jordanfurlong + competition   527

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 
15 days ago by JordanFurlong
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 by JordanFurlong
Trending: Has EY Law bitten off more than it can chew in Pangea3? Quite possibly | Legal IT Insider
TR: “Hey EY, wassup, you wanna buy Pangea3? Yeh, you might have heard we’re having a little restructure and we’re all about tech products now, not services. We bought Pangea nine years ago, which is ages, and, you know, things have changed, what can I say. Anyway it’s a great business, 1,000 professionals globally, very slick operation, it’s totally an ‘us not them’ situation. So, you wanna buy it?”

EY: “Oh wow you say 1,000 professionals? Globally? Sheez, that will really piss off the rest of the Big Four, scare the crap out of law firms, and get us on the map for legal operations with global corporate clients. We’re in!”

The reality would have been much longer and much more boring, if my brief stint in a law firm corporate department is anything to go by. But there is no doubt the acquisition arose out of an opportunity that EY snapped up like a hot cake.
accountants  process  competition 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
The EY Law Strategy: What Now And Where Next? – Artificial Lawyer
I.e. EY feels that it is now two years closer to achieving its strategic goal than it was a week ago. And that is a big step for a business that already has 2,400 legal professionals across 84 countries.

In effect, EY, which had revenues of $34.8 billion in 2018 and 270,000 employees…..yes, you read that number correctly, 270,000 employees…..also has a global law firm with now a globally sized LMS team mixed in there and that its client base can leverage.

The Next Strategic Step?

One thing Grossmann highlights is that bringing in more legal businesses into EY is currently an active focus of the Big Four firm.

Artificial Lawyer asks: Will you try and acquire a law firm in London? Grossmann won’t be drawn on specifics, but he adds: ‘As we speak we are in the middle of transactions with law firms. We will fill gaps in our network. We have already integrated law firms all over the world into EY.’

In short, expect more news in the months ahead about law firms joining EY. And, it should be noted, ‘EY Law’ is already very busy offering a range of services to its clients (see graphic below).
accountants  process  competition 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
Co-op sees legal services turnover and profit soar - Legal Futures
The Co-operative – now the largest provider of probate services in the UK – recorded a 37% rise in turnover from legal services in 2018, and a 53% jump in profit.

The legal services business – which is part of the Co-op’s life planning division – saw its income reach £34.9m in 2018, up from £25.5m the previous year, with profit increasing from £1.5m to £2.3m.

The results reflect the acquisition a year ago of Simplify Probate, then the UK’s second largest probate provider, whose 170 staff took the total staff number at CLS to just over 600.

Like-for-like revenue taking out the acquisition of Simplify was up 12% last year.

The Co-op’s annual results said Simplify Probate has been “successfully” integrated: “Our clients are already benefiting from faster distribution of estate proceeds. In 2019 we’ll continue to offer probate services as part of our funeral support to families.”
wills  clementi  competition 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
EY to expand legal services offerings globally with acquisition of the Pangea3 business from Thomson Reuters
EY and Thomson Reuters today announce an agreement for the acquisition of the Thomson Reuters Pangea3 Legal Managed Services (LMS) business by various firms in the EY network. Following the recent acquisition of Riverview Law, EY Law practices are broadening further their depth and capacity to serve corporate legal departments around the world. The acquisition will bolster the ability for EY Law practices to help clients transform their practices and deliver meaningful value to their businesses. 
Pangea3 is an award-winning leader in legal managed services, with more than 1,000 legal professionals across eight service delivery locations on three continents. By leveraging legal, technical and business-process talent in quality, cost-effective centers, Pangea3 helps clients mitigate legal risks, reduce burdensome costs and provide continuity and scale to budget-strapped legal teams.

The acquisition will greatly enhance EY technology-enabled legal managed services in the three core areas of contract lifecycle management, regulatory risk and compliance, and investigations and litigation. In addition, EY Law practices, comprising more than 2,400 lawyers in 84 countries, will continue to rapidly grow their Legal Advisory services.  
accountants  competition  process  it  mergers 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
EY in talks to acquire Thomson Reuters Legal Managed Services: What we know | Legal IT Insider
Insiders are officially staying tight-lipped over whether EY is in talks to acquire Thomson Reuters legal managed services division, but we understand from a credible source that is indeed the case, as Thomson Reuters’ regroups and focuses its efforts on its content and technology offerings.

Thomson Reuters has been engaged in over a year of wholesale restructuring, starting with the sale in 2018 of its financial and risk business to funds managed by Blackstone, for which it received around $17bn in gross proceeds.

The sale meant it had cash in the bank for the restructuring drive, which started at senior executive level in around June 2018: Brian Peccarelli was appointed as co-chief operating officer alongside Neil Masterson. Four senior executives left the business including highly respected president of legal, Susan Taylor Martin.

The business was restructured around three customer segments:

– Legal professionals, including law firms; government; academics and the Bar, led directly by Peccarelli;

– Corporates, including all the work that Thomson Reuters does with corporations, whether the GC or CFO, led by Piotr Marczewski; and

– Tax Professionals, including all the work Thomson Reuters does with accountants, led by Charlotte Rushton.

Within the legal professionals segment, there are now five distinct businesses: the circa $600m small law segment (headed by Mark Haddad); mid-size law firms (headed by Barb McGivern); global large law and Canada (led by Neil Sternthal); US government (headed by Steve Rubley); and Europe, which includes the UK and Ireland, plus Thomson Reuters’ Spanish business (led by Lucinda Case).

Each of those groups has its own head of product, technology and marketing and, aside from in the small law segment, will now sell the entire stable of client products including Practical Law, Westlaw, Contract Express and the Elite technology stack including 3E and eBillingHub in a significant departure from the previous business model and strategy, which was focussed on product lines.

The big focus now, as evidenced by Thomson Reuters release of major new workflow and pricing solution Panoramic, is on becoming more of a technology business and knitting these offerings together – something that is welcomed by customers, who can now focus holistically on their end goals.

Thomson Reuters, which is listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges, is understood to have a substantial sum of money put aside for further investment in technology, where the margins are significantly higher than in services.
accountants  process  it  mergers  competition 
april 2019 by JordanFurlong
Explaining Elevate’s Recent Acquisitions (088) | Legal Evolution
We thought long and hard about where our gaps were. We didn’t want to poach from our competitors, so we decided that the best way forward was to invite seasoned leaders to join Elevate, by persuading them to tie their rafts to ours. We then asked customers (even including those that had decided not to work with Elevate) to tell us which entrepreneurs, managers, and companies they thought were our best competitors!

How would we finance all these organic investments and acquisitions in a way that ensured that management didn’t give up control? The law department of one of our customers, Morgan Stanley, introduced us to their private credit and equity group, Expansion Capital. The Expansion Capital team’s advice was helpful in designing our growth financing strategy. By the end of 2017, we closed a $25 million credit facility with them to finance organic investments and the strategic acquisitions.

The acquisitions we made were based on the following three pillars that have been at the heart of Elevate for many years: Strategy, Culture, and Customers.
process  competition  strategy  newlaw  management 
march 2019 by JordanFurlong
What Does the Big 4's Legal Tech Push Mean for Law Firms? | Legaltech News
He considers the legal managed services aspect of EY’s business to be different from the track taken by traditional law firms, which Grossmann characterized as operating in the “high-end legal advice” domain.

If that’s true, then the real question may be how much longer law firms can afford to operate that way once high-end advice starts looking like less of a niche. Per Grossmann, EY is already making strides on the advisory side of the equation by onboarding legal talent to service clients and fill in any gaps left by technology.

“But at the same time we’re investing heavily in legal operations, which is really our new line of business, which is where we address the needs of legal functions which are not directly related to the main knowledge,” Grossmann said.

To be sure, law firms are investing in those resources too. The firm of Bird & Bird, for example, also employs Luminance. However, according to IT director Karen Jacks, clients rarely ask for a specific brand of legal tech by name. Instead, they express the same interest in efficiency and expediency that Grossmann identified at EY.
accountants  ops  clients  competition 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Axiom to Go Public, Applying for IPO and Spinning Off Two Businesses | Legaltech News
Axiom spun off its data analytics arm Knowable and legal solutions platform Axiom Managed Solutions last week (February 12) in preparation for the move.

The company currently employs over 2000 people globally, and in 2017 reported revenue of $300 million, according to CEO Elena Donio.

Ashurst recruited Axiom‘s services in 2016 as part of a drive to offer further regulatory advice to the law firm’s banking clients, in what was the legal services provider’s first official law firm partnership.

In 2016, Mishcon de Reya hired Axiom’s London general manager Nick West as its chief strategy officer at the firm.

The application comes amid a raft of alternative legal service business movement in the market and an increasing interest in law firms floating.

Earlier this month Big 4 accountant EY signed a deal to begin using Slaughter and May-backed artificial intelligence company Luminance across its global legal network.

And DWF has joined several law firms moving to offer an alternative business proposition by cementing its aim to float on the London Stock Exchange.
newlaw  competition  flex  contracts 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
AI Platform Luminance Teams with EY Law in Global Deal | Legaltech News
Big 4 accountant EY has signed a deal to begin using Slaughter and May-backed artificial intelligence company Luminance across its global legal network.
Luminance, which was founded in 2016, uses pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms to read legal documents, making contract review processes more efficient.

EY Law’s Belfast office was an early adopter of Luminance along with Slaughter and May in 2017, but previously the rest of its network did not have access.
A statement from the company said EY Law intends to use the platform for large-scale document review, particularly M&A due diligence.

EY global law lead Cornelius Grossman told Legal Week he sees AI capability as central in providing “competitive services in the field of contract review and due diligence”, and added that the firm looked at a number of products before choosing Luminance.

Luminance CEO Emily Foges said: “Law firms are not traditionally known for their adoption of technology, and it’s the opposite for EY.”

She added that the firm is “bringing together technology with the law in a way that’s very exciting for us”.

Last week, Luminance announced its second major fundraising round, which valued the company at $100m (£77.5m). Luminance CEO Emily Foges said the extra capital would be used for new hires at the company’s Cambridge headquarters and for financing global expansion.

Along with Slaughters, Luminance also counts Eversheds Sutherland, Bird & Bird, and McDermott Will & Emery as law firm clients.
robo  accountants  innovation  competition 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Deloitte, Relativity Partnership Produces First Innovation: A FOIA Workflow Tool | Legaltech News
A year after Deloitte entered into an alliance with e-discovery software provider Relativity, the two have now announced the creation of an end-to-end workflow platform geared towards managing and responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Deloitte’s new disclosure solution was developed with the government agencies responding to FOIA requests in mind. But it’s also potentially good news for attorneys who don’t particularly enjoy standing around looking at their watch. Chris Knox, Deloitte’s risk and financial advisory managing director and leader in the Federal Discovery practice, said that savvy attorneys have begun to utilize the FOIA in the vein of a pre-litigation discovery request.
One slight wrinkle? The government is dealing with an epic backlog of about 100,000 FOIA requests per year. That’s not a problem that you can simply be addressed by just throwing more bodies at the wall.
it  accountants  innovation  competition 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
'Change' Is a Mantra for Law Firms, But Will They Tune In? |
To Ralph Baxter, the former chairman of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, nearly everything about law firms will need to change if they are to be successful in the near future. They will need to re-examine their financial model; their resources model; their underlying legal services delivery model; and their investment model, Baxter said.
“Associates earn $200,000 when they barely know where the office is,” said Baxter, who is now a board member of professional services technology company Intapp. “That is the lowest-cost resource in a law firm. And you’re going to compete with [alternative providers]? Nobody starting from scratch would start with that model. And so you have to address that. And if you’re not willing to address that, you’re not going to have a chance at competing.”

