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  • 2023 Legal Department Operations Index

    By Thomson Reuters Institute Thomson Reuters (NYSE/TSX: TRI), a global content and technology company, released the 2023 Legal Department Operations Index noting multiple challenges legal departments face, including growing workloads, shrinking budgets, and a need to increase their use of technology. Legal departments are increasingly under pressure to do more with less: 70% report higher matter volumes, yet 66% say that their budgets are flat or declining. While new technologies, including AI, could help improve efficiencies, legal departments say they are facing what the report terms a “technology conundrum.” Increasing use of technology is a high priority for legal departments with a majority of general counsel (57%) saying that leveraging technology automation is one of their top cost-control strategies. As a result, using technology to improve workflow efficiency is their second-highest priority, ranking behind controlling outside counsel costs. However, only 32% of legal departments’ budgets for legal technology are increasing. “Corporate legal departments continue to face challenges in making the up-front investments in technology needed to keep pace with expanding workloads,” said Laura Clayton McDonnell, president of the Corporates segment for Thomson Reuters. “Efficiency is more paramount than ever as the volume of work continues to increase, and many legal departments are seeking to bring more work in-house. Technologies, including AI, can not only improve efficiency, but potentially position legal departments to move from being cost centers to growth enablers by assisting in the development of new products and services.” As far as which technologies legal departments value, e-billing and spend/matter management software rated as the most valuable, followed by e-signature, litigation hold, and legal research. The Future of Professionals Report found that 60% of legal professionals believe AI will result in corporate legal departments moving more work in-house over the next five years, owing to improved efficiency and reduced costs. However, legal professionals also have concerns about AI, including the accuracy of outputs and the need for regulation to govern the ethics of AI. Legal departments also are conflicted about return-to-office policies, seeking to balance the benefits of face-to-face interaction with the autonomy and flexibility of remote working. However, the decision may be largely out of their hands, as 54% of legal departments say their policies are set by the broader organization. Download a copy of the 2023 Legal Department Operations Index below. Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters (NYSE / TSX: TRI) (“TR”) informs the way forward by bringing together the trusted content and technology that people and organizations need to make the right decisions. The company serves professionals across legal, tax, accounting, compliance, government, and media. Its products combine highly specialized software and insights to empower professionals with the data, intelligence, and solutions needed to make informed decisions, and to help institutions in their pursuit of justice, truth, and transparency. Reuters, part of Thomson Reuters, is a world leading provider of trusted journalism and news. For more information, visit #thomsonreuters #legaldepartments #legalops #report

  • Partnering with an ALSP?

