A former law partner of mine was fond of saying “a lawyer spends half of his or her life worrying about not having enough to do and the other half worrying about having too much.” If the recent Thomson Reuters-Georgetown 2022 Report on the State of the Legal Market Report is any indication the profession is certain in the too much to do half on steroids. And that phenomenon may portend some fundamental and long-awaited changes.

 

In a nutshell, the Report demonstrates that to thrive post-pandemic and even survive, lawyers will need to better adopt technology, use better workflows, and make sure work is done by right mix and training, and experience. Otherwise, the work that is piling up during the great talent shortage just won’t get done.

 

According to the Thomson Reuters press release, the State of the Legal Market Report is issued jointly each year by the Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law and the Thomson Reuters Institute. The Report relies on data collected by Thomson Reuters. The Report reviews the performance of U.S. law firms and attempts to identify what factors drive long-term change and strategy.

Continue Reading Thomson Reuters’ Report May Signal Sea Change In Legal Profession

There used to be an advertisement for Oldsmobile automobiles that started with the phrase “not your father’s Oldsmobile”. The idea of course was to rebrand Oldsmobile into something different that how if was perceived. I thought about this ad as I was reading a recent article in the ABA Journal about the state of the profession as we go into the third year of the pandemic. The article included a discussion of solo law practice. The data discussed in the article suggests that solo law practice is not what it used to be and is evolving in some pretty important ways.

 

Some background. Several years ago, as most of you know, I left big law to become a blogger and legal tech consultant. I also maintained a law practice under the moniker embryLaw LLC.

Continue Reading Solo Law Practice 2022: Going Virtual

Well, I did it. Sort of. At the beginning of 2021, I set a goal of posting once a week on this blog. I didn’t hit a post every week, but I ended up posting 52 times for an average of once per week. I hit my goal despite a lengthy hospital stay of someone close in early 2021, a personal bout of breakthrough Covid, and numerous other minor and not so minor setbacks, slights, and ups and downs.

 

Some posts I know were better than others. Some too long. Some too short. Some made little sense, but some, a precious few, were pretty good, I think.

 

In retrospect, I learned (or maybe relearned) four things about blogging in 2021.

Continue Reading Four Things I (Re)Learned About Blogging 2021

“It’s like déjà vu all over again…The future ain’t what it used to be.” Yogi Berra

 

2021. A year that started with such hope. Vaccines had arrived. Hope and joy as it looked like we might come out of Covid darkness and resume life as we knew it. In-person conferences and meetings slowly returning. There were serious conversations about returning to work and the benefits.

Continue Reading Déjà Vu…All Over Again

Surveys, surveys, surveys. We seem to be awash these days in surveys. It’s hard to keep track of them all, much less vouch for their validation.

 

But the results from a recent one from Law360 Pulse caught my eye. Law360 is generally pretty reliable because of the number of subscribers and customers to which it has access and the methodology it typically uses.

Continue Reading Want to Measure a Law Firm’s Reputation? Law360 Gives It a Shot

As commentators, we often focus on those who can’t afford lawyers and are thus deprived in a tangible way to access to justice. We often focus on the very sophisticated purchasers of legal services. Large companies, for example, with full in-house legal departments. We often don’t talk about those in the middle: individuals and small businesses who, from time to time, need and must purchase legal services.

 

These individuals and businesses can afford some level of legal assistance. But they lack the sophistication, knowledge, and financial resources of more significant purchasers. I call this group the Middle. It should come as no surprise that the perceptions of those in the Middle of lawyers and the legal service they get and pay for are pretty poor.

Continue Reading Lawyers Are An Alien Herd

You’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Bob Dylan: Gotta Serve Somebody

 

State Bar Associations need to decide who they serve and then develop regulations that actually serve that group. Too frequently, Bar Association try to serve their lawyer members and give lip service to the public interest in access to justice. 

 

I learned a new term this week courtesy of Leo LaPorte, aka the TechGuy. LaPorte hosts weekly radio shows on Saturdays and Sundays and then pushes the shows out to his podcasts. I like to listen to his shows since they are full of tech news and developments unfiltered through the lens of legal tech.

Continue Reading State Bar Associations and Regulatory Capture: Who Do You Serve?

It’s Thanksgiving again. A time to stuff ourselves, watch some serious football (well, some football anyway), and be thankful. It got me thinking: what do I, as a blogger on legal technology and innovation, have to be thankful for this year (beyond, of course, my tech toys lol).

 

So, here are my top 10 things I’m thankful for this year:

 

Continue Reading 10 Things This Legal Tech Blogger Is Thankful For

 

Despite a lot of talk, law firms continue to make little progress down on the diversity path. Law firms set billing rates of ethnically and gender diverse lawyers, particularly at more experienced levels, lower than white males.

 

Kris Satkunas,

Director of Strategic Counseling of LexisNexis’ CounselLink had a problem. She was tasked with giving a webinar on benchmarks for diversity and equality in law firms and was looking for a new way to go at the issue.

 

Satkunas had an idea. She reasoned that while pundits often talk people numbers: how many women, how many diverse lawyers, how many this, how many that. No one looked hard at the money. Remember the adage: “follow the money”? Satkunas had the bright idea to follow the money: analyze the billing rates lawyer charge their clients. She reasoned that billing rates are the critical factor in driving lawyer compensation (and power in law firms). As she puts it, billing rates are “a proxy for a lawyer’s value to the firm.” And she had a pool of data to look at how the rates of diverse lawyers and women compare to those of white males.

Continue Reading Law Firm Diversity: Follow the Money


Exterro, a provider of Legal GRC software for in-house legal teams, recently named legal discovery expert and technologist Jenny Hamilton as General Counsel. It’s an interesting hire since Hamilton was the former head of the e-discovery team at John Deere (“nothing runs like a Deere”), a Fortune 100 company. John Deere is a longtime customer of Exterro.

 

It’s interesting since Hamilton spent a lot of time evaluating competing e-discovery products in her role at John Deere. She ultimately became familiar with and selected Exterro’s technology suite as its chief e-discovery tool. So she brings a unique familiarity and perspective as a customer of Exterro and is an e-discovery process expert. I was able to chat recently with Hamilton about her new position, the discovery market, and market trends in general.

Continue Reading Exterro Names New General Counsel With Customer Focus