While Baxter’s message may ultimately be right, according to James Goodnow, the managing partner of Am Law 200 firm Fennemore Craig, there is also a risk that what conversations about change will be tuned out by law firm partners who are still making healthy salaries from traditional law firm models.

“Until it starts hitting partners in the pocketbook, they will not believe it,” Goodnow said. “There is no existential threat, or perceived existential threat, and so that is why there’s no change. So what’s the problem? We are all part of the problem. We have been saying the same thing over and over again. We’ve said, ‘Change is coming. We need to rethink everything.’ And the partners at the law firms have heard this. And it’s like the boy who cried wolf. Nothing has happened. And the law firm partners are doing very well. So because of that, you have tremendous skepticism among a group of people who are very skeptical to begin with.”
change  innovation  process  firms  partners  competition 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Law Firm Sales Push Growth of Alternative Services Providers, Report Says | Legaltech News
The market for so-called ALSPs was estimated at $10.7 billion in 2017, the report says. The percentage of law firms that use ALSPs for at least one service, including e-discovery, document review, legal research or litigation support, rose to 87 percent in 2018, up from 56 percent in 2016. At legal departments, that figure rose to 74 percent from 60 percent.

While those growth rates exceeded the expectations of a comparable report two years ago, the latest report predicts the market has even more significant growth ahead. It says ALSP owners expect to increase at a 25 percent annualized growth rate “over the next few years.” At that pace, the market would reach $20 billion in sales in three years.
For comparison, the $10.7 billion market in 2017 is slightly smaller than the combined revenue of the four largest firms in the Am Law 100. A $20 billion market would be about the size of the 10 largest Am Law 100 firms.

Large law firms said they were increasingly turning to ALSPs for strategic business reasons, even if their concerns about the quality of ALSP services remain. For instance, 53 percent of firms said using ALSPs could help them expand and retain client relationships, up from 44 percent two years ago. Similarly, 55 percent of firms said their traditional business model was being challenged by ALSPs, while 44 percent said so two years ago. And 39 percent of firms said they are facing increased pressure from clients to use ALSPs, up from 18 percent two years ago.
newlaw  competition  offshoring 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
There’s A New World Coming | Above the Law
Use of all these methods are increasing, according to the 2018 Blickstein Group Law Department Operations Survey, published in collaboration with Consilio, which is out today.

“The legal services delivery model is now perceived as an ecosystem of providers,” said Robin Snasdell, managing director and group lead for law department management consulting at Consilio. “Now, who does the work is optimally the right resource at the right cost with the right credentials. It’s no longer necessarily about which law firm partner went to law school with in-house counsel. It’s a revolution of sorts.”

Most corporations’ legal work is still handled by law firms, and that is a sacred relationship that will continue. Yet, as the survey illustrates, LDO professionals are exploring, and often embracing, new developments and opportunities. In fact, almost 78 percent say they use ALSPs, most frequently for document review, contract review, due diligence, and contract drafting. This is probably the single best piece of evidence that the duopoly is breaking down.
clients  competition  newlaw 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Is UnitedLex the Future? Dan Reed Thinks So. | The American Lawyer
So I found myself on a conference room floor at Latham & Watkins’ Midtown offices, trying to work an espresso machine with the help of a receptionist—the lone Latham employee who appeared to know I was there.
Reed was there with at least one other UnitedLex executive—Nancy Jessen, a longtime Huron Consulting executive who now runs the part of UnitedLex’s business that is seeking to transform corporate legal departments through a blend of outsourcing, technology and process improvement. She was a leader on a deal with DXC Technology that, prior to the mystery of Reed’s presence at Latham that morning, I had been most eager to discuss.

The DXC deal was novel in an industry hungry for clues about its own transformation. No other legal department had “rebadged” 150 lawyers to a third party in the way DXC did with UnitedLex. No other legal department had told the public it cut its legal spending by 30 percent. No other legal department was planning, with the help of UnitedLex, to roll out a kind of TaskRabbit model (think: gig economy) whereby lawyers, as independent contractors, would negotiate the company’s contracts on an ad hoc basis—from their homes, or the nearest coffee shop.

Today, 14 percent of America’s law school graduates get hired by law firms with more than 100 lawyers. They are the lone cohort of graduates that, over the last eight years, has reliably earned six-figure median salaries, according to the National Association of Law Placement—testimony to the grip the nation’s largest firms have had on corporate America’s legal dollars. If UnitedLex’s model takes off, what happens to that percentage—and to the law schools, lawyers, law firms and corporate legal departments designed around current expectations? When corporate legal work gets handled in bits by a larger swathe of the legal workforce, who wins and who loses?
offshoring  newlaw  innovation  competition 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Elevate Makes Another New Acquisition and Contemplates Going Public | Legaltech News
Yerra, a legal managed services business with products that touch on everything from e-discovery to compliance and investigations, joins LexPredict, Halebury and Sumati Group as the latest additions to the Elevate fold.
Don’t chalk it up to a problem with impulse purchases, though. Liam Brown, Elevate’s founder and executive chairman, has been itching to acquire Yerra for years. After all, they have a lot in common.

“There aren’t many law company providers—and that’s the term that we use to describe our sector—that are both legal consulting, legal tech and legal services. I think they are the only other provider that I really think of as a law company that is in actually all those same three segments,” said Brown.
The differences between the two companies were also of critical interest. Elevate has built a strong presence in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, but the acquisition of Yerra now extends that reach into the continental Europe and Asia-Pacific markets.
competition  offshoring 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Big Law's Trojan Horse: Are the Big Four Preparing an Invasion? | The American Lawyer
“In another five years, what I’m now doing, I won’t be doing. The classic fund formation group of a firm with 10 people won’t exist. I think M&A is a natural step from that,” he says. “I am fully prepared that they will be a competitor, and they will crush me if they wish.”

But he hears little from management.

“We parade around and say we’re fighting back. We claim we can do transfer pricing cheaper than KPMG and Deloitte,” he says, referring to the process of pricing transactions between commonly controlled enterprises. “Frankly, there’s a lot of competition on the corporate side—firm vs. firm. There’s minimal talk about the accounting firms and even less talk about technology. I’ve been at three firms in the past three years. I can tell you none are really thinking about it.”
accountants  competition 
december 2018 by JordanFurlong
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Launches Cantilever | Business Wire
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) today launched a combined legal operations consultancy division that brings together multi-award-winning teams on both sides of the Atlantic. The new division will operate globally under the new name of Cantilever. It brings together the BCXponent and Streamline brands, as well as other teams that support our clients’ in-house teams in improving their legal operations and service delivery to their businesses.

The division consists of 20 highly qualified process engineers, data scientists and technologists who are experienced at working with in-house teams, lawyers and attorneys to help law departments improve legal service delivery to the business. The team has also developed its own proprietary software platform, called CrossLite, which is a sophisticated data management and analytics tool that has been specially designed to meet the needs of the modern legal function.

Cantilever will be led by co-founders Katie DeBord and Chris Emerson. DeBord is Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner’s Chief Innovation Officer, while Emerson is the firm’s Chief of Legal Operations Solutions. The team also includes highly regarded legal technologist Bruce Braude, Director of Legal Operations Solutions for EMEA.

Services will include: providing legal operations and technology consultancy; designing effective and efficient processes and systems for contract, matter and litigation management; and delivering document and decision-making automation solutions.
innovation  consulting  ops  newlaw  competition 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
Elevate Acquires LexPredict, Expanding Capabilities in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science - Elevate
LOS ANGELES – November 14, 2018 – Global law company Elevate today announced the acquisition of enterprise legal AI technology and consulting firm LexPredict. The move combines the comprehensive legal services offering of Elevate with the data science team and AI engine of LexPredict, creating more sophisticated technology-enabled solutions for law departments and law firms.
mergers  robo  competition  newlaw  r&d 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
What the Elevate/LexPredict Deal Means + Interview with Dan Katz – Artificial Lawyer
LexPredict has always been pioneering and a lot of Katz’s work has been around litigation, creating algorithmic models based on legal data, and prediction. They’ve also had a lot of experience in running an AI business, as well as working with lawyers through their consulting engagements and generally being at the cutting edge of this sector.

And, it’s worth noting that if you were in the market to buy a North America-based legal AI company, then first there are not that many well-developed ones to choose from, and of those that really stand out, such as Kira Systems and Seal Software, they are probably a bit too big now for an ALSP takeover, unless Elevate wished to pay in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Whereas LexPredict is still only around 20 people – so a much more doable deal.

Moreover, LexPredict and Elevate had already worked together, most recently on matters for tech company Cisco, but the formal link between the two companies goes back to June 2017 when they jointly announced a working partnership.

That said, Elevate has also long worked with Kira (see response on how things will go now with them, below).

The deal also builds upon Elevate’s own suite of legal tech tools and capabilities, known as Cael (see graphic below). Some of these tools are more developed than others, but you can clearly see where Elevate has been heading.

So, the deal with a legal AI company perhaps was inevitable at some point, the questions perhaps were only when and which company. And, if that had not been possible, Elevate may well have then tried to build its own capability that could compete with the likes of Kira, Seal, Luminance, Ayfie, RAVN (iManage), Diligen, Eigen…..and more…..which arguably they had already started on by working closely with LexPredict.
merger  innovation  competition  robo  it 
november 2018 by JordanFurlong
Merging Traffic: Why Clio Acquired Lexicata - Attorney at Work
Clio is also slow-playing a referral network. Now, consider this: What space exists between leads and conversions? That amorphous netherworld where a law firm doesn’t want a case, but that same case would be valuable to another law firm. There is no existing system for managing those referrals between lawyers outside of ad hoc attorney networks. Enter Clio, with its baseline usership of 150,000 legal professionals. With the announcement of, and what appears to be a soft launch for, the Clio Referral Network, Clio users can now process referrals through Clio Grow or through the Clio website —

Not only is this another compelling reason to continue or start using Clio for case management, but it’s also an initial entree point into a market that is massively underserved. I predict that the Clio Referral Network will become the biggest play to come out of Clio’s spate of announcements at this year’s conference. If done correctly (meaning, if leads can be routed intelligently), the Clio Referral Network stands as a bridge for unlocking so much untapped law firm revenue that it’s staggering to think about. And, while at this moment, it doesn’t appear that Clio is looking to monetize this service, they could certainly do so, via a lead generation service model, if they wished.