    Know Your Ethical Obligations to Conduct Security Due Diligence By Megan Silverman and Michel Sahyoun Conducting due diligence in the selection of alternative legal service providers is a critical component of a lawyer’s ethical obligation to maintain reasonable security for client confidential information. However, it is also one of the most difficult tasks that law firms will undertake. Security is often not a high priority when lawyers select an ALSP, because the client will prefer the lower-cost providers and it can be difficult to assess one vendor’s security vis-à-vis another vendor. In addition to researching whether the ALSP can efficiently and cost-effectively perform the required work, however, lawyers must ensure that data security is a priority for the vendor by conducting due diligence on the security practices of the ALSP to assess whether the ALSP has the policies and procedures in place to appropriately protect the data that will be entrusted to it. Rule 1.6(c) of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct provides: “A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.” Legal ethics rules in every state similarly require lawyers to reasonably protect client confidential information. The Sedona Conference Journal articulated a reasonable security test by proposing a rule similar to that of Judge Learned Hand: “An information steward’s information security controls for personal information are not reasonable when implementation of one or more additional or different controls would burden the information steward and others by less than the implementation of such controls would benefit the claimant and others.” Under the ABA rules, lawyers are required to provide competent representation and to ensure client information is kept confidential. These requirements come into play when you are choosing an ALSP, because under ABA Model Rule 5.3 when lawyers use service providers outside the firm to assist in rendering legal services to the client, the lawyers must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatible with the lawyers’ professional obligations. Thus, lawyers have an ethical duty to perform due diligence on any vendor that they contract with which may be accessing client data. The ABA issued an opinion on Model Rule 1.6 that what constitutes a reasonable effort is not a “hard and fast rule,” but rather a flexible set of factors that are weighed on a case-by-case basis. The ABA opinion’s factors to be weighed are similar to the Sedona Conference’s and include the sensitivity of information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients. The ABA committee stresses that attorneys should assess the risk of inadvertent disclosure of client information before connecting to unsecure networks, using computers and servers without antivirus software and sending unencrypted communications. A lawyer’s assessment of these risks extends to the due diligence required when selecting ALSPs as well. Lawyers should include some or all of the following questions in their ALSP security due diligence checklist, while noting that the checklist should be regularly updated to reflect changes in legal and regulatory requirements, the nature of security threats and standard industry practices. ALSP Security Due Diligence Checklist Overview What is the ALSP’s history of data security events? Does the ALSP have an incident response plan? What business continuity plans are in place? Will the ALSP provide the right to audit as well as records of external security audits and third-party and penetration reports upon request? Will the ALSP permit the client to conduct penetration testing or audits of the ALSP’s security controls? Certifications and Insurance Does the ALSP maintain security certifications such as International Standards Organization’s ISO 27001, SOC 2, HITRUST, etc.? Note when conducting due diligence, it is important that lawyers review the SOC 1 and 2 reports and understand that many ALSPs have unqualified reports. Does the ALSP have adequate insurance, including cyber liability coverage? Does it maintain a coverage limit consistent with the client? Controls What access controls and related data security measures does the ALSP employ? What physical measures are taken to protect the security of the office environment and individual review rooms? What cybersecurity preventative measures does the ALSP employ, including intrusion detection software, end point detection response applications, whitelisting applications, periodic ransomware resiliency and breach attack simulations, multifactor authentication requirements, data encryption, cloud security controls and vulnerability remediation timelines? What are the ALSP’s robust data backup and recovery processes Staff and Training Does the ALSP have a dedicated in-house security team along with an appointed CISO/CSO? Are the ALSP employees full-time or contract employees? What due diligence does the ALSP conduct for its own employees, subcontractors and suppliers, especially those that might access the organization’s data? Note lawyers should contractually limit subcontractors and other third parties accessing the data provided to the ALSP. What cybersecurity training and phishing awareness simulations are provided to employees and is the training one-time, quarterly or annual? Do the ALSP employees work remotely or from a secure office environment? If employees work remotely, what measures are taken to safeguard the client’s data? Evidencing the priority bar associations are beginning to place on cybersecurity and technology, New York and 39 other jurisdictions now specifically mandate technology competence as a component of lawyers’ ethical obligations. Effective January 1, 2023, all attorneys in New York must take continuing legal education courses on cybersecurity topics as a condition of practicing law in New York. One of the key topics covered by New York’s new cybersecurity training mandate is vetting and assessing vendors relating to policies, protocols and practices on protecting electronic data. As the number of cyberattacks grows exponentially each year, it is not a matter of if, but rather when an organization might be hit. In order to comply with ethical obligations, lawyers must take reasonable efforts to protect their client data, including vetting third parties that are assisting with representation. Bar associations are taking notice, and although historically there have not been many disciplinary proceedings for failure to vet ALSP security practices, this is likely to change in the coming years. In addition to disciplinary proceedings, lawyers and law firms that fail to vet ALSPs are at risk for potential liability through class-action lawsuits, malpractice suits, bar sanctions, regulatory enforcement actions and reputational harm resulting in lost business. About the Authors Megan Silverman (l) serves as associate director of legal services at QuisLex. She has 11 years of experience overseeing eDiscovery and review both in the U.S. and India and has managed the end-to-end life cycle for eDiscovery and review for dozens of Fortune 100 companies and top law firms. Silverman earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School and is admitted to the New York bar. She also earned her Environmental Law LLM from Lewis & Clark Law School. Michel Sahyoun (r), CTO of QuisLex, leads its technology, security and data protection efforts and was instrumental in QuisLex being the first LPO to obtain internationally recognized certifications in those areas. Sahyoun also leads the technology innovation group, utilizing cutting-edge technology to provide optimized solutions for clients. He has over 20 years of experience in risk management and in designing, building and deploying mission-critical applications for Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining QuisLex, he was vice president and senior architect of risk management at JPMorgan Chase. Sahyoun holds Master of Engineering degrees in computer science and operations research from Columbia University. #MeganSilverman #MichelSahyoun #serviceproviders #ALSP #duediligence #dataprotection #security #confidentialinformation

  • The Ghost of Inequity

    By Eve Vlemincx. Within the walls of our offices, an invisible ghost roams: the ghost of inequity. Intangibly, it affects all our interactions. Imperceptibly, it undermines our efforts in the realm of diversity and inclusion, shaping the behavior of our team members. To create a workspace where everyone feels valued, heard, and can thrive, we must come to understand this ghost. Exclusion versus Inclusion If we lack an inclusive culture, we have an exclusive one. It's as simple as that. An exclusive culture excludes people. Unfortunately, we also associate the word "exclusive" with positive things (exclusive gadgets, cars, ... and secretly, we all like being part of that exclusive club). But in a business context, a culture of exclusion has significant implications. This means that if we don't consciously develop an inclusive culture, certain people will inevitably feel left out. On the journey towards an inclusive workspace, we must uncover the exclusive nature of a culture. The ghost resides in the shadows of our recruitment practices, promotions, and, more generally, in our interactions. Let's zoom in on our teams: What do they look like at different levels within the organization? What active steps are we taking to address our biases? We all have them, so if we don't address them, they influence our decision-making process. Having Difficult Conversations To banish the ghost, authentic and openly curious conversations are essential. Guiding questions might include: "Have you ever felt excluded in the workplace?" "What aspects of our culture have contributed to this?" "Do you feel heard and respected?" Encouraging employees to share their experiences without fear of judgment exposes the true impact of the ghost. Anonymous Surveys Conducting anonymous surveys for honest feedback is another tool. We've all received those supposedly 'anonymous' surveys where the first question is about filling in our names. That's not how it should be. It undermines confidentiality, leading people to give socially desirable answers instead of being honest. Gathering feedback in this way is futile, even counterproductive. The greater the impact of the ghost, the less honestly people will respond to such questions. So, anonymity is essential and must be preserved. Company culture is the invisible force that often perpetuates inequity. Unconscious biases and unspoken norms can inadvertently marginalize certain individuals. Conclusion Expelling the ghost of inequity requires unwavering commitment from organizations. Only by acknowledging and addressing this ghost can we create a truly inclusive and transformative workspace where every employee can thrive. About the Author Eve Vlemincx is a strategic advisor with expertise in a wide array of areas including legal digital transformation, innovation and leadership. She serves as an advisory council member for Harvard Business Review and is a Course Facilitator at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Eve is highly sought after as a keynote speaker and guest lecturer in various professional settings. Notably, she has been honored as a five-time recipient of the Stanford GSB LEAD Award. Operating at the dynamic intersection of legal and business, Eve holds certifications from esteemed institutions such as Oxford, Harvard, Kellogg and Stanford Graduate School of Business. Additionally, she brings substantial experience as a seasoned lawyer specializing in corporate law and restructurings. Eve's guiding philosophy is centered on working smarter, not harder, as she helps individuals and organizations navigate the complexities of today's rapidly evolving landscape. #EveVlemincx #legalbusiness #organization #culture #inequity

