From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out. People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t.
From “concept searching” to “cloud computing,” every year there are new buzz words and catch phrases that enter into the lexicon of legal technology. Of course, when you are dealing with technology of any sort, you should expect to update jargon regularly (such as from 3G to 4G to 5G, whatever that means).
2011 is shaping up to be no different. This year’s “it” phrase is already emerging in the industry. It evolved from the buzz words of yesteryear, and if this new phraseology is worth its salt, these new advances could drastically change how law is practiced for years to come.
Daniel de Juan, a sales engineer from Mitratech, summed up perfectly what LegalTech was like for me this year: “Being at LegalTech is almost like being at a casino, in the sense that you lose all track of time.”
Two years ago, I found the conference to be pretty intimidating, and that was when the conference was much smaller due to the weak economy. Last year, LegalTech New York was much bigger, and I found it slightly overwhelming. This year, due to some bad planning on my part, I came home from LegalTech utterly exhausted.
It seems I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. After a quick search on the Internet, I have seen only a few things written up about the conference, so I’m guessing many people went through the same experience. (For example, I spoke with members of The Posse List on the first night, and they told me that they were gearing up to do 36 interviews during the two and a half day conference — so it must have been a whirlwind for them as well.)
That said, here are some musings from my adventure last week….
I know lots of guys fantasize about boinking “barely legal” teenage girls. Not me, I like women: fully formed, adult women. There’s just something unseemly about older men salivating over girls who could have been in high school a year ago. Call me crazy, but it’s just more interesting as an adult to be intimate with other adults.
Similarly, I like my lawyers to actually practice law. There’s something unseemly about watching market forces turn law school graduates into glorified paralegals and secretaries. Call me a prude, but there’s just something gross about seeing young, nubile attorneys going around begging for document review positions. These people spent three years of their lives and six figures of their (or someone else’s) money to get law degrees; they should have something to show for their efforts.
But even if I don’t like to look, I can’t deny that this is happening. We are all living in a time that will be studied by future generations: a time when attorney career paths bifurcated, between traditional partnership-track associates and what I’ll call “barely legal” career paths….
There are plenty of attorneys in the major city offices who are not putting in enough hours and would love to be doing doc review versus the threat of being asked to look for another job. Wake up to what is happening out there in the real world!
— Ann Israel, in her advice column on NYLawyer.com (subscription), to a Yale Law School graduate and current federal law clerk seeking advice on how to get out of document review when she goes to a law firm after her clerkship (gavel bang: ABA Journal).
This week — in between tweeting some really funny stuff (such as how I want to blow up airports — it was so funny!), buying up every last can of Four Loko that I could get my hands on, and forwarding Skadden employee evaluations to all of my friends — I spent the rest of the time tracking the news articles and blog posts I wanted to cover in The Rundown.
Among other things in this edition, a prominent e-discovery company offers its predictions for 2011, a big fish swallows a little fish, and we engage in more Touro talk (this time positive).
There is even a crossword puzzle — seriously, a crossword puzzle…
This week, after boring myself to death listening to Lillian McEwen discuss Clarence Thomas’s “activities” on Larry King, I knocked back a couple cans of Four Loko to ease the pain and got right to work on this week’s Rundown.
Lots of free stuff available after the jump, including a free e-book on legal productivity, a newsletter on social media and the law, and a whitepaper on law practice management. There’s also a website that covers the entire history of social media from way back in the day when we had Usernets and BBS, and another article on how dubious discovery could land you in the slammer.
So let’s get on with it. Here is this week’s Rundown…
Welcome to the latest installment of The Rundown, a review of recent developments in the world of legal technology. Let’s plunge right in.
* Happy Birthday to Clio, a legal technology company that helps to streamline law offices. Clio is officially two years old, which is like twenty years in Biglaw.
* I pick up a lot of information about legal technology on Twitter. Two of the best people to follow in this subject area are Rob Robinson of Orange Legal Technologies and Eric Feistel of Integreon. These guys tweet out a plethora of information on a daily basis. It should be no surprise that in a past life they used to work together for another vendor.
* Another writer who has a firm grasp of e-discovery issues is Greg Buckles of ediscoveryjournal.com. This week he has an interesting post about vendor trends at LegalTech, which — hard to believe — is right around the corner.
The world of legal technology was quite busy this week. After culling through countless articles, press releases, and blog posts, I selected the stellar few, the finest gems, and most importantly, the ones I like, to share with the Above The Law faithful. I do it so you don’t have to.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.