There was, as there is at every legal conference in the universe, much discussion at Clio Cloud Conference about the latent revenue available to law firms pending a viable solution for the access to justice (#A2J) problem. But, frankly, the potential law firm revenue lost to poor referral management is also gigantic, and more readily solvable.
cloud  referrals  marketing  mergers  it  competition 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
ALSPs: Already Here & Looking Upmarket |
Traditionally, ALSPs have been regarded as opportunities for labor arbitrage, typically in margin-compressed practice areas of limited complexity. Reduced quality is (wrongly) considered the tradeoff for low-cost labor. “The idea that ALSPs can only support ‘simple’ workstreams is just not true… we continue to test the boundaries on what our ALSPs are capable of… we are well beyond using them just for the routine work,” says Chris Chaffin, Vice President (Legal), Corporate Securities and M&A; Head of Legal Operations McAfee, a leading computer security software company. McAfee uses ALSPs to support contract management, M&A diligence, revenue related contract abstraction work, an ongoing, large-scale, legacy migration project and compliance reviews of marketing and product releases.
competition  newlaw 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
LegalZoom GC Eyeing New Tech, Expansion Into Foreign Markets | Corporate Counsel
Can you be more specific about how you envision LegalZoom using blockchain technology?

When you think of small businesses that have to make regular payments or have to do regular invoicing and have to understand how to amend or renew contracts, putting them all into a smart system that tells them when and how to get that done so they’re not out there doing it themselves—that’s part of something the blockchain can do. But it can do a lot more. Right now we’re trying to figure out what, exactly, will a small business like. What will it need, use and pay for to make the contracting process a better value for the legal consumer?

What other new technologies are you excited about?

I’m excited about natural language processing and machine learning. These are technologies that we’re still exploring how they can be used. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think one day we might be able to ask questions of a very intelligent legal computer and get real answers to questions, questions right now that people don’t have answers to, questions right now where they’re having a hard time figuring out who can answer it and how much will it cost to answer it. If we can take that and make it more commoditized I think it will really change the face of the law. If we can figure out a way to harness the knowledge that most lawyers take to their grave and put it into an accessible, relatable medium, it’s something that can change the way consumers look at the law.
competition  access  innovation  it 
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
PwC Forms Alliance With US Firm, Furthering Big Four's Ambitions in Law | The American Lawyer
PwC has agreed to an alliance with U.S. immigration specialist law firm Fragomen in one of the most significant examples to date of the Big Four joining forces with a law firm. 
The alliance between PwC UK and Fragomen—which has more than 50 offices around the world and posted revenue of $577 million (£441 million) for 2017—will hand PwC a major foothold in the U.S. market, where the New York-based firm has 16 offices across all major financial centers.

The deal brings together two of the world’s top providers in the immigration sphere and will see PwC and Fragomen team up to jointly pitch for work from multinational clients. Significantly, the relationship will also enable shared clients to draw on PwC’s complementary services in tax, Social Security and global mobility consulting.
In a joint statement, the firms said the strategic alliance would see them collaborate and jointly market their immigration services, while also giving them “the ability to come together to provide integrated services to their respective clients.”

PwC’s global immigration practice covers 170 countries, while the 550-lawyer Fragomen has offices in more than 25 countries outside the U.S., including an eight-partner London
global  merger  immigration  accountants  competition 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
LegalZoom Announces $500 Million Investment, Among Largest in Legal Tech History |
In one of the largest single legal technology investments to date, on-demand, Web-based legal services company LegalZoom announced this morning that it has received a $500 million secondary investment led by Francisco Partners and GPI Capital. The investment will also include participation from one or more Franklin Templeton Investments funds and funds managed by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers.

LegalZoom did not release the percentage of the company the new investors were purchasing. However, the investment stands to significantly raise LegalZoom’s valuation from just a few years ago—in 2014, European private equity firm Permira acquired between 47 percent and 50 percent of the company for $200 million, a deal that valued LegalZoom at $425 million at the time. Bloomberg estimates the new valuation at $2 billion.

Through this deal, Permira will remain the company’s largest shareholder. Bryant Stibel retains its entire ownership stake in the company, while Kleiner Perkins and Institutional Venture Partners retain the majority of their ownership stakes. As part of the deal, Dipanjan Deb and Neil Tolaney from Francisco Partners and Khai Ha from GPI Capital will join LegalZoom’s board of directors.
competition  capital  access 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
LegalZoom Offers Smart Contracts with Pioneer Clause – Artificial Lawyer
And for anyone who is wondering where LegalZoom is now in terms of scale and client reach, check out these numbers: since its foundation over 15 years ago, LegalZoom has served over 4 million customers in the US and the UK, and now has over 1,200 employees.

The company also recently received a gigantic $500 million secondary investment led by Francisco Partners and GPI Capital, giving it huge support for further growth in the US and other key legal markets around the world.
blockchain  access  innovation  competition 
september 2018 by JordanFurlong
EY plots huge global expansion for Riverview - Legal Futures
Price: People are underestimating what the Big Four can bring to a model like Riverview

Riverview Law is set for a huge global expansion over the next five years once EY completes its acquisition, the partner who is to head the new business has said.

Chris Price, EY global head of alliances – tax, told Legal Futures that the plan was to increase staff numbers from 100 to 3,000.

The deal was unveiled last week and Mr Price is to become chief executive of EY Riverview.

He said EY’s major service centre in Bangalore – which is also EY’s centre for artificial intelligence and robotic process automation – would be involved “straight away so they can help us understand what further cost benefits they can bring to Riverview model”.

The plan is to use the UK as the base for the expansion, building out from the current Riverview headquarters on the Wirral to other places in the UK, although Mr Price said Brexit might mean EY needs a continental European centre as well.
innovation  competition  accountants  robo 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Riverviewey - For the in-house lawyer, by LBC Wise Counsel:
It looks like Riverview have done a great deal with EY and good luck to them. Setting up a business when the market is not established, funding it when it isn’t profitable and investing in creating a culture where people can thrive is a huge achievement. In my own small way, I have an insight into what that might mean. Well played Riverview, very well played indeed.

But for me the biggest aspect of the deal is not the validation of the Riverview model or the ideas that Karl has always cheerfully shared; it is that Riverview, if they do not want to, no longer have to sell to General Counsel. Now they have a world of CFOs on speed-dial.

The deal between EY and Riverview does not change the world, but it is indicative of the end of the search for simple answers from atop the tall fence and a wider acceptance that change is made on the ground, a business call, muddled, robust and imperfect, but what being in business is all about.
accountants  innovation  competition 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
The Big Four’s Recent Acquisition in the Legal Market is a Big Deal |
EY’s acquisition of Riverview Law has the potential of shaking up the ALSP market in two important ways. First, it may help facilitate increased acquisitions within the space. Many of the most prominent ALSPs are a decade or more old. Some of their founders, like Elevate’s Liam Brown, have publicly stated that they want to remain independent. For the others, their founders and early investors are likely looking for exit strategies. It has been rumored that several prominent ALSPs have been “for sale” for some time, with the word on the street indicating that differences with valuations are holding up sales. If this is true, the Riverview acquisition may help establish a baseline benchmark multiplier in the ALSP market. Once the firm’s sale price is known – and it will be known – it will help reinforce the revenue and profit multiples which are used to inform valuations. This should help make the market more efficient and, potentially, usher in more sales.
There is a second, potentially more important, reason why the Riverview acquisition is important in this space. Managers of existing ALSPs now face the daunting task of competing with a Big Four player. EY will be a fierce competitor for several reasons. Its size – at $31bn in revenue and 250,000 employees worldwide – is certainly important. Its client base and strong capabilities in process management will also be key. But most important is their brand. Trust is incredibly important in the legal services market – even in the lower value areas in which ALPS compete. Law departments, as the leading purchasers of legal services, are fundamentally in the business of risk mitigation. While the cost of service is important, so is the credibility of the vendor, and this is particularly true for ALSPs. By hiring an “alternative” provider law departments are taking two risks – first, that this new “alternative” approach can work and second, that the ALSP in question is the right vendor in the space. EY’s strong brand equity and familiarity, coupled with existing relationships with clients make them much better placed to make this argument to corporate leaders than Axiom, Elevate, UnitedLex or any of the other leading ALSPs. The Big Four have the unique benefit of being seen as a “safe pair of hands”. This will be a key competitive advantage.
accountants  newlaw  competition 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
A Big Four-Branded New Law Competitor Could Be a ‘Safe Disruptor’ | The American Lawyer
Grossmann said EY’s next step would be to scale up Riverview’s managed services capabilities to sell them to legal departments across the globe. That offering would be backed up by the 2,200 lawyers that EY has in more than 80 jurisdictions. Those lawyers, however, will mostly continue to provide traditional legal advisory services and not managed services.

Cornelius Grossmann
“What we want to do with Riverview is enter this as a new business line. We’re not changing what our 2,200 lawyers are doing, and we’re going to invest in more legal advisory capacity. We have more deals coming on in the next 12 months that will do legal advisory. We also will focus on alternative legal service providers where it makes sense,” Grossmann said. “We will hire into Riverview more people to scale up that business and scale up more support in our global delivery centers to support Riverview on the delivery of legal managed services.”
accountants  competition  newlaw 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Turf war: Law firm bosses see Big Four as ‘threat’ as they aggressively expand into legal sector | City A.M.
Managing partner of City law firm Fieldfisher Michael Chissick said: “They have very ambitious plans, that isn’t in doubt, audit is in decline and it is low margin, legal has been growing for the last 30 years and is high margin. They got it wrong several years ago and they have come back with better, clearer strategies. They are a threat to firms in my strata, I wouldn’t underestimate them in any way.”

Co-chief executive of $1bn law firm Eversheds Sutherland Lee Ranson has also noticed the audit firms' moves to muscle in on the legal turf, telling City A.M.: “The reality is they are already of a significant size, if you look outside the UK in some jurisdictions they are in the top five or 10 firms by size and in the UK now there is much more of an overt intent to expand into legal services.”

Read more: EY snaps up law business in bid to disrupt the legal sector

Nick Davis managing partner of City law firm Memery Crystal said the Big Four “will be very, very serious players in the market”.

“The Big Four will have a very large impact on the mid market. They have got such a strong client base and they are so good at integrating business services into their offering,” he said.
accountants  newlaw  competition 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
What the EY/Riverview Deal Means - The Bigger Picture | Artificial Lawyer
The legal market can, roughly, be divided into three areas of labour:

Primary legal labour (PLL) – lower value process work, such as document review, simple form filling, and ‘bureaucratic’ activity. (The work of paralegals and junior associates).

Secondary legal labour – more value-added work, such as putting together relatively standard contracts, overseeing some of the primary work, assembling materials for more experienced legal staff to make judgments upon. (The work of mid-level to senior associates).