  • Six Advantages to Using Offshore Support

    By Mark Wilcox In today’s global and interconnected world, organizations are constantly seeking innovative ways to gain a competitive edge. One strategy with traction is the utilization of offshore talent. The concept of offshoring involves employing skilled professionals or outsourcing tasks to individuals or teams located in other countries. The practice offers numerous advantages that can be invaluable to businesses of all sizes and industries, including legal services and legal software, two areas where this talent is growing exponentially. From lawyers to legal technical skills, the corporate and law firm worlds are relying more and more on those offshore with expertise and resources. Key advantages commonly achieved by offshoring: 1. By embracing offshore talent, organizations have access to a vast global pool of skilled professionals. This allows them to tap into trained legal resources that may not be readily available or affordable in their local markets. Offshore talent can bring diverse perspectives, experiences and expertise to the table, enriching the overall skill set and problem-solving capabilities of the business. Organizations can leverage offshore talent to fill skill gaps internally or to execute complex projects that require niche knowledge. 2. Collaborating with professionals from diverse cultural backgrounds enables businesses to foster a culture of innovation and fresh thinking. The unique perspectives and approaches brought by offshore personnel can spark creativity, leading to breakthrough solutions and improved business practices. For example, in India, Six Sigma-trained specialists in the legal field can be leveraged to identify operational waste, implement legal process improvement programs and assist with legal software and digital transformation programs. 3. Outsourcing noncore tasks to offshore talent also allows organizations to focus more intensely on their core competencies. By offloading time-consuming and routine activities, resources are reallocated toward strategic initiatives and critical areas that drive growth and profitability. In legal departments, in-house resources can concentrate on the tasks they were hired to execute: high-value, high-risk and high-visibility legal issues, rather than administrative or repetitive work. This increased focus can lead to greater operational efficiency, improved customer and employee satisfaction and a competitive edge in the marketplace. 4. Another advantage of utilizing offshore talent is the ability to establish round-the-clock operations. By strategically leveraging time zone differences, organizations can ensure a continuous, follow-the-sun workflow and quicker turnaround times. For instance, a company in the United States can pass on projects to a team in Asia, where work can be carried out during U.S. overnight hours. This enables businesses to maximize productivity and achieve a speedier time to market, providing a competitive advantage in an increasingly fast-paced global economy. 5. Using offshore talent offers scalability, allowing organizations to quickly scale up or down based on their specific needs without the limitations of local talent availability. In the case of outsourced offshoring, this comes with the major added benefit of avoiding the headaches of new overhead structures when scaling up, including HR, IT and real estate. 6. Finally, one of the most common reasons corporations turn to offshore personnel is the potential for cost savings. Hiring employees or outsourcing tasks to countries with lower labor costs can significantly reduce operational expenses. This cost efficiency is particularly beneficial for startups and small businesses with limited budgets, as it enables them to access high-quality talent at a fraction of the cost, but this applies equally to corporate legal and compliance organizations, which are continuously tasked with doing more with less. What about Information Security and Data Privacy? Two traditional perceived risks related to offshoring that are now much more manageable are information security and data privacy. Countries like India now have the IT infrastructure, personnel, business resiliency framework and technical facilities to handle sensitive business data and corporate intellectual property and routinely do so for the world’s largest companies. Cross-border data privacy restrictions, for example, can largely be addressed through standard contractual clauses, binding corporate rules, a robust third-party oversight policy framework and other measures. Information security licensing and certification regimes, routine audits and adherence to international standards can now be expected to match domestic firms when engaging with reputable companies offshore. The significant brainpower, resource support and expertise outside the U.S. can be key to operational success here in the states, and this includes the legal industry. Embracing offshore support offers a multitude of advantages that can bolster performance and foster growth. From accessing a global talent pool and cost savings to enhanced innovation and scalability, the value of utilizing offshore personnel cannot be overstated. However, it is crucial for organizations to carefully evaluate their needs, establish effective communication channels and foster strong relationships with offshore teams to ensure successful collaborations. With the right strategy and approach, businesses can leverage offshore talent to achieve their goals and thrive in today’s dynamic global landscape. About the Author Mark Wilcox serves as Global Vice President of Business Development at QuisLex. He has 30 years of sales leadership success across multiple industries and is skilled at applying innovation and process excellence while providing value to clients. QuisLex is a certified minority-owned business enterprise that delivers value to legal departments at Fortune 100 companies and Am Law 200 law firms by modernizing legal functions, right-sourcing legal tasks, helping to reduce legal spend and applying cutting-edge technology to legal processes. #MarkWilcox #offshore #talent #personnel #global #outsourcing

