Gina Passarella’s recent article, “Talking Business of Law: The Dance Around Change,” explores whether the long static legal industry is undergoing real change or simply dancing around it. The analysis emanates from her attendance at a panel discussion on law firm innovation hosted by an international firm. Let’s put aside the irony of a law firm hosting such a discussion and return to Ms. Passarella’s article and its somewhat halting conclusion that legal change is real even if incremental. [Read more…]
Google’s self-driven car recently collided with a city bus. It was the fender bender heard round the world. Why? Automation’s mishap was a momentary reprise — and great relief for millions — from its replacement of human drivers. After all, nearly 20 percent of Americans have jobs that involve driving. A recent Pew study found that 65 percent of adults believe that within the next 50 years robots and computers will do much of the work now done by humans. Count lawyers among the concerned group. And we’re not talking about half a century from now.
I recently spoke at a Legal Procurement conference where the topic was “Managing Relationships.” My takeaway: providers want to know how to close business and buyers want more for less – and know they can get it. It’s a jungle out there.
Has legal buy and sell devolved from a trusted advisor to vendor dynamic? Is there a “relationship” component left? Before answering, let’s consider briefly how and why we got here.
I was having breakfast the other day with a friend who is the managing partner of an AmLaw 100 firm (remember when “AmLaw 200” was the standard?). Before becoming a lawyer, he was a Navy bomber pilot. Translation: he doesn’t panic easily and knows when a crisis is a crisis.
“How do you see the weather ahead?” I asked, referring to his firm’s prospects. “It’s going to be a rocky ride,” he replied, “I’m thinking about how to get around the heavy weather.”
Love it or loathe it, we are living in the age of the sharing economy. Long-standing vertical leaders have fallen like dominoes. They have been marginalized by new, tech-enabled entrants that deliver “faster, cheaper, better” access to goods and services. Uber, Airbnb, and Zipcar, are three among a growing list of disruptors. These companies have a common model: harness technology and social media to provide information that optimizes resources through the redistribution, sharing and re-use of excess capacity in goods and services.
Mark Cohen co-authored this article with Colin LaChance.
With no more brass rings to strive for, what will motivate innovative young lawyers to spend their prime years in a traditional firm environment?
Dorota Turlejski launched Uplawed, an estate law boutique, in September 2015 following four years with a mid-size, full-service Ottawa firm. She was doing well with the firm that first took her on as an articling student, and was on her way to becoming a successful, traditional lawyer. Therein lay the problem. The more she became the sort of lawyer that does well in a traditional environment, the less she resembled the person she knew in her heart she was and wanted to be – a scientist with legal training.