Lawyers enjoy using the prefix “non”. Nonlawyer, nonequity partner; as someone who was not a lawyer once told me, “I don’t like being referred to as a non anything.”

For law firms, making someone a partner is a little like a marriage. It brings legal obligations, creates emotional bonds, and can be hard to escape. Making someone a nonquity partner, on the other hand, is like living with someone. If you don’t like how it’s going, you can just cut your losses and move on. No fuss, no muss.

The concept of the nonequity partner tier has been around for a long time. ). But it has picked up considerable steam in the last decade as firms grappled with large groups of associates becoming eligible for partnership. Perhaps, given the numbers, equity partners were not as familiar with many of the associates who were eligible for partnership as they once were. These were often associates the equity partners were perhaps unsure of but didn’t want to lose (aka let’s hedge our bets). All too often, these were, unfortunately, women and people of color.

Continue Reading Swelling Ranks of Nonequity Partners In Law Firms: It’s Not Personal. It’s Just Business

If you announce that something is elegant or classy, it probably isn’t.

Seth Godin

Another day, and more announcements by legal tech vendors of some fancy new Gen AI tools that will save the profession, if not the world. It’s a dizzying array of claims and promises. I received four email Gen AI announcements from legal tech vendors just today.

And for most of us, there is no way to really evaluate whether the tools will do what the vendors claim. Or whether the claims are basically being offered to show the vendor is keeping up with other vendors. It’s a full-blown hype cycle.

Of course, for those of us in the media, it’s hard to validate the claims being made. With consumer products–like say smartwatchs–we can play with the products and put them through the paces to see if they will do what the seller claims.

But with legal tech tools, lawyers and legal professionals have to use them in a legal setting to know if they will do what the vendor says. They have to be applied to actual legal problems to know whether they really work. And most lawyers and legal professionals aren’t likely to take the time to provide the kind of review that might enlighten others. 

Continue Reading To Lawyers Looking to Buy Generative AI Products: Let’s Be Careful Out There

Training of associates. Everyone agrees it’s critical. But all too often, it’s left to happenstance. As I have discussed before, happenstance training often penalizes women and people of color. Older white partners gravitate toward younger versions of themselves when making assignments that serve as training.

Even beyond that, a “luck of the draw” training approach is pretty dumb, given the tight labor market.

Of course, some firms attempt to create training programs. But all too often, they are run by partners who would rather work on billable matters. And let’s face it, lawyers are trained to be teachers/trainers. Another option is to rely on videos. Also ineffective

Continue Reading AltaClaro Associate Training Program: Old Problem. New Solution

I hate it when people talk about dysfunctional families. That suggests there are functional ones, but I sure haven’t seen one yet.

Smokeball, a cloud-based legal practice management software provider, today released its 2024 State of the Law Report. It reveals some pretty scary findings about smaller law firms and their lack of knowledge of fundamental business principles. The Report also shows a certain lack of consistency between what these firms believe is happening in the market and what they are doing about it. The Smokeball study suggests that many legal professionals in smaller firms are not rushing to adopt technologies, like Generative AI that could help them better serve their clients and be more profitable.

Continue Reading Smokeball Report Reveals a Dysfunctional View of Business and Technology by Smaller Law Firms 

Every now and then, I publish guest posts. I’m especially thrilled to offer the following posts for a couple of reasons. First, it is written by the esteemed and well-known plaintiffs’ lawyer, Jeffery Kimmel. His bio is at the end of the post but suffice it to say he’s a talented plaintiffs’ lawyer and author who frequently appears as an expert legal source for national media. The second reason I’m happy to offer this is that the post looks at the use of technology from a plaintiffs’ lawyer perspective. I come from a defense, bill by the hour, perspective so it’s refreshing to see another viewpoint. I hope you find the post as interesting as I do.

Innovative Advancements: How Plaintiff Attorneys Use Technology and Work Processes Differently

The use of technology in the legal industry has become increasingly important. This is especially true for plaintiff attorneys who represent individuals or groups of individuals wronged by another party. In the Bloomberg Law 2022 Legal Ops and Tech Survey, 86% of the survey participants agreed that legal tech significantly impacts their firm’s ability to meet client demands. With continual advancements in technology, this blog post aims to delve into the diverse ways plaintiff attorneys utilize these tools to effectively navigate the intricacies of their legal practice, adapt, and stay ahead.

Leveraging Legal Research Tools

Continue Reading Guest Post: Innovative Advancements: How Plaintiff Attorneys Use Technology and Work Processes Differently

Thomson Reuters announced several new generative artificial intelligence tools and platforms earlier this week. I had the privilege of attending a press briefing hosted by Thomson Reuters in advance of the announcement. Thomson Reuters personnel discussed the new products and offerings and allowed several of us to try them out. The presentations and products were impressive.

Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Unveils Next-Gen AI Tools with a Vision for the Future

A recent Major Lindsay & Africa Survey shows a startling gap between law firm management and law firm associates. Major Lindsay & Africa is a legal search firm that conducted its study at the beginning of 2023.

Here are some results that should cause management to take notice:

  • 60% of the associates surveyed say their firms are doing little to nothing to keep them at their firms.
  • 25% say they do not plan to stay at their firm for over a year.
  • 92% say they have yet to be asked to participate in an interview to give feedback on their experience at the firm.
Continue Reading Law Firm Associate Expectations: What Law Firms Need to Know. And Do

For years, many of us toiling away in law firms thought that life would be so much better as an in-house counsel. You didn’t have to bill time; you didn’t have billable hour quotas. You didn’t have to hustle business. Life would be so much simpler.

But a couple of recent surveys pretty clearly confirm that the grass is seldom greener. A study by Axiom, an alternative legal service provider, for example, has disturbing news for those thinking about jumping ship to in-house. 89% of the in-house lawyers surveyed say they are dissatisfied with their positions. That’s just about every in-house counsel surveyed. 61% say they are very stressed with their current jobs (so much for the simplistic, carefree life we outside lawyers envisioned).

Continue Reading The Harsh Reality of Being In-House Counsel: An Opportunity for Outside Lawyers?

I was recently a guest on a podcast called Discussions at the Round Table. The podcast is put on by the Round Table Group. The Group is a premier expert referral service. It locates, vetts, and engages expert witnesses in complex litigation matters. I was asked to talk about my work as a practicing lawyer with experts over the years.

For most of my career, I was a national mass tort defense lawyer. I had the chance to work with all sorts of experts in all types of cases and jurisdictions. Some of these experts were better, and some were worse. And the fact that the rules concerning what must be disclosed and how detailed expert reports must be sometimes made working with experts complicated.

Continue Reading Unlocking Success in Complex Litigation: 10 Essential Strategies for Lawyers and Experts

In the ever-evolving legal technology landscape, innovation has become synonymous with progress. Clio, a leading provider of cloud-based legal technology, has taken a significant step forward for one market segment by recognizing the specialized needs of personal injury law firms and lawyers. The product is called Case Management Software for Personal Injury Firms. The product is an add-on to Clio’s cloud-based legal practice management software, Clio Manage.

Clio is now offering plaintiffs’ lawyers features that it hopes will maximize settlements, streamline medical record management, and accelerate recovery proceeds and disbursements.

Continue Reading Clio’s Personal Injury Case Management Software: Tailoring Innovation to Meet Legal Needs