  • LegalBusinessWorld eZine 2023 - issue #6

    Table of Contents | eZine 2023 - issue #6 Transforming Worlds. A GC and a legal tech founder’s overlapping journey in legal design, an interview with Jessica Didrikson & Denis Potemkin What true thought leadership means for lawyers, Namit Oberoy Objection, your Honour! #Hearsay, Chiara Lamacchia Implications of Generative AI in the Legal Industry and the EU AI Act, Gina F. Rubel An Interview with Marco Imperiale, LBW Editorial Dept. How to Use Client Personas to Develop a Content Strategy, Melissa “Rogo” Rogozinski What’s the Special of the Day? It should be your Law Practice, Steve Fretzin Summit By The Sea, How Legal Operators grew from a website to a full-service community with a unique summit. interview with Founder Colin McCarthy 6 Essential Skills for Modern Lawyers: Navigating AI's Impact, Anusia E. Gillespie Streamlining the Preservation and Collection of ESI from Microsoft Teams in E-Discovery, interview by Ari Kaplan with Peter Callaghan Delivering Value by Developing Relationships, Deisha Vazquez, Cash Butler, and Jeff Kruse The Innovative Performance Management Framework, Richard G. Stock Legal Design: How thinking like a designer can enhance privacy online, Alexandra Varla AI is here to stay! Is the legal industry ready with its building blocks? Rasmeet Charya You can read the online version here You can download and read the PDF version here #eZine #businessoflaw #legalprofession

  • The Rise and Fall of the Single (Outsourcing) Provider:  Hello, Flexible Sourcing

    By Anthony Davies. The pandemic has permanently changed how organizations outsource. Competition for talent and the great resignation reached unprecedented intensity during and following COVID while at the same time supply chain disruptions forced new ways to source services regionally and locally. The typical cost reduction drivers that are the bedrock of outsourcing became overshadowed by the ability to deliver the right skillset at the right time in the right market. Historically, outsourcing providers for law firms have grown their relationships by constantly adding new services to their core contracts and bundling them together as one package deal. Providers take these bundled services, then figure out the best delivery models--onsite, near-shore, or off-shore. Service ‘bundling’ had the benefit of providing economies of scale, lower overheads, a single point of contact and a single invoice at the end of each month. However, the bundling of services also created a single multi-service provider that may now be hurting firms as they transform operations post-pandemic and require specialized offerings that did not exist prior to the pandemic. In fact, flexible sourcing models, with inter-changeable or multiple service providers, is now becoming the mainstay for most client sourcing strategies. This outsourcing trend has been consistent over the past two years, with clients describing their strategies as “multi-vendor” and “multi-sourced.”[1] How does this look in a law firm? In the beginning (30+ years ago), outsourcing at law firms started with low value non-core services such as facilities, security, and switchboard. Quickly, other onsite services such as the reception, mailroom, print and copy center, records management, and administrative support services also were outsourced. Today, Litigation Support, IT, Finance, Marketing, and HR all have access to mature outsourcing offerings. In fact, the market estimate for global legal process outsourcing is estimated to rise by over 30% per year from now until 2027. [2] Over time, outsourcing providers have added on-shore and off-shore Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) centers to leverage global wage arbitrage and specialist skills. They have developed technology to assist with information and document workflow, launched alternative legal service offerings, and continue to work their way into increasingly complex areas of the law firm operations. During the pandemic, these off site BPO centers grew exponentially as law firms grasped the opportunity to leverage the ‘remote work era’, and shift more administrative tasks to low cost, high quality off-site service centers. At the same time, the core onsite services were paired back as there was a reduced need for onsite support when everybody was working from home. However, now in the return-to-office (RTO) phase, many firms are seeking more sophisticated on-site services and amenities that did not exist prior to 2020, and in fact, are looking for a competitive advantage in the ongoing talent war. These niche services are often highly specialized offerings. Not only are specialized onsite services taking center stage as firms attract talent, but they are also a means to increase attorney time in the office [3]. Traditional outsourcing providers servicing the largest law firms have moved so far up the value chain, however, it is difficult to see them reinvesting and reinvigorating their low margin, lower value onsite offerings. Outsourcing and Niche Offerings Like Workplace Experience Finding and keeping the right talent with the right skills at the right price is more elusive than ever. Executives reported talent acquisition as the top internal challenge for their organizations. 62% of executives say they are ill-prepared to address the causes and impacts of poor employee retention and 71% of CEOs expect the global talent shortage to continue. [4] This revolving door effect, coupled with new remote working options, creates an opportunity for service providers to deliver solutions for outstanding talent problems. With law firms moving dangerously close to losing a quarter of their attorneys, it is clear that there is a dramatic divide between what attorneys and staff want from their law firm versus what they are actually receiving. Many firms understand the significant toll that the pandemic has placed on attorneys and staff which is why, as partners are creating return-to-office plans, many have tried to reimagine the office with social and recreational activities—and a percentage of leader firms have taken this to the next level by creating and implementing workplace experience. Workplace experience is a hospitality-based, high engagement, white glove service that transforms your office into an experience that is better than home. It is like the Ritz Carlton has come to transform the law firm office into a delightful experience—a very particular workplace experience, that is, that is a highly specialized outsourced service unlikely to be offered by a traditional global outsourcing provider. The Multi-Sourced Approach Service models are always evolving. Clients are increasingly seeking providers who can elevate the way they do business, enable them to be more flexible, and help them leverage the latest services, technologies and workflows. Understanding providers’ strengths is critical to deploying the right mix of large and niche providers to achieve the desired outcomes—but what is clear is that most organizations are moving toward a multi-sourced approach when it comes to outsourcing, and rightly so. When it comes to workplace experience, the skeptic may wonder, is this such a specialized service that it should be unbundled from, say, your document processing provider? In a word, yes. Just like the experience of the Ritz Carlton is vastly different than the experience of a Super 8 Motel, the purpose and model of each are different because they serve different purposes. The purpose of workplace experience is to attract and retain law firm talent onsite, the number one challenge and risk faced by firms in 2023. Employment choice is in large part driven by the experience professionals have while in the office. By adding a layer of 5-star hospitality services and creating concierge roles staffed with people who have experience working in 5-star hotels like the Ritz Carlton or Mandarin Oriental, the law firm office can become better than working from home. It can become a destination that attracts professionals back into the office voluntarily, sustaining vital collaboration, innovation, mentoring and training while eliminating the risk mandates bring of losing attorneys. That’s branding, that’s culture, that’s loyalty—outsourced. Notes [1] Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey 2022 [2] ?utm_source=BW&utm_medium=PressRelease&utm_code=qbzjrf&utm_campaign=1700834+-+Global+Legal+Process+Outsourcing+Market+Report+(2022+to+2027)+-+Industry+Trends%2c+Share%2c+Size%2c+Growth%2c+Opportunity+and+Forecasts&utm_exec=jamu273prd [3] Forrest Solutions 2023 Return-to-Office Survey: [4] Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey 2022 About the Author Anthony Davies serves as the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) for Forrest Solutions and is also one of the partners for the organization. As CRO, he leads Sales and Marketing for Onsite Outsourcing and Staffing with a team of experienced sales executives who work with some of the world’s largest law firm, advisory and corporate entities. Anthony speaks frequently at industry events including ARMA, ALA Annual and the COO CFO Forum and has been featured in American Lawyer, and Legal Management Magazine. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Materials Science and business studies from Loughborough University (UK) and an Executive MBA from Quantic Business School in Washington DC. #AnthonyDavies #outsourcing #servicemodels #lawfirms #workplace #experience

