Archives: The Legal Profession

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In One Court in China, The Future is Now

Since 2017, the Hangzhou Internet Court in the People’s Republic of China has been breaking new ground in disputes relating to online transactions. The matters that come before the court relate to such areas as online shopping and services, small loans, domain-name ownership and copyright. A year ago, the court established a judicial blockchain system … Continue Reading

The Focus Challenge – Part 2: Your Clients

Note: This article first appeared in the October, 2019 issue of Edge International Communiqué (EIC).* 1. The Legal Matter Here are some of the essential lessons I have learned after several decades of listening closely to clients, conducting my own research, and reading a myriad of surveys and research studies by others: a) Clients do not have legal … Continue Reading

The Focus Challenge – Part I: Your Practice

Note: This article first appeared in the August, 2019 issue of Edge International Communiqué (EIC).* 1. Substantive Practice Gone are the days when some level of specialization in an area could sustain a practice over a lawyer’s lifetime. Things are changing too fast and new competitors will emerge – some of them not even law firms. In the … Continue Reading

France Bans Statistical Reports on Judges

In what can be described as an incidence of the criminalization of analytics – possibly the first on the planet – the Government of France has banned the reporting of statistical analysis of the decisions of individual judges. The maximum penalty for contravention of the new law is five years behind bars. The Artificial Lawyer … Continue Reading

Lawyer Exclusivity May Erode Further if Licensing of Legal Technicians Increases

An article in the ABA Journal reports that the New Mexico Supreme Court is considering licensing legal technicians to provide civil legal services. Los Alamos lawyer George Chandler, a member of the New Mexico Commission on Access to Justice, said, “Justice should be accessible to everybody, and lawyers are priced out of reach of as much … Continue Reading

Study of Large Companies Finds More than One Quarter of General Counsel Are Women

A study conducted by the law firm Fenwick & West LLP found that in 2018, women comprised more than one quarter of all general counsel at large public technology companies such as Apple and Intel in the Silicon Valley 150 (SV150), and in major companies in the Standard and Poor’s 100 (S&P 100). In its review … Continue Reading

Big Four Continues Advance into Legal Space with World-Wide AI Legal Doc Review System

The Artificial Lawyer reports on another significant move by a Big Four accounting firm into legal territory with EY Law‘s installation of an AI document review system at its offices around the world. A February 9, 2019 post in The Artificial Lawyer states that “EY Law, which has over 2,000 lawyers across 81 jurisdictions, will … Continue Reading

Lawyer Well-Being: An Issue We Must Address Right Now

There may never have been a better time to read The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, a 2017 report by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. The Report “defines well-being and sheds light on the lack of well-being in the legal profession.” It then “offers concrete, actionable recommendations on how to fix … Continue Reading

Black Law Firm Partner Says GCs Open Letter on Diversity Is More PR than Practice

Several weeks ago I reported on a significant initiative by 170 general counsel and corporate legal officers – an open letter, published on LinkedIn, warning law firms that if their record of partnership promotions failed to reflect the diversity of the general population, a number of leading corporations would be disinclined in future to hire them … Continue Reading

The Future of the Law Includes More than the Legal Elite

In an article on LawSites entitled “Five Days, Two Conferences, One Echo Chamber,” Massachusetts lawyer and legal journalist Bob Ambrogi describes his recent attendance at two legal conferences held in New York City in early February, Legalweek (now in its 37th year) and Inspire.Legal (inaugurated in 2019). Although the events were very different, Ambrogi says, he … Continue Reading

The Big Four and The Legal Industry: Who Should Be Afraid?

A recent instalment of the podcast series LegalSpeak addresses the question of whether or not recent forays into the legal arena by the accounting industry’s Big Four actually comprise a significant threat to U.S. law firms. Nicholas Bruch, principal analyst at ALM Legal Intelligence, who has been looking into this issue deeply for at least two … Continue Reading

ALM Appraises Threat from Big Four’s “Trojan Horse”

In an article published recently on The American Lawyer, writer Dan Packel reports that this year, “For the first time, PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG seized four of the top five spots on [the U.K. consultancy Acritas’s] list of global alternative brands, in a survey of general counsel at heavyweight international businesses.” Packel points out … Continue Reading

Will Machine-Assessed Lie-Detector Tests Become Admissible in Court?

The Artificial Lawyer reports that the European Union is testing a system of automated lie-detector tests for use at its international borders. The technology “will use a digital avatar to interview travellers at border posts, ask them questions and then use facial expression ‘biomarkers’ based on previously taught patterns to decide if they are lying.” The … Continue Reading

Young Lawyers Challenge Profession over Mental Health Concerns

I commend The Young Lawyer Editorial Board at The American Lawyer for their powerful piece on the debilitating and even life-threatening risks of working in the legal profession – a profession that, they point out, “[tops] the league tables for loneliness, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, stress and suicide.” Although they acknowledge that mental health problems … Continue Reading

The Legal Profession Faces an Epidemic (And It’s not Bird Flu)

The Mad Clientist – the blog of the BTI Consulting Group – has diagnosed a growing epidemic among law firms: complacency. “Wishes do come true,” they write. “Legal spending is up. The existential crisis is over. And urgency is retreating as success is just a little easier to come by.” The result, they say, is … Continue Reading

U.S. Law Invaded by Big Four

I believe that the greatest threat to the legal profession is the incursion by the Big Four accounting firms. The writing is indelibly on the wall. And yet most American law firms are complacent. They believe that U.S. regulations make them untouchable. Not so fast. An article published yesterday by The American Lawyer reports that “The British arm … Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence in China’s Law Schools

A recent story in Legal Tech News indicates how seriously legal educators in China are investigating the potential effects of artificial intelligence (AI) on the practice of law. Until now, almost all AI-related legal education around the world has been grounded in US-derived knowledge and experience, and the Chinese venture is one response to the growing need for … Continue Reading

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and The Future of Education

Andre Dua, a director in the New York office of the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, recently explored the ramifications of the growth of “Massive Open Online Courses,'” commonly known as MOOCs. The online delivery of MOOC learning systems makes them cost-effective, and accessible to students from around the world. Some of these courses … Continue Reading

A Great Lawyer Building Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies

It is my pleasure to introduce you to an extraordinary lawyer, educator and philanthropist, Tom Bean, of 150 year old law firm Verrill Dana in Boston, whose practice focuses on businesses that are experiencing financial distress. Tom is also cofounder and chair of the advisory board of the Spark Academy – and a self-described “head … Continue Reading

2012 Law Firm Strategy Lessons from the Apollo 13 Moon Mission

Your law firm’s success in 2012 may require considerable ingenuity under extreme pressure just as it did from the crew of Apollo 13 for their safe return to Earth. Apollo 13 was the third mission in the American Apollo space program intended to land on the Moon. The number 2 oxygen tank in the Service … Continue Reading

A Low-Paid Corner — Stripping Pay and Prestige from the Practice of Law

According to NYT journalist, Catherine Rampell, in her May 23, 2011 story: At Well-Paying Law Firms, a Low-Paid Corner,   Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe,  WilmerHale and McDermott Will & Emery are "creating a second tier of workers, stripping pay and prestige from one of the most coveted jobs in the business world". Catherine goes on to … Continue Reading

Attorney at Work Delivers Daily Ideas for Lawyers

I am honoured to be in the esteemed company of the publishers and advisors of Attorney at Work that promises “One Really Good Idea Every Day” There is no cost to subscribe and the ideas will flow starting in January. I recommend that you subscribe now Congratulations in particular to my long time friend, Merrilyn Tarlton who … Continue Reading
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