Ed note: This is the latest installment in a series of posts from Lateral Link’s team of expert contributors. Kristina Marlow is a Director with Lateral Link’s D.C. office who brings almost 20 years of experience in the Washington legal market to her work with associate and partner candidates. Prior to joining Lateral Link, Kristina spent a decade at Gibson Dunn, first as a litigation associate and then as the D.C. office’s recruiting manager. A Michigan native, Kristina earned her J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center’s evening program and a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University, where she was named “Outstanding Senior.”
Dear Associate at a Biglaw Firm: I am the legal recruiter to whom you were introduced in a recent post on Above the Law. I am hoping we can connect regarding our shared interest in maximizing your use of LinkedIn…
If the legal industry today is the Matrix, which character would you be?
Oh, we are Morpheus. Definitely.
I spent 30 minutes with Morpheus Phil Weiss, founder of a group of over a thousand lawyers, policymakers, and technologists that meet up in bars, cafes, and creative workspaces from Brooklyn to San Francisco to Stockholm. They call their group Legal Hackers, and its mission is to hack the law.
What? Hack the law? Like, in public? In broad daylight? Is that legal?
“We call it extra-legal mechanisms. Not illegal. Extra-legal.” Weiss, a good-natured young lawyer (Brooklyn Law ’12, associate at Friedman Law Group), had the savvy of a well-read academic but the easygoing manner of a millennial.
So, extra-legal, huh? But “hacking the law” was still a bizarre concept for me. “Look,” Weiss patiently explained as my brain struggled to grasp the vision, “we just bring technologists and lawyers together to explore and create solutions at the intersection of law and technology.”
I started to understand. We’re not just talking about alternative career paths for lawyers; we’re talking about paradigm-shifting innovation to re-terraform the stodgy, old-school legal industry. We’re talking about a movement, a framework.
I know you’ll be humming that song a couple hours from now (and thanking me for it). But, it underscores that clients are demanding ch-ch-ch-change from the legal profession on both sides of the border. We can’t ignore it any longer. We need to turn and face the strain head on. We need to meet the challenges of globalization and technological innovation and transform our industry.
It looks like Canadian lawyers are making an attempt to join the twentieth century — sorry, I mean the twenty-first century. The Canadian Bar Association recently released its Futures Initiative report that sprung from two years of consultations by lawyers and legal profession experts. The Futures Report makes twenty-two recommendations for helping the Canadian legal profession break away from its horse and buggy business model (developed by Gen A) to join a world where you can watch video of a horse online before purchasing it with Bitcoins…
You may have heard about a behavioral science experiment involving monkeys and a ladder with a banana at the top of the ladder. When one monkey would try to climb the ladder to reach the banana, the researchers would spray all of the monkeys with a hose. After a while, when a monkey tried to go towards the ladder, the others would stop him so that they wouldn’t get hosed. The researchers then switched out one of the monkeys with a new monkey who didn’t know about the hose. When he would go towards the ladder, just as before, the others would stop him. The swapping continued, and the new monkeys would join in stopping newer monkeys from going towards the ladder, not knowing about the hose treatment, but learning from the example of the original monkeys that going towards the ladder is bad. The researchers eventually swapped out all of the monkeys so that none of the original monkeys were together, but all of the new monkeys would try to stop each other from going towards the ladder.
There is some debate online as to the origins of that experiment, or whether it ever happened, so I’ll just call it the “parable of the monkeys who just do what everyone else does without understanding why” — or, for short, “the parable of the associate.” If you work in a law firm, you probably recognize the above fact pattern and can analogize it to your colleagues.
I’ve come across a bunch of lawyers since I started my legal career ten years ago. Some of them were really good, some were really bad, and most of them were just somewhere in the spectrum of not being memorable. The lawyers who were bad were all bad for about a thousand different reasons, but the lawyers who were good, almost always shared one quality: they were outside-the-box thinkers….
Ed note: Stat of the Week is a new feature that pulls custom data points from ATL Research as well as noteworthy sources across the web.
Last month at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) held its annual conference. As would be expected, the event generated a tremendous volume of Twitter chatter, much of it focused on statistics. The LexisNexis Business of Law blog has compiled a collection of the most compelling, quirky, or frankly speculative #ILTA14 numbers (e.g., “Prediction: 10 years 40% of the Fortune 500 won’t exist.” – Shirley Crow). Read on for more highlights.
The business of law continues to evolve post-Great Recession. Law firms are dealing with clients who are trimming legal budgets, shunning expensive hourly billing rates and subsidized training of associates, and opting for smaller and more cost-sensitive legal options.
These trends have had a ripple effect. The job market for lawyers—while showing signs of improvement in small pockets—remains depressed, resulting in intense critiques of legal education, downward-trending law school applications, and law schools adapting or closing. Presumably, law students and new lawyers notice these trends and are strategizing accordingly, thinking commercially and entrepreneurially about their careers, and seeking the best legal experience and ROI in a rough macro legal market.
