in and meet certain criteria and make certain commitments to participate. While O’Carroll and the CLOC Board didn’t say that this was the plan, it appears to me at least to be where CLOC is headed. Such a plan would insure CLOC would get the kind of law firm participants and leaders it wants and needs without getting the kind that add nothing but heartburn.
ops  client 
may 2019
Curious Minds: Speaking with Firoz Dattu of AdvanceLaw | Legal Executive Institute
Rose Ors: What’s a key big-picture question facing the legal industry?

Firoz Dattu: While many of us talk a lot about new service providers, which I don’t discount as we are one of them ourselves — working with clients to identify innovative law firms and create mutually beneficial panels — a big question is how law firms will transform, and which ones will be around in 5 or 10 years.

I have three observations about this. First, while a lot of innovation is being developed by service providers, this doesn’t mean law firms won’t incorporate these innovations to create one-stop shopping for their clients. The firms that do this, without fear of cannibalization, will have a powerful offering.

Second, a number of firms are over-doing it with associate-to-partner ratios, in part to attract and retain star partners through higher partner profitability. This is a risk as it creates tension within firms and runs counter to what clients are looking for. Clients want creative solutions from someone who knows the business, and big teams often disintermediate the star lawyer with business knowledge from the work.

Third, many pedigreed firms dominating the legal market in terms of profitability forged their reputations at a time when clients were looking for something different than they what they want now. The blue-chip firms of the past are not necessarily the blue-chip firms of the present.
future  analysis 
may 2019
a sandbox for legal education – ALT JD
If we accept this as true, then what is the import for legal education? For surely, if what lawyers do and how we do it is changing, then how we educate and train new lawyers should change. Many people have been discussing this for quite a while. Consider Thomas D. Morgan’s proposal that the ABA’s law school reform efforts in 2011 “must necessarily begin — at least implicitly — with the question of what kind of people law schools are charged with producing.”[1] This question remains at the heart of any inquiry into legal education.

I recently joined the working group for the Delta Competency Model[2], which seeks to describe the core competencies required to be a successful modern legal practitioner: this is the kind of person law schools are charged to produce. Comprised of three primary competency areas — the law, personal effectiveness, and business and operations — the model offers an agile and dynamic framework for describing the skills and characteristics today and tomorrow’s lawyers — and legal professionals generally — need to thrive.

My proposal is simple: we need a new flavor of legal education with a curriculum designed to teach these competencies. This must happen in the immediate future, and it must be a path to both a legal practice (as a licensed lawyer) as well as positions that do not necessarily require bar passage and licensure, such as legal operations engineer, legal designer, legal process architect, and many more positions that will be needed and do not yet exist.
competence  training 
may 2019
The results of the Ontario bencher election are a major setback | Precedent
The results of this year’s bencher election are an enormous disappointment. The legal profession in this province has handed a decisive electoral victory to a block of candidates that campaigned together on a single-plank platform: to abolish the statement of principles.

Why did this group of lawyers devote so much energy to one issue? Let’s start with some brief background. Over the past two years, the Law Society of Ontario has required all lawyers to confirm, in their annual report, that they’ve written a personal statement that acknowledges their obligation to promote diversity and inclusion. In our view, that’s not so horrible. In fact, asking the profession to consider, once a year, how it can help combat racism sounds like a good idea.

Not everyone agrees with that sentiment. Case in point: the block of bencher candidates who ran on a pledge to eliminate the statement of principles. On its website, this group argues that the new requirement is a clear violation of freedom of expression: it forces every lawyer to “comply” with the Law Society’s “prescription of what to say and what to think.” The group promises that, once in power, it will make sure the Law Society “gets out of the business of controlling the thoughts and speech of its members.” That turned out to be a winning pitch. Every lawyer who signed onto that platform — there are 22 of them — is now a bencher.
diversity 
may 2019
New Littler 'On Demand' App Has a Human Side: Shift Lawyers | The American Lawyer
Clients will use the service by submitting questions on a newly built app, either via mobile or desktop. If the question has already been asked in an organization, it will elicit previous attorney responses. And for new inquiries, on-call Littler “on-demand” attorneys—who have an average of 15 years of experience and will work a set shift—will work to generate real-time answers. They can either respond directly or collaborate with Littler attorneys with more specialized knowledge on particularly complex questions.

Fees will range from traditional hourly rates, blended rates or any other arrangements sought by clients. Regardless, Forman said that the expense for clients would be less than the cost of salary and benefits for new in-house counsel.

Clients will also have access to a dashboard that shows what other questions are being asked, in order to gain a picture of other issues or concerns that they should have on their radar. Forman gave the example of a wage and hour question that might alert a client to a compliance issue or stimulate an opportunity for further training.

The new platform also relies on a recognition that the traditional law firm career progression does not work for everyone.

“For years, you would come in as a lawyer and then be on the partnership track or no longer at a firm,” Forman said. “We’re very cognizant that today’s lawyers are looking for different things.”

He added that many lawyers who moved in-house seeking greater certainty about their hours were encountering some of the same expectations they faced at firms.

“This delivers what most people mistakenly believe the in-house position offers: a set schedule, working on interesting legal issues for important clients,” Forman said of the “on demand” lawyers, who essentially work as an extension of the client’s legal team.
clients  talent  flex  it  ops 
may 2019
Killing the Billable Hour in the Legal Sector? [PODCAST] – Jordan Furlong - LSE London Alumni & Friends
Welcome to Law 2.0, a podcast series where we talk to individuals looking to change the legal services and regulatory sector.

In this episode we speak to Jordan Furlong. Jordan is a legal market analyst and an award winning legal journalist, who has served as the editor of three leading Canadian legal periodicals: The Lawyers Weekly, National, and the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association Magazine. In 2007, Jordan launched an award-winning blog called Law21: Dispatches from a Legal Profession on the Brink.

In this podcast Jordan speaks to us about:
jf 
may 2019
Engagement and Encouragement: How In-House Directors Drive Tech Adoption | Legaltech News
Although the road to new tech may be laborious, the tech directors agreed there are some universal objectives that, if met, could deliver high usage. According to the panel, strategies to successfully implement new technology include: obtaining the GC-level blessing that’ll sway the c-suite and employees, and training that takes the suggestions and concerns of users seriously. In addition, it’s also important to encourage a perspective of adopting new technology as part of a new culture in the legal department and not a project with an eventual end date, and ensuring the new process focuses on storing and collecting data in a central location, the panel said.
change  client  it 
may 2019
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