Artcles (973)
    • The shape of lawyers in the future: T, O or Delta?

      By Peter Connor Living and working as a lawyer in the US, Asia, Europe and Australia for over 30 years, my legal knowledge and skills were the foundation of my career. But, more than anything, it was a range of non-legal skills and competencies that really helped me to change the way I worked. They allowed me to make more of an impact, enjoy my work more and ultimately be more successful. I’d like to say that it was all part of a master plan, but it wasn’t. It was largely opportunistic and unstructured. I thought to myself that it doesn’t need to be that way for other lawyers. So, in 2015, I decided to form AlternativelyLegal and share my experiences through a program that I initially called Everything But The Law. Back then, only a few people were talking about the importance for lawyers to develop, and to know how to use, non-legal skills such as process improvement, design thinking, business partnering and change management. A lot has changed over the last five years and especially the last twelve months. At a macro level, there has been a general recognition of the importance for all workers to develop what are often referred to as ‘soft skills’ [1] Also, as the World Economic Forum’s Report on the Re-skilling Revolution [2] highlights, there is a critical and widespread need to re-skill and up-skill to anticipate the advance of technology and adapt to new roles and ways of working. Re-skilling involves learning new skills and competencies for potential new roles and up-skilling involves learning new skills and competencies for career progression within the same role. Does this apply to lawyers or are lawyers somehow exempt from all of this? Many tasks that lawyers do—such as legal research, document due diligence, contract review and, even, assessing the prospects of success in a dispute—can today be done, or facilitated, by technology. As Richard and Daniel Susskind point out in their book, The Future of the Professions [3], increasingly capable machines relentlessly encroach on tasks performed by lawyers and other professionals and, over time, no task is off limits. Looking at this up-skilling imperative from a different angle, there have been many studies of late that confirm the critical importance for lawyers to develop non-legal skills and competencies. For example, The Foundations For Practice: The Whole Lawyer study in the US, based on surveys of over 24,000 lawyers, found that characteristics and competencies were more important than technical legal skills. As the report states, “We no longer have to wonder what lawyers need. We know what they need and they need more than we once thought. Intelligence, on its own, is not enough. Technical legal skills are not enough. They require a broader set of characteristics, professional competencies and legal skills that, when taken together, produce a whole lawyer” [4]. It is now no longer controversial to say that focusing just on your legal knowledge and technical skills might have got you where you are today, but it won’t get you to where you want to be in the future. The debate now is about what specific subject areas are critical and how best to provide education, training and development in these areas. Many universities around the world now offer various non-law elective subjects such as design thinking and technology-related topics. Others offer more comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate courses [5] that are typically framed around innovation or technology that include a variety of non-legal subjects. Universities and other tertiary institutions can, and should, be a key part of the solution to this up-skilling and re-skilling challenge. However, in a world where lifelong learning is now essential and where different types of more applied training and development are required for different career paths, other organisations must also contribute. Historically, law firms have played a valuable role in continuing the development of lawyers after they graduate but that role may diminish somewhat as the focus shifts to non-legal areas and as more individuals don’t work in firms as part of their career path. Firms will no doubt continue to provide legal updates, and in some cases legal training, to clients. Recently, I have even worked with a few firms to extend this training to non-legal skills. To supplement these traditional sources of training, a range of businesses, centres and associations have emerged in recent times offering training courses on non-legal subjects in many countries. In these countries, lawyers now face a different challenge: how to choose between an ever-growing range of training offerings from an ever-growing number of organisations? My clients tell me that this challenge can be quite daunting and, given the limited time and budget available for training and development, they want to be sure they achieve maximum impact from their investment. One problem with a lot of the training on offer is that it is largely ad hoc, focusing on one or two supposedly critical skills or an apparently random combination of skills. How can you know whether what is covered in any program is sufficient and really going to make a difference? One solution to this problem is to develop a holistic framework that forms the basis of, and provides the structure for, more focused programs and, for each program, a series of detailed modules or courses. Ideally, frameworks targeted at the same audience - for example in-house legal teams and individual in-house lawyers - should align with, and complement, each other. That should also be the case for the individual programs and modules forming part of a framework. So far, three main potential frameworks or models have emerged for the training and development of lawyers that focus on non-legal skills: The T-shaped Lawyer, The O-shaped Lawyer and the Delta Model. This article will now explain each of these and highlight some key differences. 