Entrepreneurs recognize these trends and a few startups—UpCounsel, Lawdingo, Priori Legal, and LawTrades—are riding a robust tech (and derivative branding) wave to disrupt the increasingly vulnerable legal industry. Each (i) strives to provide a frictionless and transparent platform for cost-conscious clients to quickly acquire legal services, and (ii) offers lawyers an alternative avenue to monetize their degrees free of typical infrastructural and administrative burdens of solo or small practice. This new crop of startups has earned the label “the Uber of law.” What is their value proposition for lawyers? Are they truly Uber-like providers of legal services, or is that just opportunistic branding? Should lawyers care?
We’ve already mentioned how a number of comments have been submitted concerning Australian Attorney General George Brandis’ Hollywood wishlist proposal for copyright reform in Australia. There are a number of interesting comments worth reading. I was pleasantly surprised to see the normally copyright-maximalist BSA come out against the proposal, saying that it will create a real risk of “over-enforcement, punishment of lawful conduct and blocking of lawful content including critically important free speech rights.” Dr. Rebecca Giblin, who has studied these issues and other attempts to put in place similar filters (and how they’ve failed), has also put forth a very interesting comment.
The most bizarre comment, however, has to come from Village Roadshow. Village Roadshow is the Australian movie studio that the US State Department admitted was used as the token “Australian” movie studio in the MPAA’s big lawsuit against iiNet. iiNet is the Australian ISP that the MPAA (with Village Roadshow appearing as “the local face”) sued for not waving a magic wand and stopping piracy. iiNet won its case at basically every stage of the game, and that big legal win is really at the heart of these new regulatory proposals. Apparently, Village Roadshow’s CEO still hasn’t gotten over the loss in the legal case.
A recent survey about BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) resulted in the finding that “78% of employees use their own mobile devices for work” and “the use of personal technology to access corporate data can be solved by better communication between both parties regarding security, data and privacy concerns.” On July 10, 2014 Webroot issued its BYOD Security Report entitled “Fixing the Disconnect Between Employer and Employee for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)” which included these key findings:
One of my all-time favorite eDiscovery cases (which isn’t actually about eDiscovery) came out a few years ago out of the somewhat-obscure Middle District of Florida. On June 6, 2006, in Avista Management, Inc., vs. Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co., Judge Gregory Presnell ordered two Tampa lawyers who had been unable to resolve their dispute over the location of an upcoming deposition to meet at the end of the month on the courthouse steps and “[A]t that time and location, counsel shall engage in one (1) game of “rock, paper, scissors.” The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location[.]”
One could presume that the order was motivated by Judge Parnell’s desire to provide the USARPS (motto: “America’s Official Rock, Paper, Scissors League”) with what is almost certainly its first – and last- opportunity to opine publicly about the dangers posed to our civil litigation system from the unregulated use of weapons of mass gaming: “I guarantee you right now,” Mr. Leshem [head of the US Rock, Paper, Scissors League] said, “that both lawyers will open with paper. Lawyers open with paper 67 percent of the time, because they deal with so much paper.”
Mr. Leshem offered to officiate the match. “What I don’t want,” he said, “is some rogue element of rock-paper-scissors coming down from the bench. When the law takes rock-paper-scissors into its own hands, mayhem can occur.”
In my last column, I shared how Judge Richard Wesley of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is using his iPad while on the bench. I explained how he got started using technology—by using PDFs instead of paper documents—and eventually transitioned to using his iPad for many of his judicial duties. And we learned that not only does he use an iPad, he has managed to convince some of his Second Circuit colleagues to do the same, thus reducing the amount of paper used by the judges.
It was clear from my last column that Judge Wesley is sold on the benefits of using technology. But he’s also well aware of the drawbacks—a topic I promised to cover in today’s column. So let’s get started.
As part of a nationwide tour, Above the Law is coming to the great city of Chicago.
Join preeminent law firm management consultant Bruce MacEwen, Katten Muchin Chicago managing partner Gil Sofer, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. assistant general counsel Jason Shaffer for a panel discussion (sponsored by Pangea3) on the evolutionary and market forces bearing down on the law firm business model. Come on by Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m., for thought-provoking discussion, food, drink, and networking.
Space is limited and there will be no on-site registration, so please RSVP
Average law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…
Kinney Recruiting’sEvan Jowers is currently in Hong Kong for client meetings and still has a few slots available through October 22. Evan will also be in Hong Kong November 14 to December 15. Further, Robert Kinney has been in Frankfurt and Munich this week and is available for meetings with our Germany based readers.
One of our key law firm clients has referred us to one of their important clients in the US, Europe and China – a leading global technology supplier for the auto industry – in order to handle their search for a new Asia General Counsel and Asia Chief Compliance Officer.
Kinney is exclusively handling this in-house search.
This position will have a lot of responsibility and include supervision of eight attorneys underneath them in the Asia in-house team. The new hire will report directly to the global general counsel and global chief compliance officer, who is based in the US. The new hire’s ability to make judgement calls is going to be as important as their technical skill set background.
The position is based in Shanghai and will deal with the company’s operations all over Asia and also in India, including frequent acquisitions in the region.
It is expected that the new hire will come from a top US firm’s Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong offices, currently in a top flight corporate practice at the senior associate, counsel or partner level. Of course, the candidate can be currently in a relevant in-house role.