Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices

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Writing in Bloomberg Law, Sam Skolnik and Amanda Iacone report that recent initiatives to lower the costs of legal services in at least three western states may inadvertently make it easier for Big Four accounting firms to enter the U.S. legal marketplace. This could, in turn, present a major threat to Big Law. The proposed changes, which would affect state bar rules regarding law-firm ownership in California, Arizona and Utah, are intended to stimulate competition…
In a recent post on The Artificial Lawyer, Jon McNerney, CEO at CaseLines, reports on a partnership his company has established with the Court of Justice for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as initiatives the company has undertaken with Kenya’s court of appeal and South Africa’s civil courts. CaseLines offers a cloud-based platform for courts, local government and law firms that is designed to facilitate the management of…
The Artificial Lawyer reports on another significant move by a Big Four accounting firm into legal territory with EY Law‘s installation of an AI document review system at its offices around the world. A February 9, 2019 post in The Artificial Lawyer states that “EY Law, which has over 2,000 lawyers across 81 jurisdictions, will use the system across its legal advisory and managed legal services (MLS) groups.” This is only the latest advance…
A recent article in The Toronto Star draws attention to a widespread problem that should concern every lawyer in our profession. It describes the growing number of reports to the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel of the Law Society of Ontario by articling students who describe the firms that employ them as “abusive workplaces.” Specific examples include “Verbal threats and humiliation. Working more than 100 hours a week. Not being properly paid.” These problems are not…
“Your billable time is your income; your non-billable time is your future.” – David Maister Non-billable time gets little respect* Many perceive non-billable time as something that can be conjured at will. Taking someone to dinner who may or may not be a qualified client prospect can be recorded as business development. Furthermore, that two-hour dinner can turn into three or four and, with travel time, five hours. Those who have spent many hours on…
In a world where unfamiliar and complex communications systems are the norm, it is not only the legislatively naive and digitally undereducated who are subject to expensive cons and scams. This difficult lesson was driven home at Dentons Canada last year during a real estate transaction, when an associate inadvertently wired $2.5 million to a fraudulent account in Hong Kong rather than to the intended recipient. In an article in The American Lawyer, Scott…
There may never have been a better time to read The Path to Lawyer Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, a 2017 report by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being. The Report “defines well-being and sheds light on the lack of well-being in the legal profession.” It then “offers concrete, actionable recommendations on how to fix the problems […] .” The document can be read online, where recommendations may be accessed by stakeholder (defined as “judges,…
In an article on LawSites entitled “Five Days, Two Conferences, One Echo Chamber,” Massachusetts lawyer and legal journalist Bob Ambrogi describes his recent attendance at two legal conferences held in New York City in early February, Legalweek (now in its 37th year) and Inspire.Legal (inaugurated in 2019). Although the events were very different, Ambrogi says, he found them both to be of value. However, he was discouraged to note that the organizers, presenters, target audiences,…
A column by Robert Ambrogi published recently in Above the Law may attract the interest of legal professionals for its comic or its cautionary value – depending on the reader. Ambrogi details the reasons why, in November of 2018, Justice A.C.R. Whitten of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada felt compelled to slice and dice the list of fees and costs that had been submitted to the court for approval by a team…
Michael Rynowecer, founder and president of BTI Consulting, reports that a remarkable one third of law firms in the USA plan to increase their spending on marketing and business development (MBD) in 2019. “This is three times more firms than last year,” Rynowecer says, “making this the largest number of firms increasing their MBD spending in nine years. Where are the additional funds going? Rynowecer’s interviews with more than 136 law-firm marketing leaders between July…