Tertiary legal labour – this is the most high value work, it requires expert and experienced insight, high grade project management skills, it relies on judgment, and it is often about very close working relationships with the client, i.e. it’s very much about human skills too. (Classically the work of equity partners, though how many partners also slip into doing too much secondary labour varies from business to business. And inside a corporate this would be the work of GCs and senior inhouse counsel.)

The global economy and society as a whole needs all of this, just as we need primary, secondary and tertiary industries, from mining and agriculture, to sales, to management consulting. The bigger issue is: how should we divide up these levels of production to be the most effective and beneficial for society?

The EY/Riverview Law deal is clearly part of the primary legal labour section of this system. Traditionally, law firms have been offering a combination of all three levels of legal labour – which is one reason they are so pyramidal in structure.

If you strip out the bottom two levels you end up with what looks like a high-powered English barristers chambers, where everyone is expected to carry their own weight and you’re expected to be able to handle significant client matters very early on.

Looking at this the other way, what happens if we just cut off the bottom level and separate out the process, or primary legal labour (PLL) section? Well….then you have an LPO, an ALSP, a managed legal services arm and so on.
competition  accountants  newlaw  markets 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
EY Acquires Riverview Law: A Different Perspective
The ‘legal profession’ is becoming subsumed by the legal industry. Legal expertise is a part—but by no means the whole—of that industry. Consider that the EY-Riverview deal makes no mention of ‘legal expertise’ or ‘legal practice.’ It’s a big ‘legal’ story not focused on lawyers or law firms. That’s the real story of the EY-Riverview deal. The EY-Riverview headlines are a footnote to a tectonic industry change forged by corporate legal consumers. They are separating practice—an increasingly narrow band of regulated activities restricted to licensed attorneys—and delivery of legal services (everything else).
competition  accountants  newlaw 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Riverview Law Sees the World through EY – Slaw
Then new legal business:

is run by business people, not lawyers;
has a mix of investors who are not all lawyers, and who do not expect an immediate return on investment;
retains earnings and invests them for the long term;
creates unique customer experience that’s difficult for incumbent legal service providers to copy;
attracts customers based on a unique customer experience that does not walk out the doors of the business every evening;
does not attract customers based on personal relationships with individual lawyers who could leave at any time;
experiences massive growth over first five years of existence; and
is bought by Big Four firm because of the unique and successful mix of people, process and technology which creates a tangible, stable investment.
accountants  newlaw  competition 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
(3) What does the EY Riverview Law deal mean for EY, Riverview, law department customers, Elevate and law firms? | LinkedIn
For those who have asked me what I think this means for law firms, this is just one more step by the Big 4 into the upper-mid segment of the legal services market, playing to their strengths with the CFO, offering an alternative to law firms for work that benefits from streamlined/productized capabilities, e.g. M&A (and post M&A re-orgs and integration); commercial contracting, (rev rec and info sec); and compliance (such as GDPR or whatever is next for GDPR). Initially customers will be mostly outside the US, but even today with implications for US-headquartered companies. The top 50 or so law firms won't be materially affected by this market shift even as it gathers pace over time, but the AmLAw 51-200 will be. The CFO and audit committee have lots of influence on this work, and Legal, whether in-house or firm, is often reactive and often emphasizes individual expertise rather than systems that deliver outcomes. While GC will be unhappy to be nudged by the CFO to use the Big 4 for this kind of legal work, they’re increasingly not going to fall on their sword to oppose it.
outsourcing  competition  startups  innovation  accountants 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Into the mainstream: another big New Law exit sees EY acquire Riverview Law - Legal Business
Corporate legal departments are moving at a much faster pace, they are adopting technology much quicker, and law firms will be required to catch up because the customer will require them to catch up,’ he said.

Cornelius Grossman, EY global law leader, commented: ‘Legal managed services is one of the fastest growing segments of the legal market. This acquisition underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services; it will provide a springboard for current EY legal managed services offerings and bolster the capabilities that we can help deliver for EY clients.’

DLA’s decision to maintain an investment in Kim contrasts with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP), which sold its entire 62% investment in Lawyers On Demand (LOD) to buyout house Bowmark Capital in May.
accountants  managedlegal  innovation  competition 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
EY makes big move with Riverview Law acquisition - Legal Futures
Riverview launched in 2012 and its business model has evolved to focus on fixed-price managed services for in-house teams, dealing with their everyday legal work using its own technology platform, called Kim, through which it has been promoting the use of virtual assistants.

Riverview set up a separate business to own and exploit the technology, and this is not part of the EY deal. Riverview chief executive Karl Chapman, one of “many” shareholders in Kim Technologies, told Legal Futures that it was “not for sale”.

Riverview combines lawyers, client managers, data analysts and other professionals to manage instructions coming into a company’s legal team from start to finish, and provides quality, risk management and dashboard tools. The aim is to allow the in-house team to focus on key tactical and strategic legal work.

Chris Price, EY global head of alliances – tax, will become CEO of EY Riverview Law once the acquisition is complete at the end of this month.

Cornelius Grossmann, EY global law leader, said: “Legal managed services is one of the fastest growing segments of the legal market. This acquisition underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services; it will provide a springboard for current EY legal managed services offerings and bolster the capabilities that we can help deliver for EY clients.

“We recognise the expertise that Riverview Law has in this growing market area, which when married with the global EY footprint and legal understanding will help drive significant opportunities for EY clients.”

Mr Price added: “There is a need for a greater range of service options in the legal market that provides the right service, with the right quality, at the right price to the legal functions of EY clients.
accountants  managedlegal  innovation  competition  robo 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
The failed storefront revolution and the inner guild in all of us (059) | Legal Evolution
One of the reasons that the problem of access and affordability of legal services is still with us is that members of the legal profession are unable to agree on its root causes. Cf. Post 057 (discussing framework for solving very difficult problems). Thus, I don’t expect all readers to agree with my analysis on lessons learned from the storefront revolution.

In brief, I believe that the youthful and idealistic visions of Joel Hyatt, Len Jacoby, and Steven Meyers failed because, within the existing regulatory structure, they were unable to balance the needs of ordinary people, who were cash-strapped and intimidated by the legal system, with the needs of licensed lawyers seeking rewarding work for adequate pay.

Some practicing lawyers may resent this characterization, but Hyatt Legal Services and Jacoby & Meyers were/are professional service firms.  The fundamentals of this model are explained by David Maister in his classic book, Managing the Professional Service Firm (1993).  Obviously, a professional service firm can only succeed if it can operate profitably.  Yet, that outcome is only possible if a firm’s management can simultaneously succeed in two markets: the market for clients and the market for talent. See Post 010 (discussing model in the context of managed legal services).

The graphic below depicts the Maister model:
access  regulation  governance  competition  ethics 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
LegalZoom Announces $500 Million Investment, Among Largest in Legal Tech History | Legaltech News
In one of the largest single legal technology investments to date, on-demand, Web-based legal services company LegalZoom announced this morning that it has received a $500 million secondary investment led by Francisco Partners and GPI Capital. The investment will also include participation from one or more Franklin Templeton Investments funds and funds managed by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers.

LegalZoom did not release the percentage of the company the new investors were purchasing. However, the investment stands to significantly raise LegalZoom’s valuation from just a few years ago—in 2014, European private equity firm Permira acquired between 47 percent and 50 percent of the company for $200 million, a deal that valued LegalZoom at $425 million at the time. Bloomberg estimates the new valuation at $2 billion.
Through this deal, Permira will remain the company’s largest shareholder. Bryant Stibel retains its entire ownership stake in the company, while Kleiner Perkins and Institutional Venture Partners retain the majority of their ownership stakes. As part of the deal, Dipanjan Deb and Neil Tolaney from Francisco Partners and Khai Ha from GPI Capital will join LegalZoom’s board of directors.
startups  competition  innovation 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
Legal Market Landscape Report (058) | Legal Evolution
The State Bar of California recently underwent a reorganization that separated the regulatory and trade association functions.  The State Bar retains regulatory authority while the California Lawyers Association (CLA) is the new voluntary bar that manages CLE and educational activities. The State Bar Act of 2017, which mandated these changes, also required transition to a Board comprised entirely of Trustees appointed by the State Bar’s oversight bodies – the California Supreme Court, the Legislature and the Governor.  The Trustees were formerly elected by the membership.  The reconstituted board will consist of seven attorneys and six non-attorneys to be appointed for four year terms.  Amidst these changes, the Trustees’ approved a strategic plan that required a comprehensive study of the market they are charged with regulating. My report is part of this effort.
regulation  governance  access  competition  innovation 
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
Alternative Legal Service Providers: Changing buyer perception | Answers On
Who are the ALSPs?
This is still a developing, fragmented market. We’ve identified five main types of providers and an estimated market size in the table below. In addition to the legal Current use cases Areas of potential growth Law firm Corporation process outsourcing companies and e-discovery service and document review service providers that form the largest segment of the market, we see insourcing and staffing companies and the Big Four accounting and audit firms as large parts of the market. Smaller shares of the total $8.4 billion market are accounted for by law firm-owned affiliates and an emerging set of Managed Legal Service providers.
productivity  laterals  competition 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Forum Magazine: Dead Weight and “Disappeared Revenue” – The Legal Industry’s Overcapacity Problem
“You have all these data points which reinforce each other – there are fewer hours-per-lawyer billed than years ago, the growth in lawyer head count is outpacing growth in demand – and you start to see this overcapacity problem for what it is,” says Bruce MacEwen, publisher of Adam Smith, Esq. and a highly regarded legal industry consultant. “And with 110,000 lawyers populating the Am Law 200 firms, that’s about $8.2 billion in essentially disappeared revenue each year.”

How We Got Here
If you look at the chart that shows the balance between lawyer growth, demand growth and productivity over the past several years, you can see the path that the legal industry has been on. Since 2012, as the chart shows, demand growth, though often fluctuating moderately and dipping often into negative territory, stayed pretty reliably in the range between -1% and +1% growth per quarter.

Lawyer growth, on the other hand, remained steady, though moving down from 2% quarterly growth to the 1% range in recent quarters. Still, that means even at the slower pace, the hiring continues even if the client business isn’t there to meet it – which is why productivity, the end result of the interplay of these two factors, has been on a general downward trend over the last several years and in fact, hit historic lows in Q4 2017.
productivity  laterals  competition 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
As Big Law Floods Regional Markets, Will Local Firms Sink or Swim? | The American Lawyer
While some smaller law firms have been absorbed, Esposito said, the number of local and regional firms has not significantly diminished.

“For those clients who need lawyers with a specific type or heightened level of expertise or national and/or global office locations, a large firm with a higher rate structure is the right choice, and often a necessity,” Esposito said in an email. “On the other hand, there are many clients whose needs do not require a certain expertise or geographic legal presence, and those clients have more options, often directing their work to local/regional law firms with lower, more flexible rates.”