  • How To Secure A Dream Job In A Competitive Legal Landscape

    Finding your ideal job in a highly competitive legal industry can be challenging. You can imagine the kind of competition, considering there are 1.3 million lawyers in the American legal landscape. But you can set a course for achieving your career goals in the legal field with the right strategies, persistence, and some insightful advice. We will give you some actionable tips to land your ideal job, from creating an impressive resume to mastering the art of interviews and developing a strong professional network. Get ready to arm yourself with the knowledge and techniques required to land that desired position in the legal industry. With these tips at hand, you can stand out in the market even as a beginner. Start with a strong educational foundation A strong educational foundation is the first step on your path to finding your ideal legal position. It entails achieving academic excellence and receiving a law degree from a reputable institution. An impressive academic record in law school can open doors and enhance your appeal to employers. Also, you can think about concentrating on legal topics that fit your professional aspirations. You can stand out from the competition by specializing in a particular area of law, such as corporate law or environmental law. Look for areas with less competition because you will have more opportunities there. Gain hands-on experience Academic success is important, but practical experience is just as crucial. You can look for internships, training, or positions as a legal assistant to get practical experience as a beginner in the profession. You can also think about volunteering for legal aid organizations or doing pro bono work to show your dedication to the field and your desire to give back to the community. Build an impressive resume Your resume serves as your business card in the legal industry. It should summarize your background, experiences, and skills. Emphasize any relevant coursework, internships, and unique accomplishments or honors achieved over the years. You can make each cover letter for a job application compelling and personalized. Use it to demonstrate why you are the best choice for the given position and company. Always pay attention to the details, as mistakes on your resume or cover letter could cost you the job. Look for opportunities at the right places Casting a wide net when looking for your ideal legal position is a common approach, but it may not be a good approach. It is better to look for opportunities in the right places. Consider job hunting in states like California, where the market is ultra-competitive. Imagine competing with 13000 attorneys for jobs in the landscape, even in a small area like Orange County. Fortunately, you can find your dream role by working with a specialist legal recruiter. With them, you have far better chances of getting into a good firm, regardless of the competition. Network effectively Gathering business cards at events is just one aspect of networking. It is about creating sincere connections with other legal experts. You can connect with former classmates, mentors, and law school alumni. Tell them you're looking for a new opportunity, and ask for suggestions or introductions. Think about developing a presence online on websites like LinkedIn. Share articles, participate in conversations, and build connections with experts in your desired field. You can stand out to potential employers by maintaining an impressive online presence. Upskill and stay ahead of trends Keeping up with the most recent developments is crucial because the legal profession is constantly changing. You should attend workshops, seminars, and online courses relevant to your field of interest to continue your education. Obtaining certifications or memberships in pertinent legal associations will show your dedication to your professional development. Candidates who demonstrate a commitment to staying current in their field are valued by employers. Be ready to relocate You should be open to the idea of moving for your dream job. Your chosen field may offer more opportunities in some locations than others. Likewise, the competition may be less stiff in some parts of the country, so relocation can be a wise move. Your job prospects will increase if you are willing to relocate. You might even be able to find jobs that are more in line with your professional objectives. Conclusion You can make your dream of working in law a reality if you are persistent and use the right techniques to land a dream role. Follow these actionable tips to start your career on the right foot and move up from there.

