Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices

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A study conducted by the law firm Fenwick & West LLP found that in 2018, women comprised more than one quarter of all general counsel at large public technology companies such as Apple and Intel in the Silicon Valley 150 (SV150), and in major companies in the Standard and Poor’s 100 (S&P 100). In its review of the study’s findings, Corporate Counsel, a publication of LawNow, reported that “S&P 100 companies were more likely…
In early April, Ernst & Young (EY) announced that it had acquired the legal outsourcing service provider Pangea3 from Thomson Reuters, increasing the intensity of the accounting giant’s assault on the legal services industry. Robert Ambrogi at Above the Law warns that the move “does not bode well for law firms.” Pangea3 was originally established in 2005 to provide legal outsourcing to law professionals in India. A profile on Wikipedia reports that today the company…
The Artificial Lawyer reports on the completion of the first-ever U.K. residential property deal using blockchain technology rather than traditional property-transfer methods. The deal was managed by the law firm Mishcon de Reva, which describes its work as “cross-border, multi-jurisdictional and complex,” and this specific deal as the first “end-to-end digitised residential property transaction.” The Artificial Lawyer explains that in effect, the deal was carried out on “a blockchain-based platform, and completed via working alongside…
Update May 3, 2019: Congratulations to Cheslie Kryst, who has won the Miss USA Pageant and will now move on to compete for the title of Miss Universe! . A civil litigation lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina, Miss North Carolina has been attracting media attention, as well as invitations to speak and to serve as host at charitable events, for reasons that seem at first to be unrelated to her legal practice. Not only is…
A new report by professional services firm BDO USA suggests that more than 70 percent of in-house counsel “plan on leveraging technology in the next year to streamline legal operations” – and that outside counsel that are unable to adapt to the technology will likely be replaced. This information comes to us via an April 11, 2019 article in law.com, which explains that the report – based on a survey of 100 senior in-house…
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…