As a result, she said, midsize firms have had the opportunity to “flourish,” increasing in size and client base.

In Charlotte, a number of large regional firms were acquired by larger market entrants, said Huse, who previously worked as an in-house law firm marketing professional. According to ALM Intelligence, the number of NLJ 250 law firms with a Charlotte office has more than doubled since 2001. But the local firms that stayed independent were able to use their rates as a point of competition, Huse said.

“Our rates are much different than the New York law firms,” Huse said. “It all boils down to those rates and relationships.”

To maintain the relationships, she said, firms must “take the pulse of the market” and figure out what niche client need they can fill.
regional  firms  competition 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Can Law Firms Gain a Sustainable Advantage with AI? - Prism Legal
I find the views of Ed, Alex, and Noah persuasive: either by building unique AI systems (or products) or by harnessing huge amounts of data and applying expertise in training, I do think that larger firms can gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Kevin raises a good point though about aggregating data. I would need, however, to understand the ownership model of the training in more detail to comment further on that.

I see a future where it’s even possible that firm-built AI tools or big-data-powered + custom-trained commercial AI tools become a virtuous circle. What does that mean? Think about high-end practices today. Many firms can handle a deal or litigation but only a handful have the experience to handle the biggest and most complex deals and litigation. They tend to get that work and therefore maintain the experience advantage over time. Why won’t AI be the same and create the same advantages?

Update (21 May 2018) – I shared my blog post with Hugh Simons by email and, with his permission, I share here his reply to this post:

I think it’s terrific that the Twitter discussion focuses on differentiation. It’s great that all agree that this is the key issue. And I’ve no monopoly on truth, so I respect that others’ views differ. I read the counter argument to my point being that the customization of the 3rd party applications will create differentiation. This is entirely logical and reasonable. I confess I don’t foresee this happening though. Why? Because it didn’t happen when people made the same claim with other technologies I’ve seen over the last 25 years–it didn’t with ERP systems (SAP, Oracle, etc.) for industrial companies, on-line banking solutions for retail banks, or e-discovery solutions for law firms. Rather, AI will become table stakes–a must have for sure, but not a differentiator. Hence, the time to invest is when the ‘must have’ becomes a ‘must have’, which is later rather than sooner.
robo  competition  differentiation 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
Deloitte Will Acquire Part of US Law Firm in New Legal Venture | The American Lawyer
The British arm of Deloitte is announcing a “first of its kind” alliance with U.S. immigration law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden, as the Big Four accounting firms continue their push into legal services.

In addition to the alliance, which gives BAL access to Deloitte’s scale and expertise outside of the U.S., Deloitte UK will acquire the law firm’s non-U.S. business, which extends across eight different countries.

According to BAL managing partner Jeremy Fudge, the firm’s clients—primarily multinational corporations dealing with immigration challenges—were clamoring for the arrangement, which will take effect July 9.

“The notion of the alliance is being able to provide the very best of both organizations,” he said. “To bring together the best immigration law firm in the U.S. and the best consulting firm in the mobility space is really game-changing.”

For Deloitte, the appeal was to be able to provide heightened U.S. services to its international clients. According to Deloitte partner and global immigration specialist Kalvinder Dhillon, these clients “articulated to us again and again” the increased need for “someone in the U.S. who can provide U.S. services.”

BAL was established in San Francisco in 1980, and the firm’s office there is home to about 300 employees. But after combining two North Texas offices in March, its newly-opened location in Dallas suburb Richardson is expected to reach 320 employees in the next year.

Most of the firm’s roughly 100 attorneys are based in the U.S., where it also has offices in Houston, Austin, Boston, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

Globally, BAL has offices in eight different countries: the U.K., China, South Africa, Mozambique, Dubai, Australia, Singapore and Brazil.

The arrangement with Deloitte was about a year in the making.

“It was a bit like a long date,” Dhillon said.

Much of the work involved ensuring that the alliance did not run afoul of bar rules prohibiting Deloitte’s American entity from providing legal services. Deloitte U.S. is party neither to the alliance nor the acquisition of the overseas offices.

“Our primary responsibility was to make sure that the strategic alliance met those requirements,” Dhillon said.

In 2014, Deloitte entered into a similar arrangement with Canadian immigration law firm Guberman Garson, bringing the Toronto-based firm into its network of global immigration firms. The firm has grown since the tie-up, acquiring an immigration law practice in Vancouver to join existing offices in Toronto and Calgary in 2017.
accountants  competition 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
An Unlikely Source Stirs Debate Over Avvo Legal Services | Above the Law
The IARDC report addresses these concerns head on. It proposes a framework that would regulate both lawyers who participate in for-profit referral services and the services themselves. The framework would have two primary components:

Amend the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to allow lawyers to participate in qualified lawyer-client matching services and to pay the service “a fee calculated as a percentage of legal fees earned by the lawyer to whom the service has referred or matched a matter.” Note that while services such as Avvo typically characterize the fee paid by the lawyer as a marketing fee, this proposal would explicitly allow a percentage of the legal fee.
Create a new rule providing for the qualification and registration of lawyer-client matching services. Services would register with and be regulated by the ARDC and would have to meet certain standards, including that it will not interfere with an attorney’s independent professional judgment or require the attorney to violate the professional conduct rules.
The ARDC report suggests that there is some hypocrisy in the ethics opinions that prohibit participation in Avvo Legal Services. It points out that most states permit lawyers to participate in non-profit referral services and pay referral fees to those services. Many of those non-profit services are run by the same bar associations that have opined against for-profit services.

“Despite the fact that some bar associations have adopted flat-fee referral service approaches similar to Avvo Legal Services, many states either have prohibited their lawyers from participating in for-profit services like Avvo Legal Services, or have not proposed any modifications to their rules,” the report says.

The rationale for this discrepancy, the report says, “is the purported concern that a for-profit company will affect a lawyer’s independence and will control the lawyer-client relationship.” It notes that the same concerns exist for pre-paid legal services plans — perhaps to an even greater extent — yet states permit lawyers to participate in these plans.

The report recommends addressing this concern by directly regulating the referral service. This approach, it says, “would better protect clients, cultivate attorney-client transactions, and maintain the integrity of the legal profession.”
regulation  competition  fee-splitting  ethics  governance 
june 2018 by JordanFurlong
UnitedLex-GE Deal: Barbarians at Big Law's Gate (or ... Meh)? |
According to the survey (see chart below), there is much more cross-over in the value proposition being presented between ALSPs and internal legal departments than that between ALSPs and law firms. This would suggest that, currently, ALSPs are more likely to take work that was already in-sourced than to steal work that was previously being sent to outside counsel.

In-house leaders, the survey results demonstrate, turn to outside counsel, not for reasons of cost or efficiency, but when they need legal experts to help them navigate complex, high stakes issues. Law firms leaders would be wise to take a hard look at how they stack up to their competition in terms of expertise and experience.

Does this mean New Law is not a threat to Big Law? I’d argue that law firms still should watch their backs.

Market Free-for-All

Axiom, another prominent ALSP, recently launched a Brexit AI tool. Commenting about the move on Twitter, Ron Friedmann, a partner at Fireman & Co. and a Fellow in The College of Law Practice Management, wryly mused whether Axiom was taking business that law firms never wanted in the first place.

But, there are law firms that want that business. Mayer Brown, for example, launched a Brexit toolkit in September 2016 and Hogan Lovells offers one too. And, don’t forget about the Big Four. Deloitte also wants in on the Brexit business.

That said, Friedmann’s point is well-taken. Some firms get so wrapped-up in the myth of their unique ability to provide superior expertise that begin to believe they are beneath focusing on legal solutions that are deemed “low value” or “commoditized.”

To those firms, I offer a word of caution. Nearly every market has room for elite, high-end service providers, but not every firm has the capacity to fill that role. Ignoring the day-to-day concerns of law departments to focus solely on bet-the-company matters is a risky proposition.
competition  process  innovation  firms  clients 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
Look Out, Big Law: Global Companies May Favor Smaller Firms in the Future | Corporate Counsel
“The high level of interest in [smaller] providers is driven by the desire of companies to engage service providers with a specialized skill set, to get access to the right talent, while being cost effective,” Stefan Zorn, vice president of customer success at Globality, told Corporate Counsel in an email.

The survey asked respondents about the top challenges they experienced with their current law firms. Chief among them was cost, which 48 percent cited as a problem. The next most-cited issues were lack of responsiveness at 36 percent and lack of familiarity with the client’s business at 35 percent.

Zorn said that in order to stay ahead of the game, big firms should try to focus on curbing fee inflation, while also making sure they remain quite attentive to individual client’s needs.

“Companies often highlight that they like the personalized experience and top-level attention from senior lawyers that smaller providers can bring to them, which is something that larger law firms need to determine how to emulate,” said Zorn.

And it appears that corporate executives are finding some of the qualities they like in smaller firms and providers. The top reason that respondents said they would shift work from a larger firm to a small- or medium-sized firm is for a stronger value proposition.

The report also asked executives about their anticipated legal needs and the areas with which they will need the most assistance from outside counsel. The majority—some 51 percent — said they would need the most help with regulatory compliance in the next five years. The report pointed out that this is an area where choosing small- and medium-sized firms around the globe over big firms could be advantageous for multinational companies that want local regulatory expertise.

“When we work in remote locations where big firms don’t have teams in place, it is better to go directly to a small local firm for support. … With larger firms, you wouldn’t get the same level of attention,” Maria Varsellona, chief legal officer of Nokia, is quoted as saying in the report.

clients  solos  competition 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
ALSPs Coming-of-Age Is Putting In-House Counsel in the Driver Seat of Industry Restructuring | Corporate Counsel
There’s a segment of Am Law 100 work that legal departments won’t take in-house. It’s the work that an individual corporation doesn’t do often or that bets the company. It’s probably about half of the work that the Am Law does today. The other half? It’s going in-house over the next 20 years. One can legitimately argue about the percentage of work that will go in-house over what time frame. But it’s a moot point. It’s inarguable that the displaced volume is of a scale sufficient to precipitate a major industry restructuring. Most law firm leaders know this and that their firms have to change. The problem is that rank-and-file partners have no motivation to change; they don’t feel sufficiently financially, or otherwise, at risk. As one managing partner said to me recently: how do you tell a room full of millionaires that they have to change? The answer is, of course, that you don’t. Rather, you orchestrate a process that lets them come to the realization on their own that their evolving in response to the changing market is vital to their leaving a dynamic firm to the next generation. But that’s a longer topic for another day.
clients  competition  firms  process 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
Law Firms Are Investing in Tech Before It Overtakes Them | The American Lawyer
But partnering with LegalSifter was also a recognition by the firm that it could offer its clients more than just legal advice.

“We do find that clients come to us principally for our legal advice, but they are also asking us to help with their legal operations,” Touzel says.

And Touzel believes law firms are in a better position than legal outsource providers to help with legal operations because clients usually want to work with one provider for all their needs—the ever-desirable one-stop shop.