  • Drawn and Quartered:
 The Municipal Law Department

    By Richard G. Stock This is the forty-third in a series of articles about how corporate and government law departments can improve their performance and add measurable value to their organizations. The City Solicitor of many local governments often reminds me of Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart – especially the last scenes where he gets pulled in four different directions by horses in front of a crowd. Competing imperatives make it difficult to please anyone for very long. My experience with several dozen consulting engagements to 20 city and regional government bodies tells me that delivering legal service at the local government level is challenging work. And it’s changing all the time. Law firms in cities and towns across Canada have at least one partner serving the municipal sector. A few firms specialize in municipal law, while others focus on the labour and employment elements with work forces that are heavily unionized. At one time, there was been great turmoil with city mergers and some “de-mergers ” in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Most initiatives are provincial in nature and those in Ontario were accompanied by a significant devolution of provincial services to the local level, but without the appropriate supplementary funding. Not doubt, this type of change has resulted in considerable work for law firms representing city interests. Law firms take an active interest in electoral campaigns to ensure their centers of influence for future matters are not disrupted. It will be another few years before the full range of competitive and transparent procurement practices is introduced for legal services at the local level. This has been hurried along in recent times with the injection of federal and provincial infrastructure funding. Local government mergers also resulted in more work for members of municipal and regional law departments. But economic activity is by far the greater stimulus for increased demand for inhouse counsel. Robust economic activity, as can be found in Ontario, B.C., Quebec, and Alberta, spurs commercial and residential development activity. Zoning and other by-law changes, followed by requirements for additional infrastructure, and the interest in public-private partnerships for LRTs, arenas and stadiums, highways and other projects calls for new capabilities in commercial law within local government. Some regions of the country de-regulated their utilities such that municipal counsel spend more time with regulatory bodies designed to balance public / private interests, or ensure a level playing field for competition, e.g. electricity, transportation, etc. This list goes on, but it suggests two trends: that the legal services required by local government are of an increasingly specialized nature; and that some law departments struggle to be “all things to all people.” Many law departments try in vain to explain to stakeholders that authority to decide, to act on and to pay for many matters is limited at the local level. Provincial laws and regulations mitigate or at least complicate many programs. Bravehearts in the legal department face at least five challenges. Their roles and responsibilities are not defined specifically enough. Too much time is spent in commodity-level work processing real-estate matters, because of poor streamlining among legal, planning, procurement, engineering, and city clerk departments. All the old procedures and rules remain while new demands are added. Lawyers in some law departments are unclear about their accountability – to Council, to the Law Society or to City Management. Too many have been trapped in a losing trade-off of political, financial, ethical, and legal pressures. The result can be a tendency by some cities to involve their inhouse counsel as little or as late as possible. Core capabilities for municipal counsel have been municipal / administrative law including municipal hearings, by-law development, and planning / land use matters. Few law departments have capabilities in labour / employment law, and many others cannot keep up with the need for commercial contracts and expertise in financing. Too few municipal law departments prepare detailed multi-year forecasts for legal services. Skill, stamina and goodwill are not enough to secure and deploy the resources to keep up with changing demand. Larger law departments will carry some litigation capability. Most prefer to refer large, complex files to law firms, but they do so without active litigation management programs. Cities tend to use too many law firms to spread the workaround. In the end, they pay 20 % to 30 % more than they should for external counsel because they do not develop long-term partnering agreements with professional firms. Finally, municipal counsel share a fault with many other law departments. They are poor at tracking their activities by type and by importance. That makes it difficult for them to report significant successes on a quarterly basis. Few conduct satisfaction surveys with their primary users on a regular basis. Key performance indicators with an emphasis on non-financial indicators are in short supply. Municipal counsel must do a better job in defining and restricting their work to higher-profile matters. They must become more adept at shedding routine work. Accountability for service and results must be unambiguous. Successes must be regular and reported to survive and thrive. Updated from original in Lexpert March 2006 About the Author Richard G. Stock, M.A., FCG, CMC is the Managing Partner of Catalyst Consulting. See Richard can be contacted at (416) 367-4447 or at #RichardGStock #municipalsector #knowledgeworkers #legalservices #servicedelivery #lawdepartment #strategy

