On our recent LegalTech Week Journalists Roundtable, we went into a discussion about the increased emphasis of late on so-called midsize law firms. In particular, we talked about their needs when it comes to things like technology.

Certainly, more attention has recently been paid to this group of law firms. Clio provided a Survey entitled Legal Trends for Midsize Law Firms that focused on midsized law firms. Clio recently announced it planned to aggressively market to midsize firms in the future. An outfit called Actionstep recently released its 2024 US Midsize Law Firm Priorities Report. Thompson Reuters recently published its State of the Legal Market Report, which deals in part with midsize law firms.Continue Reading Beyond Size: Navigating the Complexities of Modern Legal Practices

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Two recent studies, one by LexisNexis and one by LawPay-MyCase, looked at the use of AI and Gen AI at two ends of the legal market. The LexisNexis study, entitled 2024 Investing in Legal Innovation Survey, looked at very large law firms and businesses. LexisNexis talked to 266 managing partners and c-suite leaders at AmLaw 200 law firms. LexisNexis also spoke to 50 legal professionals at Fortune 1000 companies and large law firms outside the AmLaw 200. The survey was done between December 6, 2023, and January 9, 2024, so it’s pretty recent.Continue Reading From Big Law to Small Firms: A Tale of Two Cities in Embracing Legal AI

I just got back from LegalWeek 2024 in New York City. LegalWeek is the annual legal tech conference put on by ALM and directed at big law firms and clients. There were lots of exhibitors, lots of parties, and fancy dinners. It’s glitzy and sales and marketing oriented.

This year, as expected, the educational sessions, discussions, and marketing were dominated by generative AI. There were ample predictions about how it will transform the legal profession. The standard refrain was that Gen AI will enable lawyers to spend more time on high level thinking.Continue Reading Innovative Vendors at LegalWeek 2024: A Focus on Customer-Centric Solutions

Back in the 1970s, there was a television commercial featuring jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald with a wine glass, a recording studio, and a recordable audio cassette made by a company called Memorex. The pitch was that the audio recording of Ella’s voice could break the wine glass, just like her live voice. The tagline was, “Is it live or Memorex?”

Continue Reading Is it Real or Is It Fake? The Emerging Challenges of Authenticating Digital Evidence in Courtrooms

Every year, Thomson Reuters and the Georgetown Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession come with a report on the State of the Legal Market. I have written about the reports before; I find them enlightening and generally well done. The 2024 Report is based on data from some 179 U.S. law firms developed by Thomson Reuters’ Financial Insights platform. Data came from 48 AmLaw 100 firms, 49 AmLaw second 100 firms, and 82 midsize firms.

The 2024 Report came out in early January this year and, as usual, is chock full of interesting findings. The Report used the historical demise of Pan Am Airlines as an example to drive home a point. Law firms may be facing a tipping point, a point at which they need to refine how they do business to survive. Continue Reading The Thomson Reuters State of the Legal Market Report: Shifting Tides in Legal Practice?

A recent Bloomberg Law story by Jacqueline Thomson reminded me of the question posed by Richard Susskind a few years ago: Is a court a service or a place?” The pandemic and other factors suggest the answer is that fundamental fairness demands our courts be less of a place and more of a service.

The Bloomberg Law article highlights a unique case in which a senior federal district court judge sitting in a Boston courtroom was conducting a bench trial occurring in an Asheville, North Carolina, courtroom. The plaintiff, a former assistant federal public defender, sued the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This resulted in all the judges in the Circuit recusing themselves. Senior Judge William Young, who is among a group of federal judges who volunteer to preside over cases remotely, was assigned the case.Continue Reading Courts as a Service: The Rise of Remote Judges

I have been amazed at the knee-jerk and head in the sand reaction of many courts to the use of Gen AI by lawyers appearing before them and the use by judges. Several judges have demanded that lawyers disclose the use of Gen AI and, if so, verify the accuracy of the citations that have been used. One judge even went so far as to demand disclosure of any AI tool, generative or not. And the 5th Circuit is considering not only requiring lawyers to disclose and verify but also requiring non-represented parties to do the same. (Like how are they going to do that?)

Of late, though, there have been more studied reactions to Gen AI in law. There is a welcome recognition of its potential benefit in judicial proceedings by both lawyers and judges.Continue Reading Navigating the New Legal Landscape: Courts, Lawyers, and the Rising Influence of Generative AI in Judicial Proceedings

It was a cold, dark 2nd of January. Back to school day for my kids, back to work for me, all after a wonderful holiday season. Of course, the kids were out of their routine and not anxious to return. Which meant they were late. Which meant I would be late getting to the office and the mountains of work piled up over the holidays. I had to hurry home after dropping them off to get ready. As I headed down the hill for home, I saw him too late. A cop. Happy New Year, blessed by a speeding ticket. 

For most of us, January is just that way. We know it’s coming, but we can’t stop it. It’s a cold, hard slap of reality. It’s the first day back in the office for many partners and associates. It was a day I dreaded and feared. Dreaded because it meant Christmas was truly over. Feared because who knew what awaited me for the coming year. And it always seemed that I had a trial set in early January for which work was not done as well as it could have been over the holidays.

Continue Reading January Blues: Post-Holiday Reality for Lawyers and Litigators

Law schools take a lot of heat for not preparing students for the actual practice of law. They are rightly criticized for ignoring how technology and innovation are changing the profession. This failure is particularly acute when it comes to generative AI. Some law schools have engaged in a lot of handwringing and schemed how to keep students from using Gen AI tools. Others have just put their heads in the sand. But a handful of law schools have been proactive, recognizing how Gen AI may change how lawyers practice and work.

One such school is Vanderbilt University’s Law School. Nestled a short walk from Nashville’s bustling downtown, Vanderbilt’s Law School created its Program of Law and Innovation several years ago. It was the brainchild of Cat Moon and Larry Bridgesmith. The idea was to create a learning space within the law school for innovation and collaboration. Continue Reading Embracing Gen AI in Law: Vanderbilt Law School’s VAILL is Preparing Tomorrow’s Legal Minds