I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been

Wayne Gretzky

Last week, I was back at the sprawling CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. I go every year, although I missed the last two years due to the pandemic. 

CES has always been gracious enough to extend a media pass to me, even though I write more about legal tech than consumer tech. CES goes out of its way to accommodate the media. Nice media rooms close to most of the sessions and exhibit halls. Lunch every day. Lots of background material to make our jobs easier, not harder. It’s nice to feel welcomed for a change.

Continue Reading CES 2023: 10 Tech Trends That Will Impact Legal

My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6.

As we close out 2022, it’s customary to look back and highlight the most noteworthy events or discuss all the things we are thankful for during the year.

While I have a lot of things to be thankful for, I want to focus on what we have to be most grateful for from a legal tech standpoint. Looking back at 2022, what had the most significant positive impact on legal? And its data. What can data do for lawyers? What it can show us. Information we never had before.

Continue Reading As 2022 Closes, I Am Thankful For…Data

There’s lots of talk about AI and machine learning and how those tools will or will not impact the practice of law.

One school—perhaps buoyed by all the talk and little perceived impact—says it’s all hoopla. That AI won’t affect how lawyers do their job one iota. The other group—the sky is falling group—focuses on the possibility that robots will soon replace lawyers. They believe that machines will ultimately rule the human race. Neither extreme is entirely accurate.

I recently had a chance to hear Richard Susskind speak on AI in law and, as always, found his comments perceptive and spot on. Susskind spoke as part of a series of lectures entitled Legal Tech Essentials 2022. This year, the series was a joint effort between Bucerius Law School’s Center for Legal Technology and Data Science and Singapore Management University’s Centre for Computational Law at the Yong Pung How School of Law.

Continue Reading Legal AI: A Lawyer’s New Best Friend?

If you want to be a successful lawyer, work hard at identifying and eliminating your clients’ pain points.

This past Sunday, I decided I wanted a small tabletop Christmas tree for my office. After all, ’tis the season. I went online and was immediately faced with a confusing and irritating search (Tabletop Christmas trees not readily indexed on several sites). But, I finally found one at a big box store nearby. I could get it delivered by Monday afternoon, but what the hell, I could also drive over and big it up immediately, right? Wrong.

I got to the store, and it was packed. Of course, it was impossible to find the trees, especially tabletop ones. When I got to the right spot, there were no trees, even though the website said the store had several in stock.

Continue Reading Want To Be a Successful Lawyer? Be More Like Amazon. Here’s Ten Ways

While lots of states endlessly debate what to do about A2J and contemplate their navels, Alaska has actually done something that might just move the needle.

On December 1, the Alaska Supreme Court adopted Bar Rule 43.5. This rule sets up a process for those who have not necessarily graduated from law school to provide certain limited legal services to those Alaskans in need. And they can do so without the worry of being accused of the unauthorized practice of law.

Continue Reading Alaska Offers Practical Approach to A2J Crisis

Several articles and surveys that have come out recently suggest a looming donnybrook in 2023 between law firms and business clients. The law firms want to aggressively raise rates but their business clients claim to be outraged by such efforts. These clients also say they plan to resist such efforts aggressively.

Pardon me, but I have heard this before. Law firms annually raise rates—albeit not as much as they plan in 2023. And many clients claim outrage before swallowing hard and accepting the increases. But there is some evidence 2023 may be different.

Continue Reading To Raise or Not To Raise Lawyer Rates: That Is The 2023 Question

Lexion, an AI-powered contract management system geared to in-house lawyers and legal professionals, recently announced the results of a survey of some 450 in-house legal professionals. The Survey sought information on the state of legal technology, the potential economic slowdown, and the potential impact of any slowdown on their work. The results were published in The State of Legal Technology: Improving Efficiency with Existing Staff and New Technology as Hiring Slows. Respondents include in-house counsel, legal operations professionals, and contract managers across various industries.

Much of what the Survey found was not surprising. Close to 90% of the respondents are worried about the economy. Most of the respondents (almost 70%) believe their companies will likely soon slow down or freeze hiring. Most think they will also need to reduce outside counsel spend and even conduct layoffs.

Continue Reading Legal Tech: It’s Not Just for Lawyers Anymore

I just finished reading James Patterson’s book, The Last Days of John Lennon. In it, he goes through a fair amount of the history of the Beatles, both before and after the breakup.

I was struck by the role Ringo Starr played in the group. Like Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer who recently passed away, Ringo never really got the credit he deserved for being a world-class drummer. But more than that, reading the book, I discovere the role Ringo played in the group’s culture and with John, Paul, and George after the breakup. It was Ringo who tried to heal the relationships between the three. To keep them in touch with one another. To be there for them when they needed his presence. In many respects, he was the (and is) the Beatles unassuming flame keeper.

Continue Reading Every Law Firm Needs a Ringo

Several years ago, I was engaged by an insurance carrier to defend many of its insureds in some repetitive litigation across the nation. At one point, the VP of Claims to whom I reported and I were asked to brief the carrier’s VP of subrogation on the litigation. The subrogation unit was exploring whether any recovery actions could be brought against those arguably responsible for the losses and costs. (In most insurance companies, pursuing third party claims is the responsibility of a separate subrogation unit).

We were sitting in the palatial waiting area of the subro VP’s office when I spied a picture on the wall of a well-known outside subrogation lawyer. This lawyer was well known for obtaining several significant recoveries of the carrier. I jokingly asked my guy why my picture was not on his waiting room wall. He said, “Steve. The guy whose picture is on the wall makes us money. You just cost us money.”

Continue Reading Why Are So Many In-House Counsel Are Reluctant to Bring Plaintiff Actions?

Everyone is talking about the recent Partners Compensation Survey conducted jointly by Major, Lindsay and Africa, and Law360. Perhaps rightly so. The data for the Survey came from some 1800 equity and nonequity partners. While it was not specified, my guess is that those surveyed primarily came from larger firms.

The big headline from the Survey is that 2021 was a great year to be a partner in big law, at least financially. It was a record year across the board. So much for the notion that you can’t be productive working from home. But there were some other takeaways that are perhaps not so attention-grabbing. I recently talked with Craig Savitzky, Senior Data Analyst of Law360, about some of these.

Continue Reading The Partners Compensation Survey: Lots of Interesting Non Comp Findings