Of course, TLT isn’t the only U.K. firm investing in AI contract technology. In 2016, Slaughter and May invested an undisclosed amount in Luminance, an AI contract review platform used by Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and a host of other firms around the globe. Rob Sumroy, a partner at Slaughter and May and head of its technology and outsourcing practices, says the firm is “at the forefront of teaching the AI software.”

“We’re not software developers, but the market intelligence and machine learning has been driven by us,” he boasts.

For Slaughter and May, however, it’s not just a one-way street. While the law firm provides subject-matter expertise for Luminance’s development, it can also tap into the Luminance team’s knowledge and experience to further drive innovation in its own offices.

“There is a lot to be said about learning from experts in other industries, both in terms of what they do and how we can harness their expertise to improve our business,” Sumroy says. The firm is looking to improve not only through technology but also through “process improvements, agile resourcing models or, more generally, finding new creative solutions to our clients’ business problems,” Sumroy adds. But it is still keeping a watchful eye on technologies that will provide real benefits for its attorneys.

“AI, along with blockchain and data analytics, is one of the key areas of focus now and definitely provides lots of opportunities,” Sumroy says.
it  robo  firms  competition  newlaw  clients 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
Accounting for legal work | Canadian Lawyer Mag
His comments hint at the challenges ahead for Canadian law firms as the Big Four — KPMG, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers — ramp up their legal services globally. The Big Four now boast almost 9,000 lawyers practising law in their stables.

It is naïve to think that North America is immune to the winds of change sweeping much of the legal world. It’s more a question of when, not if.

We are entering a new era where “co-opetition” will likely become the norm. One day, law firms will compete with the Big Four for work, and the next day they will work alongside them solving clients’ business problems. The impact on referral networks among the two professions, recruiting and client services will be profound. It will challenge legal management not just at big law firms but mid-sized and regional firms that currently covet a cozy relationship with their local Big Four office. It is also opening new career paths for lawyers.

German lawyer Cornelius Grossmann, global law leader at EY, is one of the people driving that change. He heads a team of 2,100 lawyers.

In five years, EY has expanded its legal offering to 82 jurisdictions from 23. “We have generated double-digit growth for the last five years and plan to grow even more aggressively,” Grossmann says.

“The potential for growth is mostly limited by our ability to get top people to join us,” he says, noting that the market is “very competitive for good talent and we are competing with the best law firms for the same talent. It is a challenge, but we are getting there.”
accountants  competition 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
GE Inks Legal Outsourcing Deal With UnitedLex, Eying Big Savings |
The UnitedLex partnership will save GE between $40 and $50 million and allow it to repurpose as many as 75 lawyers, with some of those transitioning to UnitedLex, according to one person familiar with the deal.

“GE’s legal team embraced early the use of data, analytics and automation to improve our delivery of legal services, and this new enterprise services engagement with UnitedLex is a big step forward in continuing our digital transformation,” William “Mo” Cowan, GE’s vice president of global litigation and legal policy of GE, said in a statement.

“UnitedLex understands our strategic objectives and challenges, and is committed to creating efficiencies that will deliver business impact and create more value for GE and its shareholders,” Cowan said.

Daniel Reed, the CEO of UnitedLex, said the GE deal, along with partnerships it plans with other corporate law departments, “renders traditional models obsolete.”

By working with UnitedLex, companies’ corporate law departments are lowering both their risk profile and cost structure, he said.

“We have a lot invested in the evolution of the law business and we have a long-term view of it,” Reed said.

A ‘Revolution?’
As a result of the deal, which touches every active GE matter, GE has abandoned its pre-existing panel of legal technology vendors, according to Christine Hasiotis. Late last year, shortly before GE and UnitedLex expanded their relationship in January, Hasiotis moved from GE, where she was director of the company’s legal support solutions, to become a senior vice president and deputy general counsel at UnitedLex.
clients  process  competition  innovation  outsourcing 
march 2018 by JordanFurlong
A Look at What's in Store for GE's In-House Counsel After UnitedLex Deal | Corporate Counsel
On Thursday, Corporate Counsel asked William Deckelman, executive vice president and general counsel of DXC Technology Co., which made a larger scale but similar deal with UnitedLex last December, whether that partnership has met his expectations.

“We’ve actually exceeded them,” Deckelman said. “I am a believer.” UnitedLex delivered on its promise of a 30 percent savings, and more, he said.

DXC expects to save $1 billion overall, with additional savings over the next five years. The company was able to implement a new digital contracting solution that can process more than 65 million contracts per year, as well as a central hub for all department communications, such as project management initiatives, training materials, and team calendars. New technology also helps with global monitoring, reporting and management of outside counsel spend.

Deckelman acknowledged the change was a culture shock that required a lot of communication, both with his superiors and his legal team.

Before the contract, DXC had around 525 lawyers, he said. Now it has 125. Another 225 lawyers “rebadged” and joined UnitedLex, but still work with DXC.

“We are doing the same amount of high-quality work with 40 percent fewer resources,” he said. “The productivity is much greater than I even expected.” The lawyers did not take salary cuts at UnitedLex, he added.

A few in-house attorneys quit, rather than join UnitedLex, he said, but there was no major attrition. “This is not for everyone,” Deckelman explained. “People have different aspirations in their careers, but by and large I think the team is happy and engaged and energetic.”

He said he has not received one phone call from a disgruntled employee.

The reason the Tysons Corner, Virginia, company can now do more and do it for less is because UnitedLex has “the technology platforms, the process discipline and the project management discipline to run that kind of operation,” Deckelman said. “They are very focused.”

The change has worked well for most in-house attorneys, he said, because it’s opened up a new world of opportunities for them. “They are seeing best practices not just here but in the entire market, and they see a career trajectory with long-term alternatives,” he said.
competition  process  innovation  clients  newlaw 
march 2018 by JordanFurlong
KPMG Rolls Out AI-Driven Tax Doc Review With IBM Watson | Artificial Lawyer
The Big Four firm said in a statement that ‘solutions utilising Watson now available include the KPMG Contract Abstraction Tool for IFRS 16 lease accounting compliance and KPMG Research Tax Credit Services with Watson’.

The move signals that now all members of the Big Four have made public announcements on their use of AI for contract and document review.

Previous examples covered by Artificial Lawyer can be seen here in relation to EY, PwC, and Deloitte. In some cases the focus has been on tax and accounting doc review, in others it has moved into the risk, compliance and legal space.

However, what is certain now is that the Big Four, as a powerful and influential global group, have now publicly embraced AI technology to automate many of the process tasks they conduct for clients.

Undoubtedly this will not be lost on the corporates they advise and in turn will ramp up pressure on law firms, and smaller accountants, to provide at least an equivalent level of automation.
robo  tax  accountants  competition 
march 2018 by JordanFurlong
“NewLaw and BigLaw are stronger together”: Stephen Allen on Hogan Lovells’ flexible lawyering partnership with Elevate – Legal IT Insider
And what do you mean by ‘understanding of client service?’

They understand timeliness and it was important to us to have a global reach. Initially this service is for the UK market, but the intention is that we’d like to expand it globally, and having somebody who operates globally is important.

Tell us how your Elevated Lawyers pool will be used?

They’ve got an initial pre-approved pool. We have, through our own guidelines, a set of criteria that we require and Elevate will only initially connect us with people who meet our criteria. The intention is, over time we’d like to use this as an opportunity to work with our alumni. We spend a lot of money and time training people and maintaining that relationship is important. We know the chemistry is there and we will give an option to our alumni to join and Elevate will help us look after that alumni, which involves a lot of work in keeping them connected, organised and looked after.

Clients are always looking for access to help on secondments. There are times when we can fulfil that and times when it’s a challenge – we might have someone, but clients might want a nine year GDPR lawyer and we have a six year privacy lawyer. This partnership gives us an opportunity to offer something additional to our clients. But also, there are times when we’re busy on a project such as GDPR or Brexit, when for a condensed period of time there will be a lot of demand for the same sort of resources and the ability to call on this pool will be very important and will give us a pool with a defined criteria.

The key thing for me is that this demonstrates that both NewLaw and BigLaw are stronger when they work together – and Elevate would agree with that.
firms  competition  newlaw  innovation  process  offshoring 
february 2018 by JordanFurlong
Evidence: Why BigLaw firms must start remaking now - Remaking Law Firms
Traditional law firms based on partnership, lawyer-centricty, leverage, and input-based pricing (known as BigLaw numbering at least 100,000 in the five regions) .
Remade law firms (probably better expressed as BigLaw firms in the process of being remade such as Allen & Overy and Seyfarth Shaw – both of which are featured in Remaking Law Firms).
NewLaw firms based on a quite different business model to BigLaw (read these posts for a deeper understanding of the range of NewLaw providers such Elevate, Conduit (recently acquired by Deloitte), and LOD).
Standalone automated legal services (based on information technology and artificial intelligence such as Lex Machina and KIM).
Legal departments rendering a wide range of legal services to their owner corporation.
Our study has identified five mega-forces that will drive the supply and demand sides of the legal service markets over the coming 10+ years. These forces are shaping the nature and volume of clients’ needs and how these needs will be met.

Hyper-competition. Hyper-competition will cause changes in industry structure, including clearer delineation of strategic groups and proliferation in the number and type of legal services providers, and intensifying supply-side competitive dynamics.
De-regulation. De-regulation will progressively reduce, even remove, restrictions on almost all aspects of the ownership of providers and the ways in which legal services are delivered.
Client transformation. The speed and intensity with which clients transform the ways in which they meet their legal needs will occur more rapidly than most anticipate.
Exponential technology. The impact of technology as a substitute, not just a complement, for lawyers’ services will be more dramatic than most predict.
BigLaw firm inertia. In the main BigLaw firms will be slow to develop the capabilities in change management and innovation that are needed to remain profitable in the conditions expected after 2025.
firms  future  competition  innovation 
february 2018 by JordanFurlong
"Formidable" - the Big Four accountants are a huge competitive risk to law firms, says report - Legal Futures
Citi Bank, with Hildebrandt Consulting, said the Big Four “have the scale to disrupt the legal services market, but they have not yet built the legal brand to compete for high-quality law firm business”.

Their main progress appeared to be in continental Europe and the Asia Pacific region, the report said.

But it continued: “The sheer depth and reach of the Big Four potentially makes them formidable competitors… They are very experienced at developing multi-point client relationships and ‘solutions’ to clients’ business issues.

“While this is not the first time that the Big Four have built legal services businesses, this time they are building them as part of an integrated service offering rather than a stand-alone product… They are currently growing from a relatively low base but achieving impressive growth rates in mature markets.

“More clarity as to their product offering and more effective coordination across geography may be needed to achieve real success. Still, their renewed interest and recent progress in offering legal services make them a market force to watch.”
accountants  competition 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
Pittsburgh firms team up to offer AI contract review software to clients
Two Pittsburgh-based businesses—the law firm Horty, Springer, & Mattern and legal tech company LegalSifter—are teaming up to provide clients with new artificial intelligence contract review software.

