Angry Birds help with best practices in one of India's most sophisticated law firms

I received this correspondence from Hoshedar Wadia, a partner in one of India’s most sophisticated law firms, Juris Corp.  This firm deals in matters that range up to the hundreds of millions of US dollars in sophisticated areas like Capital Markets, Structured Finance, Securitization and so on.  In the spirit of disclosure, I have had the privilege of serving this firm.  Do you believe the protocol contained in the following correspondence could serve your firm as well?

"We just shared something with our new recruits as part of their orientation and I thought I would drop you a line cause you have used examples like this very effectively in the past with us.
"There is a game ‘Angry Birds’ that I have on my mobile that is available for PC download as well.
"You have to shoot birds at structures (and at a pig) and make points to go to the next level. Each level is tougher and there seem to be an unlimited number of levels. At each level, you can try any number of times. But in the version available on my phone, after 2 attempts (and failures), it asks me if I want to connect to the internet and see how it is done (on you tube). If you view the link, the task suddenly becomes easier (not easy – but significantly easier).

"Like angry birds, in Juris Corp too:
"(i)         Please try for yourself to get the results – try once try twice but if you don’t get it by then then seek help (ego and stubbornness have little place in a knowledge-based industry);
"(ii)        The reason you must try yourself is because you may come up with a better way of doing something than the internet or ‘online help’ version will show you;
"(iii)       The reason you must take help after a few tries is because you owe the Firm and the Client, if any, (a) a quick turnaround (so it is not acceptable that you try and try and try till you succeed); (b) best costs (which means you don’t re-invent) – but always subject to you trying first on your own (the reason you are in Juris Corp is because somebody believes you may find a better way);
"(iv)      Look at the online version/precedents, even if you succeed – to see if it could have been done better?
(v)       Learn and adapt – the higher levels will always require you to draw from what you have learnt at the lower levels."

Punchline: Too many partners throw their associates to the research and protocol winds with a sink or swim attitude.  This policy deprives both associates and clients of what they deserve.  I think Juris Corp has it right and I am grateful to my friend, Hoshedar Wadia (Juris Corp partner), for granting me permission to share this with you.

Finding Success in a Global Paradox (Keynote ALPMA Sydney 22 Oct 2010 -- Password Protected -- registered participants only)

Around the World Speaking Tour (Gerry Riskin -- Edge International)


September 24th, 2010
ADR Institute of Canada National Conference September 23-24, 2010
Plenary Session: Optimal Marketing for ADR professionals
Workshop: Effective Marketing for ADR professionals
Calgary, Alberta


October 9th, 2010
Fordham Law School (for Prof Silvia Hodges)
Guest Lecture: Law firm management: Strategy
New York, New York

October 14th, 2010
(with Nicole Auerbach a— Valorem Lw Firm))
Making Alternative Fees Work in Litigation: How to Approach and Craft AFAs
Virtual Program… webinar: Find out how to incorporate AFAs for your litigation matters, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that can arise along the way in this information-packed audio conference. During this 75-minute program, our expert faculty will present best practices for approaching, crafting and implementing these highly sought-after engagements.
Information & Registration

October 22, 2010
ALPMA summit
Keynote address:  Finding Success in a Global Paradox
Sydney, Australia
Information & Registration

November 4th, 2010
Chief Legal Officer Forum, Public Sector
Auckland, New Zealand

November 5th - 7th, 2010
Plenary Session: Future Firm Forum 2010
The Management Imperative
Tongariro Lodge at the south end of Lake Taupo, on the North Island of New Zealand
Information & Registration

November 11th - 14th, 2010
(with Edge partner, Juhi Garg
LAWASIA 2010 Conference
The session will describe how Asian law firms can prepare for a flourishing economy including strategies and processes required to fuel growth both organically and inorganically.
New Delhi, India
More Information


Welcome to Edge International, Pam Woldow !

My Edge International partner, Jordan Furlong, has done a nice welcome piece on Pam Woldow already (at his Law 21 blog) but I thought I would echo that Edge International is so very proud and delighted to have her on board.

Also, thank you to friends who have joined us in congratulating Pam, like Valorem's awesome founder, Pat Lamb, who expressed delight in his In Search or Perfect Client Service blog post.

Those of you who know Edge International well can be assured that we are intent on growing in strength and capabilities.

Please make sure you follow Pam's new Blog, At The Intersection, for her continuing wisdom and counsel. 

Stay tuned.




Will the Legal Profession Use the World's First Temporal Analytics Engine?

I met virtually with Recorded Future this morning for a close up briefing of how their Temporal Analytics Engine might be used by law firms.  Firms who use this can better predict the needs of their own clients and prospective clients as well.   There is so much more that this technology can do if used effectively, including monitoring the industries that a firm serves now and perhaps should serve in the future.

How often does a potentially powerful competitive weapon come along for the legal profession… and, more importantly, will law firms recognize it when they see it?












Recorded Future, the world's first Temporal Analytics Engine, is a new predictive analysis tool that allows you to visualize the future, past or present.

Start by reading their blog post today Law Firms and Recorded Future.  Then sample their video explanation on their home page

My Prediction:  Very few law firms will do an exemplary job of exploring this technology.  Those who do will likely meet considerable resistance internally from those who are slow to trust technology and especially revolutionary technology.  I am completely OK with that. 

What excites me: is that a few law firms that see the true potential of this technology and will use it in imaginative ways.  At Edge International, our core business is helping clients who are committed to achieving competitive advantage.  You can bet we will be exploring this with our clients, and maybe some prospective ones as well.


Wolfram Alpha from Steven Wolfram (a computational knowledge engine)

This is the most important technological breakthrough I've seen in 10 years.  The fact that it was not designed specifically for the legal profession should not deter you from availing yourself of this resource starting NOW.

