The traditional law firm. Composed of partners: the firm owners who toiled in the associate vineyards for several years and who were ultimately rewarded with the brass ring. A partnership, a piece of the ownership of the firm. A piece of security that tied you to the firm and your partners. On the other side were the associates—those who worked hard toward partnership and the security it brought.
 

Continue Reading Non Equity Partnerships and the Changing Law Firm Culture

Law firms and legal departments need a legal operations platforms that allow adaptability and individuality within an overall system and parameters. And firm management needs the ability to assess what’s being done, and its profitability, and compare the business lines of a firm and legal department. Litify believes the future is cloud based platforms that provide this kind of adaptability and flexibility. 
 
Litify, an end-to-end legal ops platform for law firms and legal departments, recently announced a partnership with The Noble Law. The Noble Law is a women-owned plaintiffs’ employment law firm. It was founded on principles of diversity, empathy, equity, integrity, inclusion, and innovation. Litify will provide the firm with a view of their clients, cases, and staff at all levels.
 
According to Laura Noble, founder and managing partner of The Noble Law, “Having data at our fingertips allows us to move quickly and thoroughly respond to our client’s needs and help them navigate what is typically a very stressful process,… Litify’s cloud-based technology will empower our staff to collaborate with clients more efficiently while enabling data-driven decisions to support successful outcomes.” The firm plans to use the Litify platform to centralize workflows and case information.
 
Built on Salesforce and using cloud technology, Litify claims to streamline and automate matter and task management, document generation, timekeeping, billing, and client communications. It also hopes to provide data-driven insights to law firms, in-house legal departments, and government agencies. It is an integrated platform for client relationship management, document and case management, internal and external communication.
 
The announcement caught my eye, given the type of work The Noble Law does and its culture. It’s also noteworthy since Litify seems to be gaining traction in its effort to specialize in legal ops and create a new category in the legal tech market. Litify is on a hot streak. It has tripled in size and now has some 200 employees and some 300 clients. In 2019 it received a $50 Series A investment of capital.
 
I talked to Litify’s COO, Ari Treuhaft, recently about Litify. We also talked about his legal tech journey, which is interesting.
 
I first chatted with Treuhaft about 3 years ago when I did an article on litigation analytics. At the time, he was Head of Product of the national plaintiffs’ law firm, Morgan and Morgan. He was responsible for moving Morgan to Litify on a firmwide basis, no small feat given the firm’s size and the notorious independent streak most lawyers have. The result of his Herculean effort was a more standard way of doing things for the firm.
 
After this implementation, he began to get calls from other firms seeking his advice on how to do something similar. This work led in late 2019 to his move full time to Liftify.
 
Treuhaft had some interesting observations about Litify, the legal market, and where things are going (or should be).
 
Treuhaft confirmed that Litify employs a platform, cloud-based approach that’s designed to drive data-based decisions. It’s primarily intended, he says, for operational based organizations.
The trend now is that law firms to starting to think like all other businesses
 
More recently, Litify has been targeting both law firms and organizations to facilitate operational thinking. The kind of thinking most other businesses have been using for some time. According to Treuhaft, “the trend now is that law firms to starting to think like all other businesses.” This is also evidenced by firms hiring COOs’ and looking at how to connect various internal systems.
 
The idea of Litifiy, says Treuhaft, is to provide an adaptable platform to be used by law firms with different business models: contingency fee firms to hourly billing firms, for example. He says the platform is designed to be flexible. It can thus accommodate different, individual ways of doing things that special snowflake lawyers pride themselves on.
 
Treuhaft observed that the legal business in the U.S. is incredibly unstructured. Lawyers and legal professionals expect and demand the discretion to run matters the way they want. But firm management needs an overall system to understand what lawyers are doing and manage the business. Says Treuhaft, a lot of legal tech is limited because it will only do certain things: it has a limited addressable market. What’s really needed, according to Treuhaft, is a platform that can be used for all different types of matters and business. Says Treuhaft, “you have to give practice groups what then need and at the same time give managing partners the transparency necessary to run a business.”
 
I have no idea if Litify delivers on this concept, but it’s a good one. While many law firms are similar, they all have different individual lawyers working within them who, either by necessity or hubris, have different ways of practicing and doing things. And law firms have different client mixes with different needs and goals. So the idea that one size fits all just doesn’t work.
Firms and in-house legal will more and more move away from legacy, on-prem systems and to cloud-based platforms that allow adaptability and transparency to the user
 
Treuhaft is right: firms need legal operations platforms that allow adaptability and individuality within an overall system and parameters. And firm management needs the ability to assess what’s being done, and its profitability, and compare the business lines of a firm. Measuring workflow efficiency and internal productivity across multiple providers and products is pretty hard. Its almost impossible without some sort of analytic data-driven tools.
 