“It’s the next logical step in the use of artificial intelligence in the legal profession,” Dan Mulholland, senior partner at Horty Springer, says in a release. “Clients would like a legal review of every contract they sign, but to do so the review has to be affordable and aligned with the speed of business. Artificial intelligence, with embedded guidance designed by lawyers, is the only way to make that consistently possible.”

Starting in a few weeks, a subscription service will be available to clients who want to use the online software.

To work, LegalSifter combines two forms of artificial intelligence. First, the program uses natural language processing to read contracts for particular terms and clauses. Once the software has flagged appropriate sections of the contract, it places pre-programmed comments or preferred terms from Horty Springer attorneys.
competition  robo  collaboration 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
2018 Prediction - Lawyers Must Change How They Work - Prism Legal
Beyond AI and innovation, many approaches with less PR sizzle arguably have more impact short term. Specifically, firms can do more and better knowledge management (KM), legal project management (LPM), practice technologies, and process improvement. In my consulting, I saw more firms in 2017, even some in the top 20, invest in all of these. I expect that trend to accelerate in 2018. It may be less sexy than AI or innovation, but done right, we know all these techniques can deliver value to clients quickly. These techniques too, however, require that lawyers change how they work.
process  innovation  competition 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
The Law Firm Disrupted: A Big Change for 2018? |
Most law firm market observers by now understand the role alternative legal service providers can play. They offer a combination of labor-price arbitrage with a consultancy style view of implementing technology and processes to more smoothly solve client problems.

Pressure to keep profits high has traditionally constrained law firms from winning on price—something they usually are loathe to admit they try to do. And while some firms have found success with technology and process, it remains a relatively small portion of even those firms’ business.

Teaming up with a New Law entity would help law firms introduce both these services more smoothly to existing client relationships.

Meanwhile, New Law types often struggle against a perception that their services can be low-quality (think outsourcers) and only make economic sense for repetitive problems. So, what’s in it for them?

“Credentials,” MacEwen said. “And people who do have things like client relationships.”

MacEwen added that the alternative service providers he has spoken with often say they have stopped marketing to law firms and have instead been going straight to clients themselves. An introduction from a trusted law firm lawyer would go a long way toward winning that sales pitch, he said.

But perhaps in moments of change, the question should be framed differently. Rather than law firms thinking, “What’s in it for us?,” perhaps they should be asking, “What’s in it for our clients?”
newlaw  innovation  competition 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
Deloitte makes long-awaited assault on legal market | News | Law Society Gazette
Deloitte will also extend its existing legal services in employment law, tax litigation and immigration.

Matt Ellis, managing partner for tax and legal at Deloitte, said the aim is not to replicate a traditional legal practice but instead to initiate a different approach.

‘We’re planning to use our technology and advisory skills to transform legal services and help address many of the challenges lawyers, whether in practice or in-house, are facing in today’s increasingly complex legal environment,’ said Ellis. ‘By automating repetitive processes and completing routine tasks in a fraction of the time, lawyers will be able to spend more time on specialist areas.’

New services will be on offer early this year and Deloitte will apply for an alternative business structure licence. The company says it is ‘investing in new staff’ but has not given a figure for how many lawyers will be recruited.
accountants  clementi  competition  innovation 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
"We don’t want to replicate a traditional law firm" - Deloitte announces ABS move - Legal Futures
Deloitte is to become the final member of the Big Four accountancy firms to set up an alternative business structure (ABS), it announced today.
accountants  clementi  competition  innovation 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
Deep Dive into Axiom (036) How Innovation Diffuses in Legal Industry
Founded in late 1999, Axiom was likely the legal industry’s first venture-backed start-up.  Now, 18 years later, with over 2,000 employees in 17 offices in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia, nearly 50% of the Fortune 100 as clients, and $300 million+ in annual revenue with continued double-digit growth, Axiom has become the leading exemplar of the NewLaw sector.  Indeed, in the graphic above, which is used by Axiom professionals to explain the evolving legal market, the orange in the bar on the right is what makes the “New Model” new.
firms  innovation  competition  flex  robo 
december 2017 by JordanFurlong
What's a lawyer now? - Remaking Law Firms
Fewer lawyers will have traditional ‘practice’ careers, and many will work in hybrid practice/delivery roles that require a combination of practice and delivery skills. Legal delivery is not simply about lawyers anymore, and ‘just knowing the law’ is an insufficient toolkit for lawyers to function effectively in the new legal marketplace. Likewise, other professionals and paraprofessionals—not to mention machines—are now key providers of legal services. Legal culture must embrace these collaborators, not encourage the maintenance of regulatory roadblocks. Those barriers are already being circumvented with the full support of consumers eager for greater access, more efficient delivery, more customer-centric, and lower priced legal service providers.
Law is rife with dualities. Lawyers represent two clients simultaneously–those that retain them and society at large. Legal ‘practice’ refers to the core differentiated judgments and skills (trial work, M&A advice) that lawyers provide, and ‘legal delivery’ is the business of delivering legal services in a more efficient manner (think: ‘legal operations’). The legal ‘profession’ focuses on practice, and the ‘legal industry’—pegged at $1 Trillion annual global spend—refers to the business of delivering legal services. Legal culture is rooted in a mindset of ‘lawyers versus non-lawyers’ where lawyers are dominant and set the rules. But the marketplace is demanding a very different culture, one where the profession is subsumed by an efficient, consumer-centric delivery. And if this sounds foreign, consider the metamorphosis of medi
regulation  governance  competition  robo 
december 2017 by JordanFurlong
Start-Up PartnerVine + PwC to Sell Automated Legal Contracts – Artificial Lawyer
Legal tech start-up PartnerVine has launched an automated legal contract market for corporates, in conjunction with Big Four firm, PwC.

The Swiss venture is the brainchild of Jordan Urstadt, who previously worked as a general counsel and earlier in his career as an associate at White & Case.

The core offering is a marketplace of automated contractual documents covering a wide range of needs a company may have. The first major seller in the marketplace is the Swiss division of PwC, which has created a range of contracts for sale based on the Exari automation platform.

It is expected that lawyers from other firms will also place automated contracts on the market place in the coming months. The automated contract templates appear to be very reasonably priced, with an automated employment agreement for CHF 219 ($223) and an automated NDA for use during M&A priced at CHF 99 ($100).

Urstadt told Artificial Lawyer that he believed this was the best way for legal tech to ‘add value’ to the work of inhouse legal teams, i.e. to make the completion of standard contracts, faster, cheaper and more efficient.
startup  robo  accountants  it  competition 
november 2017 by JordanFurlong
No Pain, No Gain for Law Firms as Client Demands Get More Extreme | The American Lawyer
More companies have begun expecting law-firm bidders to offer once unthinkable commitments that go beyond the scope of traditional legal work. These can include:

• Access to law firms’ work product gleaned from other client matters, in the form of “de-identified” data related to litigation or transactional activity.

• Associates on loan or “seconded” to clients’ law departments—with the outside firm bearing the expense.

• Push-the-envelope alternative fee arrangements, including, sometimes, giveaway legal work.

• Deep-dive figures on the firms’ diversity, including questions related to credit and compensation allocated to women and minorities.

• “Hotlines” for free, instant answers to client questions.

Lauren Goldman, an appellate group leader at Mayer Brown who is on the firm’s management committee, said that when it comes to requests from prospective clients during bidding competitions: “We don’t reject anything outright.”

“In the ever-shifting leverage dynamic, it is increasingly becoming a clients’ market,” said Brad Karp, chairman of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Like ‘Monopoly Money’
Companies’ expectations have changed for firms responding to requests for proposals, making pitches for individual assignments or hoping to sit on a bench of preferred outside firms. The race to offer “value adds”—services beyond the traditional scope of legal work—is part of that, with the overarching recognition by both sides that clients have the upper hand.

“These law firms have no choice. It’s now completely a buyers’ market,” said Mark Smolik, DHL Supply Chain Americas general counsel.

Law firms “are feeling more downward pressure than they have ever felt,” said Kent Zimmermann, a legal consultant at the Zeughauser Group, who also called the state of affairs a “buyers’ market.”
clients  service  competition 
november 2017 by JordanFurlong
New Rivalries Emerge as Law Firms Race to Innovate | The American Lawyer
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe launched a complementary online interview tool powered by HotDocs that lets companies “stress test” their readiness for the law. DLA Piper made an app that allows users to download the text of the law onto a phone. Hogan Lovells’ app asks seven questions of its users to determine a basic understanding of their readiness for GDPR. (Of the three, Orrick’s is the most advanced.)

Meanwhile, alternative legal services provider Axiom Law has developed what it hopes will be a more end-to-end product. Axiom’s solution uses artificial intelligence to review contracts; provides a staff of human lawyers to negotiate new provisions; and guides their work using a GDPR-specific workflow management system. Consilio, the e-discovery and document review provider, wants clients to know it has tailored its document review technology product for the GDPR.
robo  competition  innovation  it 
november 2017 by JordanFurlong
PwC's ILC legal To Challenge the Mindset, and Business Model, of Big Law
Big Four firms also have extremely powerful brands, allowing them to challenge traditional law firms in a way that few others can. The clients of the Big Four may or may not be happy with the level of service they’re receiving from their firm, but they do believe that the staff at the firm knows what they’re doing. Just as the big law firms do, the Big Four can hire the best and brightest out of school, put them through a grueling apprenticeship program that lasts years, and then claim that their staff has what it takes to advise clients on their most complex issues. The upshot is that when PwC tells a client they’re going to be offering an expanded range of legal services, there’s no good reason for the client to doubt them.

Of course, in the U.S., there are regulations that make it very difficult for the Big Four to directly challenge Big Law. Accounting firms generally aren’t allowed to offer legal services to companies that they audit; non-lawyers can’t generally own or operate a law firm or share fees with those who do. But MacEwen isn’t at all certain those regulations would sustain a legal challenge.

“The question that is interesting is that if someone challenged those rules on anti-trust grounds, who would win?” he asks.
accountants  competition 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
Law Firms, Regulators Keep Eye on Big Four Move to Legal Services | Big Law Business
The Sarbanes-Oxley accounting and corporate reform law of 2002—and subsequent auditor independence rules—generally bar accounting firms from providing non-audit services to their audit clients, with the exception of restricted tax services.

However, nothing prevents the Big Four from marketing such legal and other non-audit services to non-audit clients, “which they all now aggressively do,” Harvard Law School professor David Wilkins and Maria Esteban Ferrer, both of Harvard’s Center on the Legal Profession, wrote Sept. 26 in the Columbia Law School Blue Sky blog.

The Securities and Exchange Commission declined comment when asked about Big Four firms’ growth in legal services, but the PCAOB, which operates under the aegis of the SEC, is watching developments.

“Existing independence requirements would preclude an issuer’s auditor, or affiliates of the auditor, from providing legal services to that issuer or any of that issuer’s affiliates,” PCAOB spokeswoman Colleen Brennan said. “The PCAOB monitors for compliance with that requirement and other independence requirements.”

