Pre-pandemic, I faithfully attended ALM’s LegalWeek every year. The event was traditionally held in late January, in the dead of New York city’s winter. So every year, it would snow sometime during the conference. Attendees were fond of saying: it ain’t LegalWeek unless it snows.
This year, the conference was moved from late January to last week due to the Omicron surge and finally kicked off this past week. I figured it wouldn’t snow (and it wouldn’t be the normal LegalWeek) since it was mid-March and the crocuses were already in bloom. But sure enough, on the first full day of the conference, just like the swallows returning to Capistrano, on cue, it did indeed snow.
And just like the weather, the Show itself provided a sense of normalcy finally after two long years.
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:
On September 14, Law360 Pulse released its annual Glass Ceiling Report. The Report summarizes Law 360’s Survey of women in law firms for 2020. Every time I hear about one of these Surveys, I hope for once, it will reveal some real progress. But they never do: just like the Law 360 Diversity Survey results previously discussed, the Glass Ceiling results are discouraging. Not just discouraging. Embarrassing. It makes me mad. It ought to make us all angry.
The annual Law360 Pulse Diversity Snapshot was recently released, and the numbers are once again depressing. The fact is that the practice of law remains the province of white people. (The Survey did not look at how women are faring, although a coming Law360 Survey will. But I would guess it would be accurate to say the profession still belongs primarily, if not exclusive, to old white guys). I had a chance recently to talk to Kerry Benn, Director of Series, Surveys & Data at Law360, about the Survey.
Benn told me Law 360 has been doing the Survey annually for seven years. For 2020, the Survey was completed by some 276 law firms of various sizes, so it’s pretty representative.
Uber Preferred Counsel Program uses data, metrics and tough questions to determine outside counsels’ commitment to diversity.
Let’s be blunt: The legal profession in general and law firms, in particular, have an abysmal record of diversity and inclusion. I have written about this several times, but despite the urgings of those more influential and well-spoken than me, improvements, well, just haven’t happened. The most recent ABA Study of diversity progress (or better put, lack thereof) glaringly demonstrates the failures.
The improvement in quality of work and decision making of diverse teams—teams composed of those other than old (and young) white men—have been well documented. Despite this, and even though both law firms and clients talk a good diversity and inclusion game, nothing ever seems to change. Why?
It’s early January, which for me means CES, the giant consumer electronics show. (CES used to Stand for Consumer Electronics Show but now it’s just CES). CES calls itself the world’s largest and most important tech event, where the entire technology ecosystem gathers to conduct business, launch products, build brands, and network
Each year I go to CES and come back energized and optimistic. Each year I try to summarize what I learned and how those lessons might apply to legal.
But lest some think this means BigLaw may be getting ready to stride into a lucrative new area that frees them from the tyranny of the billable hour and downward rate pressure, think again.