1. The T-shaped Lawyer The vast majority of professionals, such as lawyers, engineers or accountants, are referred to as ‘I-shaped’. They typically have deep expertise in one area but little to no skills, knowledge or experience beyond that specialist domain. Lawyers, for example, have deep knowledge of, and expertise in, certain areas of the law and their training and development has historically focused on honing that knowledge and expertise. They might have undertaken some general leadership, business or soft skills training but their primary purpose has largely been to enhance their ability to do traditional legal work. As noted in a Cambridge University study [6], the problem with I-shaped professionals is that organisations increasingly need people to work collaboratively in cross-functional teams to innovate and problem-solve for the organisation as a whole or their customers. The study highlighted that the main obstacle for service innovation through cross-functional collaboration is a skill or knowledge gap. To address that issue, this report recommended that organisations should actively develop more T-shaped professionals throughout the organisation. This becomes especially important for the increasing number of companies that are transforming to an agile way of working but it remains important even for those that are not. What does a T-shaped professional mean? A T-shaped professional refers to someone who has deep domain expertise in one discipline, together with various competencies and skills and knowledge from other areas, that helps that person collaborate with specialists from different disciplines to innovate for the organisation as a whole, not just one department. However, the benefits of becoming a T-shaped professional extend well beyond enhanced collaboration to include, for example, being more adaptable and resilient. References to T-shaped professionals and skills have been around for many years [7]. Recently, various derivatives have been suggested including the Key-shaped, X-shaped or Pi-shaped professionals. Each of these concepts has some merit. However, the T-shaped construct is by far the most widely recognised and adopted globally throughout the corporate and academic [8] world. For example, others have taken the high-level T-shaped professional concept depicted above and applied it in more detail for T-shaped individuals, university graduates, employees, engineers, designers, accountants and IT, HR and marketing professionals. The fact that the construct is so widely used is one of the reasons I chose to adopt it. I believe that lawyers should stop thinking of themselves as special, especially as one of the main objectives of developing non-legal skills is to collaborate with non-legal professionals. However, the main reason I decided in 2016 to use the T-shaped branding is that it provides the perfect basis for my vision and programs for transformation, not just improvement, of individual lawyers and also for legal teams and law firms. At the same time, I wrote an article called ‘The T-shaped Lawyer’ that was published in various international publications [9]. I thought that I was the first to make the connection between the T-shaped professional construct and lawyers. However, I subsequently found out that someone—R. Amani Smathers—had written an article and spoken at a conference about it a year earlier. Since then, a number of people have written or spoken about the T-shaped Lawyer. However, as far as I know, I am the only one who has progressed from talking about it as a construct to actually developing comprehensive frameworks and programs for legal teams, law firms and individual lawyers and delivering these programs to over one thousand lawyers worldwide for the last five years. At a high level, the generic framework, that extends beyond just skills, is as shown below. There is a lot of detail within each layer of the framework and to explain that is beyond the scope of this article. So far, I have only shared details of the frameworks and program with my clients. But I am planning to make information about the T-shaped Lawyer Framework available more broadly. Stay tuned or get in touch if you’d like to find out more beforehand. 2. The O-shaped Lawyer Dan Kayne, general counsel of regions, Network Rail UK recently came up with the idea of the O-shaped Lawyer to develop more well-rounded lawyers by focusing beyond technical legal skills. Late last year he assembled an impressive working group from across the legal profession in the UK and formed The O-shaped Lawyer Program [10]. According to their website, they aim to ‘show that with a greater emphasis on a more rounded approach to the formation of our lawyers, the legal profession will provide its customers with a better service in a more diverse, inclusive and healthier environment.’ The group is seeking to have the O-shaped Lawyer Framework (see below) adopted in two main areas. First, in the early stages of a lawyer’s education at university and in the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam program in the UK. Second, in the ‘practise stream’ specifically to adopt the O-shaped Framework in the engagement between law firms and in-house teams. As I understand it, they are currently attempting to kick start the initiative with some pilots between firms and in-house teams in the UK. According to this framework, lawyers can develop these ‘O’ behaviours by having a proactive mindset, together with legal, business and customer knowledge and the skills outlined below. 