It goes without saying that one of the most critical functions of a law firm is to train its associates adequately. But time constraints and a lack of consistency, as I have previously discussed, make good, sound training of associates problematic in many firms. However, large language models and GenAI, even open models, may offer potential solutions. Provided, of course, that the firm and its partners understand the risks and benefits of these models and how to use them.Continue Reading Revolutionizing Law Firm Training with AI: The Power of Large Language Models

Working with outside counsel is like getting thrown in a pit of rattlesnakes and hoping one won’t bite you. Anonymous

Axiom, the 14,000-person alternative legal service provider, launched in 2000, together with Wakefield Research, recently conducted and published a Study of U.S. in-house counsel. They conducted a 15-minute Survey online in January and February of this year. Some 300 general counsels of small, mid-size, and large businesses responded.Continue Reading Law Firms on Notice: Adapt to In-House Counsel’s Concerns in the Wake of Axiom’s 2023 Findings. Or Else

There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil. Walter Lippmann

As most of you know, I frequently attend conferences–both legal tech related and those related to technology in general, like CES. I do this because I am interested in the field and because I like to think what I write as a former practicing lawyer is valuable. The latter idea, of course, carries the responsibility to be candid and to “call em as I see em”. I have tried to do that since I started blogging some seven years ago.Continue Reading Integrity Over Access. Why I Said No Thanks to a Conference’s Demand for Positive Coverage

We best be careful, or we will find ourselves in a closet talking to ourselves too much.

Once upon a time, I had a good client who was fond of saying, “We best be careful, or we will find ourselves in a closet talking to ourselves too much.” Meaning, of course, that you get into trouble if you don’t get diverse viewpoints from people who perhaps see the problem and the world differently than you.

My client’s wisdom was recently brought home to me in connection with the Gen AI hoopla. The last two months have been a whirlwind of conferences for me. During that time, I attended three technology conferences. One was CES, which was generally directed toward consumer electronics and technology. The other two, LegalWeek and ABA TechShow, were both directed at legal technology in particular. Continue Reading Gen AI in Law: A Lawyer Reality Check

Every year, Thomson Reuters and the Georgetown Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession come with a report on the State of the Legal Market. I have written about the reports before; I find them enlightening and generally well done. The 2024 Report is based on data from some 179 U.S. law firms developed by Thomson Reuters’ Financial Insights platform. Data came from 48 AmLaw 100 firms, 49 AmLaw second 100 firms, and 82 midsize firms.

The 2024 Report came out in early January this year and, as usual, is chock full of interesting findings. The Report used the historical demise of Pan Am Airlines as an example to drive home a point. Law firms may be facing a tipping point, a point at which they need to refine how they do business to survive. Continue Reading The Thomson Reuters State of the Legal Market Report: Shifting Tides in Legal Practice?

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

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

With all the hype over GenAI, the metaverse, the digital world where people/avatars can mingle, has been largely forgotten. After all, the notion of working in teams of cartoonish avatars seemed unlikely at best. And silly at worst, particularly for any business purposes. No one seemed interested in dealing face to face with an avatar that looked like, say, Donald Duck. So, most of us dismissed the metaverse, putting it in the same class as blockchain. Much ado about nothing. Solutions in search of problems.

But then I happened to come across some groundbreaking work that Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is doing. The program is called Codec Avatars. It focuses on making the avatars closely resemble what we really look like and less abstract. They call these things Codec avatars. The goal is to make the avatars what they call “photo realistic” as opposed to expressive. Ok, you say, big deal, they are still unrealistic avatars with no arms and legs, etc. Why not just keep using Zoom?Continue Reading The Metaverse and Blockchain for Legal: We’re Back

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

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

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