Legal Services Today

By Ralph Baxter

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A WORRIED AND FRIGHTENED TEAM NEEDS INSPIRATION FROM THE TOP The Coronavirus Crisis is unlike any other in our lifetimes.  As I wrote last week, how law firm leaders perform their duties will make a big difference in how their firms, and all who depend on them, fare. What law firm leaders need to do can be short handed into three categories: Lead, Manage, and Learn.  This week I will address the first of…
 A TIME LIKE NO OTHER: A LETHAL PANDEMIC GRIPS THE WORLD                                   We suddenly find ourselves in a dire and unexpected crisis.  A lethal, novel virus is spreading like wildfire around the world, leading to social policy decisions that radically change the way we work and live, which in turn are wreaking havoc with the world economy and financial markets,…
AS LAW MODERNIZES THESE VALUES WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE This week I want to examine four core values that I believe enable effective legal service and promote public confidence, and their implications for our future.  In almost all discussions of the future of law we focus on change.  What we need to do differently.  That is because we can and must do better.  A very healthy outlook.   But, as we make changes,…
THE NEW INITIATIVE HOSTED TWO DAYS OF STIMULATING DISCUSSION ON THE FUTURE OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION Modernization of legal service got an influential new ally last week with the launch of the Future of the Profession Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  To mark its launch the Initiative hosted Law 2030: A Global Conversation About the Future of the Profession, welcoming approximately 250 leaders from across the legal service community, last Thursday and Friday…
WE SHOULD NOT DEFINE THE ROLES OF HALF OUR PEOPLE IN THE NEGATIVE We really need to stop using the term “non-lawyer” to refer to everyone who works in legal services who has not passed the bar exam.   This issue is much more than a word choice.  At best it is careless. At worst it reflects a lack of respect for the contributions that half  the people in legal services make. Either way, we should…
OUR OUTMODED RULES IMPEDE INNOVATION AND CAUSE OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM TO UNDERSERVE A PUBLIC THAT NEEDS IT MORE THAN EVER In my first post on Legal Services Today, I wrote that, while we have a great legal system, it can and must do better.  Nearly every observer agrees that law has not kept pace with advances in technology and process design the way other businesses and professions have.   I listed three reasons law is not more…
8500 PROFESSIONALS FROM ACROSS THE LEGAL SERVICE ECOSYSTEM CAME TOGETHER FOR A WEEK OF LEARNING, SHARING, AND NETWORKING I participated in Legalweek 2020 in New York last week, co-chairing the Legal Business Strategy Program with Gina Passarella, Editor in Chief of the American Lawyer.  It was a exceptional experience. Here is my report: The World’s Most Comprehensive Legal Technology Event What began as “LegalTech,” the world’s largest and longest running legal technology trade show, has…
THE TRADITIONAL MODEL WILL CHANGE IN FIVE FUNDAMENTAL WAYS  I wrote last week about law firms’ increased focus on innovation, the market forces behind it, and why it is important to the overall modernization of legal services.   I believe this innovation effort will inexorably lead to five fundamental changes in the law firm business model.  Each change will have an impact on the others; once one changes, the others will necessarily adapt.  Here’s how I…
Law Firms Are Responding to Market Pressure With Increased Efforts to Innovate Law firms across the country are taking steps to innovate  the way they organize themselves and serve their clients.  This trend promises to be more than a passing fancy because it is driven by demands from corporate clients , as well as increasing competition from new entrants in the legal services market. This development matters beyond the interests of the law firms.  In…
THIS YEAR’S PROGRAM PROMISES TO BE THE BEST EVER: TOPICS, SPEAKERS, AND FORMATS Legal Week 2020 convenes in New York in just two weeks on Tuesday, February 4.  One of the most significant events in law each year, it attracts more than 8,000 participants, across the spectrum of stakeholders in contemporary American law. I am delighted to be co-chairing the Legal Business Strategy Program at Legal Week this year, with Gina Passarella, Editor-in-Chief of the…