3. The Delta Model Last year, a diverse group of academics in the US [11] conducted some empirical studies that confirmed the critical need for lawyers to develop non-legal skills and competencies. They formed a group to devise a competency model that could be used by anyone in, or planning to enter, the legal ecosystem irrespective of whether the role is a legal or non-legal one and also irrespective of the stage of their career. The group were attracted to the T-shaped concept, but they perceived that it lacks what they originally referred to as the personal effectiveness dimension and what they now call the people dimension. It is true that Smather’s depiction of the T-shaped Lawyer—which is what they were using as their reference point—did not highlight these so-called personal effectiveness aspects. However, these aspects are indeed covered in the general T-shaped professional concept, being explicitly referred to as boundary crossing competencies, and in my T-shaped Lawyer Framework. The group decided to take the T-shaped concept and modified it into what they refer to as the Delta Model. The model has evolved through several iterations but the latest version at the time of writing this article is as shown below. Because the Model is still being developed, the details are still evolving. However, we can gain some insight into what is intended to be covered by noting that in the penultimate version of the Model, known as Version 3, the: practice dimension was referred to as the Law and was stated to include subject matter expertise, legal research, legal analysis and legal writing process dimension was referred to as Business and Operations and was stated to include business fundamentals, project management and data analytics people dimension was referred to as Personal Effectiveness and was stated to include relationship management, entrepreneurial mindset, emotional intelligence, communication and character. Further insights into what is intended to be covered can be found on their informative and helpful site ( where they refer to some specific competencies as follows: People competencies - business development, character (accountability, common sense, integrity, professionalism, resilience, work ethic), collaboration, communication (active listening, conflict resolution, interviewing, managing change, speaking/writing persuasively), creative problem-solving, emotional intelligence (empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation), entrepreneurial mindset (adaptability, proactive problem-solving, taking initiative, strategic planning, curiosity), human-centred design, leadership, and relationship management (feedback, coaching) Process competencies - business development, business fundamentals, data analytics, data security, human-centred design, process selection/design/improvement, project management and technology Practice competencies - case analysis, case framing, issue-spotting, legal analysis, legal judgement, legal research, legal writing and subject matter expertise. Their site also refers to the current effort to develop playbooks that they plan to make available for use by different groups within the legal industry. So which framework is best? Although it is obvious where my preference lies, it would be difficult at this time for you to reach a conclusion on this question because details of the programs that underly the O and Delta Frameworks are not finalised, and details of my programs are yet to be broadly publicised. However, it is worth noting the following points of difference between the three frameworks: the primary aim of the T-shaped Lawyer Framework and associated programs is to offer a solution for human transformation, which has so far been overlooked in the current preoccupation with digital transformation. In other words, it outlines a comprehensive vision and means for lawyers to develop new skills, and competencies, capabilities, knowledge and mindsets so that they can, and actually do, use these to truly transform what work they do and how they do it, not just improve their current way of working. It is not clear to me whether the same can be said for the other two frameworks that appear to have different purposes the T-shaped Lawyer Framework takes a well-known and established construct that is widely used by a range of professionals in the business world and applies it to lawyers. The other two models are being developed by lawyers or legal academics just for those working in the legal industry the T-shaped Lawyer Framework and associated programs have been refined, tried and tested over many years and in many countries throughout the world for in-house lawyers and in-house legal teams and I am now, in conjunction with a leading firm, in the process of developing it for lawyers working in firms. The other two frameworks and associated programs are still under development and, as far as I know, not yet tested or applied in the real world unlike the O and Delta Frameworks, the T-shaped Lawyer Framework was not originally designed with law students and graduates in mind, although it would be possible to develop such a version the O-shape is symbolic of the well-rounded person its programs are intended to produce. The three sides of the Delta Model are intended to symbolise change and the three dimensions of education and training essential for anyone working in the legal industry. The T-shape is symbolic of the specific shift that I believe lawyers need to make from narrow/legal to broad/business and from specialist to expert generalist the founding group of the Delta Model are high profile academics in the US, which is likely to help their efforts to have their model adopted. The O-shaped Lawyer movement has the