Litify is looking to market the product across the ecosystem so that in-house departments and their law firms will both use it. This would allow them both to be better focused on workflow and how to do things better.
 
The future? He thinks firms and in-house legal will more and more move away from legacy, on-prem systems and to cloud-based platforms that allow adaptability and transparency to the user.
 
I think he’s right.

 


Pre-pandemic, I faithfully attended ALM’s LegalWeek every year. The event was traditionally held in late January, in the dead of New York city’s winter. So every year, it would snow sometime during the conference. Attendees were fond of saying: it ain’t LegalWeek unless it snows.

 

This year, the conference was moved from late January to last week due to the Omicron surge and finally kicked off this past week. I figured it wouldn’t snow (and it wouldn’t be the normal LegalWeek) since it was mid-March and the crocuses were already in bloom. But sure enough, on the first full day of the conference, just like the swallows returning to Capistrano, on cue, it did indeed snow.

 

And just like the weather, the Show itself provided a sense of normalcy finally after two long years.

Continue Reading It’s Not LegalWeek Unless It Snows

It’s Thanksgiving again. A time to stuff ourselves, watch some serious football (well, some football anyway), and be thankful. It got me thinking: what do I, as a blogger on legal technology and innovation, have to be thankful for this year (beyond, of course, my tech toys lol).

 

So, here are my top 10 things I’m thankful for this year:

 

Continue Reading 10 Things This Legal Tech Blogger Is Thankful For

On September 14, Law360 Pulse released its annual Glass Ceiling Report. The Report summarizes Law 360’s Survey of women in law firms for 2020. Every time I hear about one of these Surveys, I hope for once, it will reveal some real progress. But they never do: just like the Law 360 Diversity Survey results previously discussed, the Glass Ceiling results are discouraging. Not just discouraging. Embarrassing. It makes me mad. It ought to make us all angry.

 

Continue Reading Law360 2020 Glass Ceiling Survey: Little Change for Women in Law Firms

The annual Law360 Pulse Diversity Snapshot was recently released, and the numbers are once again depressing. The fact is that the practice of law remains the province of white people. (The Survey did not look at how women are faring, although a coming Law360 Survey will. But I would guess it would be accurate to say the profession still belongs primarily, if not exclusive, to old white guys). I had a chance recently to talk to Kerry Benn, Director of Series, Surveys & Data at Law360, about the Survey.

 

Benn told me Law 360 has been doing the Survey annually for seven years. For 2020, the Survey was completed by some 276 law firms of various sizes, so it’s pretty representative.

Continue Reading Law Firm Diversity: The Continuing Oxymoron

Uber Preferred Counsel Program uses data, metrics and tough questions to determine outside counsels’ commitment to diversity.

 

Let’s be blunt: The legal profession in general and law firms, in particular, have an abysmal record of diversity and inclusion. I have written about this several times, but despite the urgings of those more influential and well-spoken than me, improvements, well, just haven’t happened. The most recent ABA Study of diversity progress (or better put, lack thereof) glaringly demonstrates the failures.

 

The improvement in quality of work and decision making of diverse teams—teams composed of those other than old (and young) white men—have been well documented. Despite this, and even though both law firms and clients talk a good diversity and inclusion game, nothing ever seems to change. Why?

Continue Reading Want Diversity in Law Firms? Clients Have to Demand It

It’s early January, which for me means CES, the giant consumer electronics show.  (CES used to Stand for Consumer Electronics Show but now it’s just CES). CES calls itself the world’s largest and most important tech event, where the entire technology ecosystem gathers to conduct business, launch products, build brands, and network

 

Each year I go to CES and come back energized and optimistic. Each year I try to summarize what I learned and how those lessons might apply to legal.

Continue Reading Lessons For Legal: 2021 CES

Earlier this week, I saw an article by Dan Roe with Legal.com about how contingency fees were on the rise in business and commercial litigation since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

But lest some think this means BigLaw may be getting ready to stride into a lucrative new area that frees them from the tyranny of the billable hour and downward rate pressure, think again.

 

Continue Reading BigLaw and Contingency Fees: A Culture Clash

Last summer, I wrote two pieces about the lack of gender equality in the profession generally and big law in particular. These were based on an ABA Survey, which summarized several recent trends of the profession in such areas as diversity, women, legal education, technology, and more. It was not a pretty picture. (My first piece summarized the findings, the second responded to some criticisms of my interpretations of the Survey’s findings).

 

A recent Survey by Burford Capital conducted by Ari Kaplan Advisors, confirms the startling gap between men and women law firm compensation, especially at the partner level. This gap translates pretty directly into a lack of power of women within the law firm. And a lack of power translates into an inability to change the conditions that cause it.

 

Continue Reading Burford Survey Reveals Big Law Gender Gap and Why