  • Embracing Innovation to Unlock the Future of the Legal Industry

    By Alejandro Esteve de Miguel Anglada. In today's rapidly evolving world, technological advances are reshaping industries and revolutionising the way we work. Fortunately, the legal profession is no stranger to these changes. As the CEO of Bigle Legal, a leading company in Contract Lifecycle Management, and with a background as a corporate lawyer advising major corporations, I have witnessed first-hand the state of innovation in the legal sector. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the evolution of technology, delve into the latest trends and groundbreaking innovations already existing in legal tech, and highlight the opportunity that AI presents to the legal industry. Myth-busting: Technology is Already Making Inroads into Legal Departments Often known for its traditional and conservative nature, the legal sector has undergone significant change in recent years. Technology has been a driving force behind this change, with numerous advancements aimed at streamlining processes, increasing efficiency and improving client service. Gone are the days of relying solely on paper-based documentation and manual research. Today, legal professionals have access to a wide range of tools and technologies that enable them to work smarter and more effectively. Legal tech companies are developing innovative solutions that address the unique challenges faced by legal professionals. Document automation tools have revolutionised the creation of legal documents, reducing the time and effort required to draft contracts, agreements and other legal documents. These tools use templates and pre-defined clauses, allowing lawyers to create accurate and consistent documents with just a few clicks. This not only saves time but also minimises the risk of errors and inconsistencies. In addition, e-discovery platforms have transformed the way legal teams deal with the vast amounts of electronic data involved in litigation and investigations. These platforms use advanced algorithms to analyse documents, emails and other digital records, enabling lawyers to quickly identify relevant information and make informed decisions. Using machine learning, these platforms continuously improve their accuracy, making them indispensable tools for efficient and cost-effective legal processes. We cannot forget about predictive analytics tools. Advancements in technology are driving the development of predictive analytics tools specifically designed for the legal industry. These tools leverage historical data and machine learning algorithms to forecast legal outcomes, assess litigation risks, and even predict judges' decisions. By analysing patterns and trends, these tools can help lawyers make informed decisions, optimise litigation strategies, and allocate resources more effectively. The list of technologies is long, and we are often tempted to look even further into the future for more and more innovation. Personally, I believe that innovation is an unstoppable force and we should embrace it as an invaluable asset. But when it comes to applying innovation, solutions that address key concerns and are already transforming an industry that has historically been inflexible and conservative. So let's appreciate the solutions that the legal sector has at its fingertips. The spark of innovation has already been lit, and not only will this make them more efficient, more secure and better at their jobs, but it will also bring them several steps closer to the business, the place where they belong. Current Technologies to Address Historical Concerns Solutions that enable seamless collaboration and remote working, while making operations more efficient and secure, are the current game changers in the legal sector. Those platforms offering secure storage, version control, and real-time updates, fostering efficient teamwork and enhancing productivity, are set to mark a turning point in the legal department. Data security and privacy are paramount concerns in the legal industry. With an increasing amount of sensitive information being stored and shared digitally, legal tech solutions have focused on robust security measures to protect client data. Advanced encryption protocols, multi-factor authentication and secure cloud storage have become standard features of legal tech platforms to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of client information. In addition, legal tech vendors have taken a step forward by certifying themselves as secure solutions for the world's leading corporations. Legal professionals can now access their documents and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere in the world, breaking down geographical barriers and enabling global legal practices. And they can do so securely, in compliance with these safety standards, with full control over documents and legal transactions. This is an evolutionary leap that legal departments in large organisations are already enjoying, thanks to solutions such as Contract Lifecycle Management. Another historic concern within the legal sector is the control of information, the elimination of errors and the precision of the content. It is an industry dedicated to detail, with professionals striving to perfect every aspect of their work. Today's reality, however, is more pressurised than ever, with lawyers overwhelmed by a sea of cases, internal requests and legal documents to approve. While the commitment to excellence remains, today's technology offers two unprecedented opportunities for improvement. On the one hand, in terms of efficiency, technology enables each lawyer to handle a greater number of cases and provide them with the level of detail they require, without neglecting the less important ones. It is a way of driving the work of the department, meeting the numbers without losing sight of the excellence of a job well done. It also eliminates the human error that was prevalent in traditional methods. On the other hand, there are technologies that allow lawyers to integrate their work with the power of the data at their disposal. Technologies such as Named Entity Recognition (NER) help lawyers extract data, generate reports and monitor all processes within the legal department from a bird's eye view. In the business world, what isn't measured doesn't exist, so having a tool that makes this task easier is a real game changer in today's world. AI: Technology that Broadens the Horizon Even Further As we have seen, the legal profession today is full of opportunities to enhance its work thanks to technology. However, I have already said that innovation is key and I believe that it is never healthy to turn a deaf ear to novelty. Even less so when it comes in the form of a tsunami. Yes, I am talking about artificial intelligence (AI). It is the technology that everyone is talking about and has created so much excitement worldwide. Let's see why the legal sector, like all other sectors of a company, should start to consider its use. Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to play a central role in shaping the way legal professionals practice law. With a boom that has left no one indifferent, IA and machine learning algorithms can analyse vast amounts of legal data, extract relevant information and provide valuable insights for case strategies or contract negotiations. Natural language processing (NLP) capabilities enable sophisticated contract analysis, allowing lawyers to identify risks and opportunities efficiently. Some may view AI as a threat to the legal profession but it is, in fact, an incredible opportunity to enhance and expand the industry. AI-powered legal tech solutions can handle routine and repetitive tasks, such as contract review and due diligence, freeing up lawyers' time to focus on higher-value work that requires critical thinking and creativity. This enables legal professionals to deliver greater value to clients, provide more strategic advice, and tackle complex legal challenges. Moreover, AI can quickly identify relevant cases and extract key insights, saving lawyers countless hours of manual research. AI-powered tools can also help lawyers stay updated with the latest developments in their practice areas, ensuring they have access to the most current legal information and precedents. With LLM (Large Language Models), lawyers will be able to summarise, translate or generate text based on knowledge of large amounts of data, enabling them to produce legal documentation and legal research more efficiently. Another significant trend is the integration of AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants. These intelligent tools can respond instantly to common legal queries, assist in legal research, and even automate simple legal tasks. By leveraging natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, these chatbots can engage in conversations with clients, provide preliminary legal advice, and help streamline the initial stages of client intake. Reimagining the Way We Practice Law As we have seen, we have a horizon full of innovation ahead of us, both in terms of current tools and those yet to come. In any case, we have seen that technology has brought a lot to the sector in recent years and we have a favourable scenario that has nothing to do with what it was 20 years ago. Right now it could be said that the legal industry is standing at the precipice of a technological revolution, and embracing innovation is key to unlocking its full potential. As we have explored in this article, the state of innovation in the legal sector is rapidly advancing, and technologies like AI are poised to shape its future. By embracing legal tech solutions, legal professionals can streamline processes, improve efficiency and deliver exceptional client service. The future of the legal industry is bright, and those who embrace technology and adapt to the changing landscape will thrive in the era of digital transformation. So, let’s seize this opportunity, reimagine the way we practice law, and unlock a future where innovation and legal excellence go hand in hand. By embracing technology and leveraging the power of AI, the legal industry can deliver enhanced services, promote access to justice, and usher in a new era of efficiency and effectiveness. The time to embrace innovation is now, as we unlock the full potential of the legal industry and shape its future for the better. About the Author Alejandro Esteve de Miguel Anglada is Co-Founder and CEO of Bigle Legal. He is a corporate lawyer with a Master’s in International Business Law. After working at the prestigious Spanish law firm Roca Junyent, he wanted to start a solution to meet a need that he experienced firsthand. Dedicated to business consulting for large companies, Alejandro realised that the excessive time spent on repetitive tasks was compromising the productivity of his daily work, making it inefficient and unsafe. He found that the market lacked a solution and decided to create it: he founded Bigle Legal with his brother Sergio, in order to automate those repetitive tasks of drafting contracts and documents that every day occupy much of the work of a lawyer. #AlejandroEstevedeMiguelAnglada #legal #innovation #legaltech #digitaltransformation