support of some general counsels and a few law firms in the UK and that, too, will likely assist their efforts to have their model adopted. The T-shaped Lawyer Framework is not that well known other than to the legal teams and law firms around the world that have participated in my programs. That is one of the reasons why I have decided to ‘open source’ a lot of the information about it in my upcoming book. Conclusion Whatever differences there may be between the three frameworks, the one thing that they have in common is that they all emphasise the crucial need to focus training and development beyond legal knowledge and skills. Having a framework and associated programs is important because it can convert an otherwise random grouping of theoretical courses on non-legal skills into something capable of being applied in various practical contexts more broadly and consistently. It also facilitates credentialing or certification that will eventually help to validate qualifications in this previously opaque area of professional development. Ultimately, it is not the name of the framework that matters but rather the extent to which the framework, and the detailed programs and modules, meet your objectives, whether that is to just learn a few more skills to be better at what you do today or to truly facilitate human transformation to complement any digital transformation programs. The other critical factor is the qualifications and experience of the person delivering the program and how well they understand and can explain the application of the theory, to your unique work situation. In a way, it is a bit like when you look in the mirror and ask yourself are you in the best physical shape for whatever it is you want to do. Once you’ve decided on your objectives, you then have a choice. You can pick a few exercises that you think are going to achieve your goals and do these on your own. Alternatively, you can sign up to a program designed by a health and fitness professional. You can then do the program on your own or with the help of a personal trainer to make sure that you are doing the exercises properly and keep you focused over the long term. For something as important as your health or career, it is crucial to be clear about your objectives and take the time to become better informed about the different options to help you achieve your objectives. This article is intended to raise your awareness of the three primary options so that you can find out more about each one and make an informed choice about what shape you’d like to become. Notes [1] See, for example, The World Economic Forum 2018 Future of Jobs Report [2] [3] The Future of the Professions: Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, OUP Oxford 2015 [4] Foundations of Practice: The Whole Lawyer study of over 24,000 lawyers in the US [5] See for example Suffolk University’s Legal Innovation and Technology Certificate, University of Calgary’s Legal Practice: Innovation course, and the report compiled by Andrea Perry-Petersen on Innovation courses in Australian Universities [6] Succeeding through Service Innovation [7] See David Guest, “The hunt is on for the Renaissance Man of computing,” The Independent, September 17, 1991. The concept was popularised by Tim Brown, CEO of Ideo, when referring to the type of person his famous design studio seeks to recruit. [8] See for example T-shaped graduates and [9] Peter Connor, “The T-shaped Lawyer’. ACC Docket July Edition 2017. [10] [11] Natalie Runyon, Shellie Reid, Cat Moon, Alyson Carrel and Gabe Teninbaum About the Author Peter Connor is the Founder & CEO of AlternativelyLegal. In the last 5 years, he has helped more than a thousand lawyers working in leading firms and in-house at brand name companies and government organisations to help them to reinvent themselves and to reimagine their way of working. Leveraging over 30 years of global experience as a lawyer, he has developed the unique T-shaped Lawyer Framework™ and T-shaped Legal Team Framework™, which he uses in his training and consulting work with in-house teams and firms. Peter also regularly publishes articles and speaks at conferences and at team offsites around the world on innovation and transformation. He can be contacted at #peterconnor #strategy #businessdevelopment #legal

    • An Interview with Soledad Atienza

      By Editorial Department. 1. Dr. Atienza, first and foremost: congratulations on your recent assignment as Dean of the IE Law School in Madrid. You will also continue your teaching role. What inspired you to apply for this prestigious position? This is an amazing Law School, that is part of a forward-looking university and it is an honor to step into this position. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this great law school with a community of over 8.600 alumni from 79 nationalities, a most diverse and international student body and truly global faculty body, where providing top global legal education drives us every day. Lawyers, as architects of society, are called to contribute to solve global social problems. At IE Law School, with that same commitment and passion, that characterizes us as an institution, we are rethinking higher education and we are taking this opportunity to reinvent 21st century legal education. 