Google is amazing…  Wolfram Alpha transcends it.  Try it out !

WATCH THIS DEMO - 13 minutes that will change your life.

(Thanks to my son Daniel Riskin, PhD for making me aware of this.)




When Better Service Is a Bad Thing

What is your initial reaction to the title of this blog post?  I thought it was daft… until I read the complete post by Susan Cramm on June 25, 2008 on her Harvard Business Blog: Having IT Your Way.

Here is an excerpt from her blog post:
Over the past decade, IT organizations have worked hard to improve services and in turn increase IT’s impact on the business. But in the quest to deliver great service, IT actually may have been disabling rather than enabling the enterprise.

How? In two ways. First, continual hand-holding leads to a loss of precious time that could be devoted to more important activities. Second, helping others who can help themselves circumvents learning. It lets them off the hook and alleviates their sense of responsibility. And ultimately it slows down progress as communication is constantly being run through an intermediary. In delegation lingo, this is called taking on someone else’s monkey.

PUNCHLINE:   Based on my observations in the firms I serve around the world, I would say that too many lawyers pride themselves on their IT incompetencies believing that it makes them somehow charming and brilliant.  I say they might as well be sneaking into the firm at night and taking cash out of the safe.  The costs associated with that attitude include:
  • poorer client service by failing to capitalize on the efficiencies technology offers
  • competitive disadvantage (clients do not find incompetency charming ever)
  • wasted IT personnel time
  • distracting and therefore delaying or discouraging the latest IT initiatives
  • <I’ll bet the IT folks out there can add lots to this list>
Allow me to transpose one of Susan’s comments for Managing Partners and CIO’s in the legal profession:
Pleasing partners shouldn't be IT’s ultimate goal (or that of the Managing Partner). Rather, the ultimate goal of the Managing Partner and the CIO is to ensure the success of the firm. Help IT serve you and the firm by making sure that IT isn’t doing anything for individuals that they can, and should, do for themselves.

Six Factors of Influence — brilliantly applied!


Joy London of excited utterances has done a masterful job of reporting on a reference to Robert Cialdini's six factors of influence: (1) Reciprocation, (2) Consistency, (3) Social proof, (4) Liking, (5) Authority, and (6) Scarcity by Knowledge Management presenter, Browning Marean III, partner at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.

Robert B. Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, 1993 has been a favorite within our Edge International group for a long time.

Joy's post is a solid report on Browning presentation which constitutes a refreshing addition to the Knowledge Management landscape. Managing Partners, Executive Committe members and Practice Group Leaders should take a close look.

Joy, thank you for this valuable report.

Announcing "Kay, MacEwan & Riskin" — (I wish!)

Steve Matthews, of "Vancouver Law Librarian Blog" fame, titled his post today: Kay, MacEwan & Riskin on KM ROI (Knowledge Management — Return on Investment).

Steve summarizes comments made by Stuart Kay from Baker & McKenzie, Australia, Bruce MacEwan, known in the blogosphere as Adam Smith Esq., yours truly, with an honorable mention of David Maister.

I do not want to do Steve Matthews a disservice by trying to further summarize the already superb summary in his post so I will let it speak for itself.

A tangental point: As far as "Kay, MacEwan & Riskin" is concerned, that is the beauty of the blogosphere. We can collaborate, learn from each other and come together in any combination or permutation in an instant… everyone/anyone can. For now, you can experience Kay, MacEwan, Maister Matthews & Riskin (alphabetical order) at Steve's post — I think that is very cool — do you?

Does golf trump investing in your future?


Here's the punch line of the question (position) posed to David Maister at his web site:

[Knowledge Management] in fact is an iffy investment … long term investments… are not necessarily the right thing to do… Putting the cash into image, marketing and golf may pay off more… (JH of CT)


David couldn't believe it! He begins his reply:

"It is hard to believe I have just read the conclusion as written here"
You can see his entire well reasoned response on his web site (IS IT ALWAYS WORTH IMPROVING? (scroll down to it)).

The questioner also opined:

If the firm thinks client demand is inelastic -- lowering prices won't increase volume enough to make up the revenue loss -- then KM is a net loss (although societally valuable). If the lawyers don't have to work as many hours to turn out a contract, then they have to bring in even more business by taking it from other firms.

Here are my questions of you, reader:

Do you agree with JH's views? (Do you think lowering your cost is self-defeating?)

Do you think that reference to "elasticity" proves JH is not a lawyer?

Why do you think people hold these peculiar views?

Where do you think competitive advantage resides?

David Maister Speaks — Knowledge Managers Listen

On Moday September 26th, Steven Matthews posed some questions in his post:
Legal KM Economics & Realization Rates (Some Questions...)

stevesm.jpgSteven Matthews is the Knowledge Services Director at the Vancouver law firm Clark Wilson LLP. In this role, Steve combines his skills as a web developer with the administration of the Law Library and KM initiatives within the firm. From conceptualization to coding the final product, Steve has been responsible for all Clark Wilson LLP Intranets and public websites since 1998.

sizeD50_hFliped.jpgDavid Maister's response is captured in Steven's subsequent post:
David Maister Speaks and I'm Listening!

David Maister calls it

[getting] sucked into a very old "short-term impact v. long-term impact" debate.
…and is unassailably correct when he argues:
Is it ever worth getting more efficient than your competitors? The answer must be yes, surely?
FastForward: So why do we have these interminable debates? Because law firms strip mine — taking as much as possible for today. Few trust how revenue will be distributed tomorrow. The same attitude reduces a good deal of the long term investing that would yield competitive advantage over time.