The regulatory lines seem to be somewhat blurry in defining what services are allowed, including services for audit clients.

Harvard’s Wilkins said in the ALM Intelligence report that practice in the U.S. “has allowed the Big Four to offer some legally-related services,” such as in tax, regulatory compliance, financial management, and merger due diligence, “even to their core audit clients.”

Linda Griggs, a former partner at global law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, questions whether an accounting and consulting firm such as PwC, in diving deeper into legal services, isn’t further complicating the job of abiding by auditor independence rules.

“I think the monitoring of independence is difficult as it is without their also providing legal services that have to be monitored” for proper separation from any work with audit clients, said Griggs, who once served as counsel to the SEC’s chief accountant.
accountants  regulation  competition  ethics 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
LegalZoom ABS set to turn £2m loss into profit after major investment - Legal Futures
This was due to a significant and planned-for investment after it bought Wakefield law firm Beaumont Legal in early 2016 for £6.4m, according to the accounts for the extended period of 10 September 2015 to 31 December 2016.

It has also emerged that LegalZoom has bought an online company formations business.

Beaumont Legal is best known for volume conveyancing, but also handles wills and probate, commercial and dispute resolution work.

The ABS made a gross profit of just under £2m on a turnover of £6.6m, but ‘administrative expenses’ of £3.4m and amortisation of goodwill and intangibles of £811,000 sent it into the red.

A review of the business by UK managing director Piers Chead explained that the ABS has “invested heavily during the period, supported by its ultimate parent company, in both staff and technology as it explored new innovative ways of working and an intention to provide new ways of supplying legal services to satisfy the industry’s changing needs”.

He said the changes included a new conveyancing portal, a “market-leading real-time communications platform between customer and the company”, and preparations for a “paperlite” office environment.
clementi  legalzoom  competition 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
Big Four vs. Big Law: The Race to Change Legal Services Delivery | Big Law Business
n fact, the continued presence and reemergence of the Big Four poses a risk to Big Law.  But not because they want to “look like us.”

As a lookalike, they fall short. Size only matters if it can be translated into profit growth. While the study did not discuss the profit driven by the legal arms of the Big Four, the revenue generated by their practices pale in comparison to similar Big Law practices. Moreover, their presence is focused to certain practice segments – they miss, for example, the litigation market which is a significant component of many practices.  They are also limited by regulatory restraints in the large US market.

Looking like us is not the risk. Changing the way legal services delivery looks is the risk. In fact, ALM observes that the Big Four are evolving a second operational model premised on a managed services concept.  Examples abound: EY Law hired a managing director from Axiom to run an operation in Ireland. PwC just bought GE’s tax practice. Deloitte has made a number of plays in this arena.  In short, they seem to be expanding their operational model beyond “looking like us.”

The Big Law model is being challenged on many fronts. Start-ups –both pure tech plays and combination plays like Atrium – are nibbling at one edge. In house teams have been beefing up and taking away market share from Big Law. Other alternative service providers are continuing to grow market share.

Against this backdrop, the Big Four – with enormously deep resources – are reemerging in the field.  If they just try to “look like us”, they simply become yet another set of competitors.  In that model, they certainly have advantages but they have equally strong disadvantages.  It is a very different story if they deploy their capital to develop service offerings utilizing tech and people in a different way than currently offered by Big Law.   If they choose this path, they have the resources to dramatically change the complexion of legal service delivery.  Time will tell if this is the path they choose but the risk is here, not in the Big Four looking like Big Law.
accountants  competition  process 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
Axiom Ramps Up Race for Tech Talent | The American Lawyer
On Monday Axion tapped Doug Hebenthal, a tech industry veteran who has worked for Microsoft and Amazon, to serve as its first chief technology officer.
Axiom assigned Hebenthal, who took up his post on Oct. 2, the job of setting up the new Seattle R&D outpost, as well as expanding the company's automation and artificial intelligence capabilities.
The new tech center also will rely on outside providers of specific tech products and services, according to Hebenthal, who most recently served as chief networking engineering officer at Change Healthcare, a software provider, and prior to that served as director of engineering for Amazon’s e-commerce payments platform.
Since it launched more than 15 years ago, Axiom set as a goal shattering the traditional delivery of legal services. It began in 2000 lending lawyers to law departments—or “insourcing” them, a novel proposition at the time.
These days, the company employs 1,200 lawyers who are available for insourcing. One-third of the company’s revenues, however, come from its automated contract drafting and analysis services, Donio said.
The hiring of Hebenthal reflects the company’s expectation and strategy that the automated side of its business model will continue to grow, Donio said.
“This is about breakthrough. We envision a world where we can create a contract without writing it and understand a contract without reading it.” Donio said.
“I would like to see us shake the trees on what we could be doing as an industry,” she said.
competition  innovation  flex  robo  contracts 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
PwC to open US law firm, a sign of increasing focus on legal operations by Big 4 accounting firms
In the United States, almost every jurisdiction has ethics rules that bar nonlawyer ownership of law firms, nonlawyer management of law firms, and sharing fees with nonlawyers, according to an issues paper released by the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services last year.

But PwC’s U.S. law firm, called ILC Legal, will operate separately from the accounting firm, according to Richard Edmundson, who heads PwC’s international business reorganizations practice. It will help U.S. clients on international issues and won’t offer U.S. law advice.

Washington, D.C., does not ban multidisciplinary practices owned by nonlawyers, but that isn’t the reason Edmundson cites for the chosen location. Bar rules there allow lawyers to register as foreign legal consultants and practice U.K. law, he told the Am Law Daily. Edmundson said ILC Law has no plans at this time to open more U.S. offices, but it could happen in the future.

“We will see how the market reacts,” he told the Am Law Daily.

Law firm leaders are waking up to the Big Four threat, the ALM report says. Sixty-six percent of partners surveyed said they were concerned about alternative legal service providers and accounting firms, and 64 percent said accounting firms moving into the legal industry was a bigger threat than the expansion of in-house legal departments, e-discovery vendors and legal process outsourcing companies. ALM Intelligence did not provide information on how many partners were surveyed.
accountants  clementi  competition 
september 2017 by JordanFurlong
Exclusive: Radiant co-founders Giverin and McQuillen join PwC in major “new law” hire | Legal IT Insider
Radiant is focussing heavily on building and licensing out its proprietary tech products, with COO Serena Wallace-Turner, who co-founded Axiom’s Asia office in 2010, having joined in 2016 to help achieve that objective.
While all of the senior Radiant team see technology as central to the future of legal services, co-founder Alex Hamilton, who continues as CEO, told Legal IT Insider: “There were differences of opinion about the role of technology at the firm. I continue to believe that lawtech is a fundamental part of delivering managed legal services and we are already seeing opportunities to licence out products that we have built such as Remarkable and our new workflow platform as well as partnerships such as one with LexisNexis on contract analytics.  We have a fantastic team, greater clarity around direction and are very excited about where the market is going.”
Giverin said: “Joining PwC represented an opportunity that we couldn’t turn down. That’s not to say we’re not proud of what we achieved at Radiant but this is a natural next step.”
This is not the first time PwC has made a senior private practice managed legal service hire, having in 2012 brought in Berwin Leighton Paisner’s director of innovation and one of the architects of its Managed Legal Service, Stephen Allen, who left in 2014 to join DLA Piper as head of market strategies and is now global head of legal service deliveries at Hogan Lovells.
accountants  competition  innovation  newlaw 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
WHY Should You Care About AI? — Flip Cat Consulting
The biggest mistake that incumbents in every industry make -- every single industry, and law is absolutely no exception -- is saying, “My customers won’t want that.” Never assume your customers or clients won’t be interested in something that’s faster than you and cheaper than you. Never assume that something faster and cheaper than you can’t also be as good as you, or maybe even better. And never assume that “quality” --  which is what I hear most lawyers say is their unbeatable advantage -- is as important to your clients as you think it is. Most of your clients don’t want “the best.” They want “good enough.” 
jf  robo  clients  competition 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
Five years on from its ABS licence, Co-operative Legal Services sees income and profits jump - Legal Futures
egal services revenues rose from £18m to £22m in 2016, “lifted mainly by more people coming to us for estate planning services, as well as our acquisition of Collective Legal Solutions (now known as Co-op Estate Planning)”, the group’s annual results announcement recorded. In 2012, it was £33m.

Operating profits went from £700,000 in 2015 to £2.2m last year, although the accounts have been restated to show zero profit to £1.5m to reflect that the £700,000, and the same amount this year, was put towards shared group membership services. In 2014, CLS recorded a loss of £5m. Profits in 2012 were minimal with the business investing for growth.

The announcement said: “We believe in providing legal services that are easy to access, giving fast and effective legal support at prices that are great value for money. In 2016, we invested in being able to take will, probate and conveyancing instructions online. Our members and clients gave us a vote of confidence and we’ll develop more new services in 2017…
clementi  wills  access  family  competition 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
National | A sign that in-house legal support is becoming big business
But another takeaway is that that PWC’s efforts are really a confirmation that clients see value in the delivery of in-house legal services.

Interestingly, news hit yesterday that global law firm Pinsent Masons bought a 20 per cent minority stake in Leeds-based legal startup, Yuzu, which brands itself “as a solution for GCs, designed and delivered by GCs.” In a statement announcing the deal Pinsent Masons explained that the plan is to incubate the start-up during its start-up phase by providing it seed funding and strategic support.

It’s noteworthy that large professional services firms are making these moves, but the service they are offering is hardly new. These deals are reminiscent of new law pioneer Lawyers on Demand, which has offered services for in-house teams for a decade, Deloitte’s acquisition of Conduit Law last year, and Axiom’s move into Canada when it purchased Cognition LLP ‘s GC practice  (now Caravel Law), which has also been around for over 10 years.  Also offering in-house legal support in Canada are Calgary-based Simplex Legal (also with offices in Montreal and Toronto) and Delegatus in Montreal.

Over the last 20 years we’ve seen in-house departments around the world grow and take work away from law firms. Now with legal operations professionals taking residence in legal departments looking to re-engineer their functions, the question is whether they may be looking to offload some of that work and outsource it once again. If so, there's a lot of opportunity there.
competition  clients  accountants  flex 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
Big Law and the Case of the Missing Demand |
The Thomson Reuters/Georgetown report even contains a section titled, “The Death of Billable Hour Pricing,” noting that firms are more frequently turning away from the traditional billable hour. ALM Intelligence has data on this too. In the 2016 Law Firm Leaders survey, respondents reported that, on average, 20% of client matters included an AFA component; and that, on average, approximately 14% of the firm work was on a non-billable-hour basis. With that in mind, perhaps when there are reports that demand, as measured by total hours billed, has stagnated, we shouldn’t be so surprised given that more and more firms are doing work under fee arrangements that do not rely on billable hours.
competition  clients 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
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