2. If you have to choose 3 unique selling points which 3 should you choose to describe your School? Global legal education. Legal education that goes beyond borders is now more important than ever, as local solutions or perspectives are not enough. We train our students through comparative law to master the different legal systems and provide them with a unique and creative global legal mindset. We also offer them multijurisdictional programs, offering the chance to access the legal profession in Spain, in the UK, the US or India. Intersection of law and technology. We recognize the opportunities that lie ahead to use the power of technology to improve legal education, legal practice, and legal systems, and we are committed to research and teaching in the intersection of law and technology. We are exploring the implications in the frontier of tech and law: from Artificial Intelligence and Data Privacy to issues related to Cybersecurity and Smart Contracts, through our think tank, LawAhead, our Legal tech Innovation Farm, an experiential legal tech lab, and our Jean Monnet Module. Innovative teaching methodologies. Training global lawyers requires expertise and innovation in global legal education and we take this challenge seriously. Our world-class international and diverse faculty, with academic and professional background use innovative teaching methodologies (including case method, flipped classroom or team based learning) and legal industry know-how, and they are the perfect combination to empower our graduates to succeed in the professional world. 3. Could you possibly elaborate a bit more on what your vision for the School in five years looks like? I see IE law school as a reference in global legal education; as a hub for legal professionals in the broad sense (private legal practitioners, members of public administration and academics), and the IE law school community (alumni, students and faculty) to foster: Innovation in legal education. Through our global comparative and multidisciplinary approach as well as multijurisdictional legal education model, we take an active role in the transformation process of legal education around the world, to create a more global and tech oriented legal education. Innovation in the legal profession through research and teaching in new business model, technology and skills applied to the provision of legal services. Close collaboration with the leaders in the global legal profession, in the private and public sector as well as in academic institutions, including law schools, bar associations and other legal institutions in different regions and different legal systems, to serve the legal community and a society with commitment and passion. 4. What is something that IE Law School is doing right now that you are really excited about? And by the same token, what do you perceive as the biggest threat to the integrity of the School right now? This is a challenging time for society, for academic institutors and for law schools. And, at the same time is a time full of opportunities for those institutions that have moved from a contingency plan to a strategic plan, as IE University has done. Under the current context, we have been able to move seamlessly to online classes, thanks to our 20 years’ experience in hybrid high-quality formats, an advantage that has been consistently recognized (this year our Global Online MBA has been ranked first worldwide by QS and second by the Financial Times). However, we have now moved to a new way of teaching: new liquid learning . Our experience in Blended Education and innovative teaching methodologies have allowed us to explore new boundaries in order to move to a liquid learning environment and to provide our students with immersive, experiential and practical learning experiences (such as our Legal Clinic, IE Labs and online competitions), that combine the on line and the face to face learning. It is always a challenge to create and to implement a new teaching strategy; but at IE, we believe that we not only have the experience, most important, we have a motivated and inspired community of faculty, students and staff, necessary to keep innovation in higher education. We are entrepreneurs, we are forward looking and we are ready to make this move. 5. What’s overall your opinion on the current process in the Legal sector when you think about development, planning and implementation of (innovative) tech strategies? Do you see differences between American, Asian and European Schools in their curriculum and how they develop, plan and implement (innovative) tech strategies? “Legal technology, development and innovation” is one of the 6 drivers of change in the legal profession described in the report by the International Bar Association on the Future of legal services, by María J. Esteban . In this report USA, UK, Australia and Canada stand out in terms of authors doing research and publishing in this field. This gives us an idea of the regions that are more advanced in the implementation of tech strategies. This is in fact, one of the areas that will benefit from the current COVID 19 situation. As this situation is accelerating the digital transformation of the legal profession, including the judiciary. I believe this circumstance will accelerate the creation and implementation of new tech strategies that will allow the legal sector to provide a more efficient legal service. Some law schools are also transforming into more technology oriented schools and we have seen different levels of tech being introduced in law schools. One way is by introducing courses on technology as part of their programs (more intense with mandatory courses or less intense with electives), a second way would be to offer courses on legal tech (understood as technology and digitalization applied to the legal sector); and a third way is to launch programs fully devoted to legal tech, designed to help the legal industry make the necessary changes to become a more digitalized service. 