  • Open Banking and the Regulatory Landscape: A Review of PSD2

    This is the second in a series of four articles about Open Banking and the Regulatory Landscape By Ibtihaj Hassan. The Directive 2007/64/EC, also known as the Payment Services Directive (1), was introduced to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for payment services within the European Union (EU). This was done in light of factors such as irregularities between national regulations, new payment methods being introduced, enhancing competition and need for improved customer protection. The PSD1 along with regulations for cross-border payments, e-payments and others were meant to harmonise the payment services in the EU. However, with the retail payments market undergoing significant innovation and growth over the years, the PSD1 began to fail to fulfil the purpose it was set to. Card, internet and mobile payments in particular seemed to remain fragmented across borders and were not comprehensively integrated under the PSD1 guidelines. Furthermore, new modes of payment continued to be introduced and failed to fall under the purview of the directive and these included digital wallets, P2P payments, cryptocurrency and others. This caused legal uncertainty and ambiguity and raised concerns regarding customer security. A rising need was felt for new rules to introduce more certainty, increase consumer confidence, enable new modes of payment and ensure a high standard of customer protection. This led to the introduction of the new and revised Payment Services Directive 2 (Directive (EU) 2015/2366) repealing the former and bringing new rules into place. Building upon this foundation of PSD1, PSD2 aims to further streamline payment services, stimulate innovation, and safeguard consumers' financial data. In an era where digital transactions have become the norm, PSD2's influence on online payments is profound. The directive mandates a more secure and user-friendly payment environment by enforcing Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). SCA requires two or more forms of authentication, such as passwords and biometric data, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorised access and fraudulent activities. This translates into increased trust and confidence in online payment systems. Moreover, PSD2 has paved the way for Open Banking, encouraging collaboration between traditional financial institutions and third-party providers. By mandating banks to provide authorised third parties access to customer account information through standardised APIs, Open Banking promotes competition and encourages the development of innovative financial products and services. This dynamic shift benefits consumers with a plethora of choices and tailor-made solutions for their financial needs. PSD2's impact reverberates across both fintech startups and established financial institutions. By enabling third-party providers to access customer data, PSD2 fuels innovation. Fintechs can leverage this data to create innovative payment solutions, budgeting tools, financial management apps and other use cases. At the same time, traditional banks are prompted to revamp their offerings to stay competitive in the evolving financial landscape. Innovation does not merely extend to products but also to the overall customer experience. With Open Banking, consumers gain a holistic view of their financial activities, more information and thus allowing for better management and planning of their finances. As with any significant regulatory change, PSD2 has faced criticism and concerns. One of the primary challenges of PSD2 lies in its complex implementation process. While SCA enhances security, its implementation can be cumbersome for both consumers and businesses. Adapting existing systems and processes to accommodate SCA can be a resource-intensive task, particularly for smaller businesses and fintech startups. PSD2 is applied across the EU member states, but the interpretation and enforcement of its provisions can vary. This fragmentation can create a lack of consistency in how the directive is applied, leading to confusion for both payment service providers (PSPs) and consumers. Different countries might prioritise certain aspects of the directive differently, leading to a disjointed experience for cross-border transactions and compliance. While the introduction of SCA is aimed at enhancing security, it can inadvertently lead to a trade-off with user experience. Requiring multiple authentication factors for each transaction can prove arduous to consumers, potentially leading to transaction abandonment. Striking the right balance between security and a seamless user experience remains a challenge. Smaller businesses and fintech startups often lack the resources and infrastructure to implement the necessary changes to comply with PSD2 requirements. The costs associated with updating systems to accommodate SCA and API integration can be significant, potentially creating a barrier to entry for innovative newcomers in the payment services sector. This could stifle competition and hinder the growth of new, customer-centric solutions. While PSD2 aims to provide consumers with more control over their financial data through Open Banking, concerns about data privacy and consent do still persist. Sharing sensitive financial information with third-party providers can raise questions about data security and potential misuse. Ensuring that consumers fully understand the implications of granting access to their data and have the means to revoke access when needed is crucial to addressing these concerns. The European Commission in June 2023 has published the draft proposal for a new payment services package to replace the PSD2. The proposition contains two parts; The Payment Services Regulations (PSR) which will address PSP activities and set customer authentication standards and PSD3, which will incorporate Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) and therefore repeal the existing Electronic Money Directive (Directive 2009/110/EC). The merits of this move towards a new regulation will unravel in time to show if it improves adoption of Open Banking and helps move towards Open Finance or not. About the Author Ibtihaj Hassan is a professional working at the intersection of law and technology. With a background in business and law as well as a keen interest in the fintech and legaltech sectors, he has been working in partnerships, strategy, legal/regulatory affairs and operations within tech startups. He also works on consultancy projects with law firms. Ibtihaj is passionately committed to using tech-driven innovation to enhance efficiency and increasing access within the financial and legal sectors. #IbtihajHassan #openbanking #legal #regulatory #digitalisation #legaltech #legislation #PSD2

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