All too often, we think of the legal market, especially for law firms, as being composed of BigLaw or at least lawyers that bill by the hour.

The truth is, though, that today’s legal marketplace is composed of various segments. These segments have business models and goals that are so different that they might

Lost in the acrimonious abortion debate in the wake of last week’s Supreme Court ruling are fundamental and downright scary questions. What does the brave new world of privacy? What privacy protections are there, or what should there be now that abortion is illegal in so many states? A brave new world that may terrify

I had an interesting discussion recently with Peter Baumann. Peter is the CEO and founder of data privacy and governance software provider ActiveNav. According to its website, ActiveNav, founded in 2008, helps “privacy and compliance teams quickly identify, inventory and map sensitive data.”

Peter’s present goal is to develop solutions that address what he calls the “elephant in the room .”That is businesses having and maintaining too much unstructured that they really shouldn’t.

Continue Reading Law Firms and Unstructured Data: A Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Several articles have recently discussed the claim by a Google computer scientist that a Google AI system was a sentient being. The scientist, Blake Lemoine, used his interview with the AI program to support his claim that the program appears to have consciousness. If you go by some of the interview responses, I got to wonder whether a lot of lawyers can be considered sentient.

For those who don’t know, sentient refers to the ability to perceive or feel things. The general thinking is that only humans are sentient and in the club. Animals (Dogs? Cats?) are not. Certainly, computers are not.

Continue Reading Are Lawyers Sentient?

At the risk of stating what perhaps should be obvious, lawyers valued for their abilities and insight are generally happier. They are certainly happier than those valued almost entirely on their production (i.e., billable hours). The latter group is by and large less healthy than the former. And in the long run, the happier lawyers are more–not less– productive than their unhappy, stressed out brethren.

Makes sense, right? Then why do so many law firms evaluate and compensate lawyers–especially associates–based on the billable hour yardstick? Maybe it’s because of a lack of empirical data demonstrating the advantages of the long-term view. If so (and as set out below, I am not convinced that that is the case), at least now there is data that confirms the obvious. Happier lawyers are more likely to be more productive over the long haul.

Continue Reading Lawyers Valued For Insight and Ability Are Happier. And More Productive

Data doesn’t lie. But sometimes, you have to ask it better questions to get anywhere meaningful.
In making criminal justice decisions, courts and prosecutors have tried to use data and algorithms to determine things like the risks to society a particular accused may pose. The concept is simple: look at the data and determine who is likely to commit another crime or flee before disposition. From this analysis, the theory goes, you can then determine if a particular accused is similar to the individuals the data says are likely to pose those risks.

Continue Reading Data Analytics: It’s All About The Question You Ask

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that Tesla “is building a hardcore litigation department where we directly initiate & execute lawsuits.” The lawyers will report directly to him. Said Musk, “Looking for hardcore streetfighters, not white-shoe lawyers like Perkins or Cooley who thrive on corruption.”
Musk is soliciting responses from

Early this week, Richard Tromans at Artificial Lawyer reported on a Survey done by the ContractWorks group of Onit. Onit is an enterprise workflow solutions provider. Onit acquired ContractWorks earlier this year.

ContractWorks surveyed some 350 general counsel, in-house lawyers, and other legal department members in the United States and the United Kingdom. The purpose of the Survey was to determine their satisfaction (or lack thereof) with tech implementation within their departments.

Continue Reading Legal Tech: a 77% Failure Rate?

A couple of commentators noted the announcement by AmLaw 100 firm Hogans Lovells last week that making partner requires “being all in .” According to Hogans Lovell, being all in typically means 2400 hours per year. (Hogans Lovell says it recognizes this “goal” could be achieved by billable hours and “further contributions .” But Hogans