6. As said, the legal profession is changing and professionals need to be more business and tech savvy. What do you see as the biggest challenge for the legal students, and so professionals in let’s say five years from now? And what will the impact be of COVID19 on this, if any at all? Technology and globalization are some of the main forces driving change in the legal profession and in legal education. There are various reasons to promote global legal education, such as the global economy, freedom of movement EU for citizens and professionals, growing number of people movement around the world ... Some law Schools already have students from around the world who have a legal vocation and want to practice the law internationally. Another key reason to promote global legal education is that candidates, students and future lawyers, request it, and they aim for a global mindset. If technology and globalization are some of the main forces driving change in the legal profession. Some of the main challenges that I believe currently impact legal education are regulatory ones. Regulation of legal education is quite restrictive in most regions. And even if there is some flexibility that can be used to innovate and to design creative programs (for examples by focusing in alternative pedagogies and not only on content), I believe it is necessary try to change the culture, to take more risks and to innovate. In connection to regulation to access the legal profession, for member of the EU the advantages are that legal harmonization makes legal systems in the EU more alike and that EU regulations makes it easier to practice law in different member states. I believe the legal market is slowly adapting and some law firms, legal services providers, in house legal teams are hiring lawyers with international credentials, but this is not yet the general practice. Spain has received many of the top business law firms from the Anglo-Saxon market, Baker and Mc.Kenzie opened over 50 years ago their Madrid office, all magic circle firms (except Slaugher & May) have offices in Madrid, some of the last additions have been White & Case and Pinsent Masons. This confirms that Spain is still a very interesting destination for international law firms, because of the business opportunities and the connection to LATAM. These law firms are starting to hire lawyers with a more international profile and starting to hire non-lawyers (economists, engineers …). I think it is in this area where we shall see things changing in the very near future. 7. Many lawyers, GC and corporate counsel talk about the importance of the business of law and it looks like they easily adopt words like Brand Management, Consultative Selling, Legal Tech, A.I., workflow software etc. not knowing what it really stands for. Do you also experience this lack in knowledge and how do you cope with the difference in knowledge levels? At IE Law School we experience this difference in knowledge levels due to the diverse student body that we have, in our undergraduate and master programs in law we have students from 45 nationalities, and this means different educational backgrounds which we value very highly. In our masters for experienced professionals or executive education programs we have students with many different professional backgrounds, for example in our Master in Legal Tech, some of our students are lawyers, some are managers and some are technology professionals. So we are used to train our students in a diverse environment that includes having different profiles in the same classroom. We embrace this diversity of profiles and at the same time we understand the challenge of teaching in this environment. For this, many of our programs offer pre courses for those that do not feel comfortable enough in one discipline or the other. And above all, we establish a learning methodology whereby students learn not only from the faculty, but also from each other, by implementing large workload in teams; it is by interacting with each other that students achieve a consensus and reach similar knowledge levels. 8. Do you think that Law Schools understand the need to change the traditional curriculum or at least give more attention to the business of law? This curriculum modification and the need to train on the business of law are very relevant for law schools that focus on training lawyers. In order to fully understand the trends and challenges in legal education (including the need to change the traditional curriculum) and to be able to create a guide with recommendations for law schools and law associations around the world, we have joined forces with the International Bar Association and the Law Schools Global League in order to launch the “Blueprint for Global Legal Education”, a joint research project to explore trends and challenges of legal education and to make an important contribution to legal education globally. With the aims to identify the key drivers that shape global legal education, the consequent emerging responses and whether these responses can sufficiently address the challenges confronting legal professionals all over the world, IE Law School is coordinating this ambitious research project which will be presented in the IBA annual conference in November 2020. Some of the drivers examined include: globalization, technology, and changes to regulatory frameworks. Through the analysis of relevant literature, law schools’ websites, a global online survey and interviews with key stakeholders, we have engaged in intense work to study the trends that are shaping the future of legal services, with a particular focus on the impacts of globalization and technological disruption. More than 400 law schools bar associations and other legal institutions participate in this project, which will culminate in the publication of a report to be showcased at the IBA’s Annual Conference in 2020. For more information on the project: 9. As Law Schools are the breeding ground for lawyers, how