The typical law firm business model and lawyer hubris often stymie effective succession planning.

Not that long ago, there was a plethora of articles and consultants focused on succession planning for law firms. You couldn’t attend a legal conference without seeing numerous presentations by well-heeled so-called experts on the subject. Of late, though, the craze seems to have died down. Propose a presentation on the issue now, and you probably won’t be invited to speak. It will be met with heh….old topic, already covered.

That’s why I was surprised to hear Laura Leopard, founder, and CEO of the consulting firm Leopard Solutions, being interviewed on the podcast, The Geek in Review, on just this subject. I must admit; I almost didn’t listen because I thought the topic had been beaten to death, and because I thought it had nothing to do with tech or innovation.Continue Reading Succession Planning for Law Firms. Hold My Beer

One of my favorite legal tech Conferences is put on by the American Association of Law Librarians, better known as AALL. I attend every year and write about what I observe. My articles on previous shows can be found here, here, here and here.

This year’s Show was July 15 through 18. Unfortunately, it was sandwiched in the middle of my lengthy travel schedule. I have had numerous ABA leadership responsibilities and spoke at an industry conference, all of which kept me on the road more than usual. I had to miss the opening Sunday night session and reception. Because of all this, I haven’t gotten around to providing my thoughts on this show. Under the maxim, better late than never, here goes.Continue Reading Navigating the Evolving Legal Landscape: The 2023 AALL Conference and the Brave New World

Trellis’ new state court analytics tools provide much needed insights into litigators and their law firms which will lead to better strategic decisions. But the real value of the tools may be to firm management, especially for large firms with offices in multiple locations. 

Lost in the hoopla recently from the announcements of big players in legal tech of their generative AI offerings (as impressive as they were) was an announcement by Trellis of an important new set of analytic tools. 

Trellis is a state court legal research and analytics platform. I have written before about Trellis’ laser focus on state court analytics. While other bigger players focus on federal court—where the data picking is easier—or offer state court analytics as another product line, Trellis understands the state court game better than anyone. Continue Reading Trellis New State Court Analytics Tools: Improved Litigation Decisions and Better Firm Management

Richard Tromans is fond of saying, “It’s a game changer when the game has changed.” NetDocuments’ new generative AI products may be the game changer.

When I was practicing law full-time, we often had discussions and dreamed about a dynamic “past efforts file.” The idea was that we should save documents that others could later use as templates for future work. We all realized how beneficial and efficient that would be. The problem, of course, was twofold. Getting people to place work in the file, in the first place, was a challenge. They had to spend nonbillable time inputting the material. And it was often only addressed once a case ended when they weren’t interesting. A second problem: figuring out how to easily access the documents in the files.

With the advent of digital and the cloud, getting the documents in the file became easier since they were often stored there already. But access to them was still an issue. How to search for them? What keywords could and should be used to find the documents? It often took more time than it was to just start from scratch. The result was a lot of unused knowledge for a lack of management.Continue Reading NetDocuments ndMAX. A Generative AI Game Changer?

Back in the day, there was a professional fireman named Red Adair. But Red was not just an ordinary fireman. He became famous for his knowledge and expertise in fighting oil well fires. Even more than that, he was known internationally as an innovator in a highly specialized and hazardous business: extinguishing and capping oil well blowouts. These blowouts were huge, expensive and happened both on land and offshore. These fires were challenging and required unique and far-reaching expertise.

As a lawyer, I modeled my mass tort marketing on Red’s pitch. We held ourselves out as only doing big complex cases. These cases are multi-faceted with constantly moving parts. Successfully handling them requires not only litigation savvy but media relations skills, precise risk assessment, and the ability to develop unique workflows to handle the litigation, often in multiple jurisdictions. Like Red, we touted ourselves as having abilities and the experience to handle these kinds of “fires” (and they often involved actually fires) that few others could match.Continue Reading Tackling Mass Tort and Complex Case Challenges with Redgrave Data’s Innovations

A few years ago, when contemplating whether to continue working full time in my law firm, perhaps as a CIO, or start my blog, I talked to Aaron Street, co-founder of The Lawyerist. Aaron told me, “There are firms that want to be innovative, and then there are firms that just want to say they are innovative.”

Continue Reading Law Firms and Digital Strategic Planning: Talking the Talk But Not Walking the Talk?

Earlier this month, I wrote about an innovative program in Pennsylvania. The program is designed to get younger lawyers more trial and courtroom experience. As part of that program, called Project Litigate, a related Judicial Task Force also is looking at ways to do the same thing. These recommendations include such things as making room for younger lawyers to argue motions in court. Pennsylvania judges have committed to have oral hearings on motions that might otherwise be decided on briefs–if a younger lawyer is involved is one way to do this.Continue Reading More Judges Recognize the Need for Younger Lawyers to Get Courtroom Experience

One of my favorite podcasts is Legal Speak, produced by Charles Garner. The topics are always interesting. The guests consistently offer thought-provoking ideas and positions.

Last week’s episode was entitled Why There Will Never Be a One-Size-Fits-All Solution to the Remote Work Conundrum. The podcast consisted of an interview by Patrick Smith with Ira Coleman, chairman of the large law firm McDermott Will & Emery.

It’s important at the outset to recognize and commend Coleman and his firm on the remote work issue. Many of his opinions recognized and were sensitive to the needs of lawyers. Many of his views were nuanced and recognize the needs of associates for flexibility in their work lives. Much more than many law firms, he and his firm demonstrate forward thinking and a recognition of new work realities.

But somewhat contrary to the title, Coleman’s position seemed to be that data supports the idea that lawyers (mainly associates) who work in an office somehow perform better. Better than those associates who work more at home. Continue Reading Remote Work: Lawyers Can’t Handle the Truth

Steve Schwartz, the lawyer in New York who improperly used ChatGPT recently, was all the news last week. For those who don’t know, Schwartz says he used ChatGPt to prepare a Brief filed with a court. The Brief included some case citations that ChatGPT supplied. The problem was the cases didn’t exit. They were hallucinations.

Photo by ilgmyzin on Unsplash

While many were quick to blame the tech, the real problem was not the tech. It was that Schwartz didn’t check the citations. He didn’t read the cases. I would guess that he wouldn’t have read cases supplied by online legal research. He wouldn’t have read the cases found by manual legal research and cited by his associates in a memorandum. Continue Reading Judicial Treatment of ChatGPT: Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath?

Like many of you, I watched and listened to the Keynote that kicked off Apple’s World Wide Development Conference on June 5.

Frankly, I was blown away by the introduction of the Apple Vision Pro device. It undoubtedly has some great attributes as a consumer product (gaming, photos, movies, and sports viewing). But in the long run, it also has the potential power to disrupt the business and legal community in perhaps profound ways.

I know; I have heard all the naysayers. People won’t want it. It’s too immersive; it won’t work. It’s just an expensive gadget to supplement what other Apple products— like desktop computers, laptops, and iPads—already to some extent do. And the price ($3599) is just too damn high for a toy to watch movies on.Continue Reading Vision Pro May Change The Way We Work. Lawyers Too