far –in your opinion- can we solve the problem of change acceptance by changing the curriculum? Changing the curriculum is a step, but it may not be enough. In their role in driving innovation in the legal systems and the legal professions, law schools need to take one step further to ensure that they continue to deliver their mission. Their connection to law firms and other legal service providers, and the public sector, in order to add more value to society is very relevant. We should aim for true collaboration to truly rethink the values and principles of legal education to make better lawyers for our society. We should aim to attract top students to law schools, to all areas of the legal practice in a broad sense (private practice, public administration and legal academic) as we believe this is relevant for society. Law schools should work together to promote more vocations for the legal practice. We need to work together with the public administration and the private sector in order to attract talented students to law and talented graduates to legal practice. About Soledad Atienza Dr. Soledad Atienza is the Dean of IE Law School and She has an extensive academic experience and a global vision of legal education. She practiced at the leading Spanish law firm Pérez-Llorca and her expertise includes the areas of comparative law and legal teaching methods. Soledad Atienza is Senior Advisor to the Academic and Professional Development Committee of the IBA (International Bar Association), where she is co-chair of the project “Blueprint on global legal education”and is co-director of the Pérez-Llorca / IE Chair of Business Law. She is author of “Enseñar Derecho. ¿Puede servirnos la experiencia de Estados Unidos? (Teaching Law: Can the U.S. experience help us?)”. #SoledadAtienza #IELawSchool #Interview #Dean

    • Three Principles for Work Intake Post Covid-19

      By Richard G. Stock This is the twentieth in a series of articles about how corporate and government law departments can improve their performance and add measurable value to their organizations. Some years ago, I attended a series of conferences to meet individually with US chief legal officers. As a legal management consultant, my goal was to identify the primary management challenges faced by each CLO. My last set of meetings in Tucson covered a broad range of industry sectors: renewable energy, insurance, auto manufacturing, cement producers, pet food, national restaurant chains, cloud hosting and camping equipment. All of the companies, however, drew annual revenue in excess of $1 billion. Of my 15 meetings, six were with foreign-owned companies. At least eight had business plans for significant expansion in Asia-Pacific. Before Covid-19, many economies were doing well overall, but this was not the case for every region and industry sector. It is time to conduct another assessment and perhaps revise my observations 5 years on. Our conversations at the time focused on four sets of challenges: business plans and metrics; workflows and workloads; the organization and resources of the law department; and the costs of and relationships with external counsel. Three-quarters of the CLOs faced “internal” challenges. Aside from the demand for legal services, there was increasing pressure to measure and demonstrate the value of the law department. Typically, either the law department was overwhelmed, or it was on the defensive failing to meet expectations. Only four of the 15 companies saw a priority to reduce the cost of external counsel in the next year. My revised forecast for 2020-2021 is that law departments will experience less pressure to demonstrate their value but much more pressure to reduce internal and external legal spend over the next 18 months. I also observed that the law departments which seemed stressed about workloads and inadequate resources had little hard evidence – aside from a 55- to 60-hour work week – to support this contention. They had no data about the number of matters, the level of complexity of the work, cycle times and backlogs, and the practice-management habits of individual lawyers. Typically, most law departments were staffed with 80 per cent of the lawyers with at least 10 years of experience. Lawyers personally worked 95 per cent of the hours on matters with no opportunity for delegation. There were very few entry-level lawyers and only the occasional paralegal. Otherwise put, departments were poorly leveraged. The demographics in 2020 show that the average experience levels in law departments have increased compared to 2015. This translates to at least 50 per cent of the work requiring significantly less than the experience level applied to it. This continues to be a common affliction in law departments everywhere. In such cases, CLOs too quickly look for more resources. But most are unable to present a credible business case for additional resources. They do not have the data or the experience to prepare and argue the case. Added to this is the pressure for coverage in new jurisdictions — mostly in China, Mexico and South America. Too often, the default solution – a very expensive one – is to retain external counsel to cover the outfield for the company. The post-covid business environment will require compelling arguments for additional legal resources. This will prove doubly difficult for litigation and other forms of dispute. None of the companies I met had introduced a program to reduce the amount of routine legal work that they did as well as the dependency of internal clients on the law department. Over time, the layers of work piled on and interruptions multiplied. For some CLOs, it is a real stretch to capture and communicate the value of the legal team in non-financial terms. While CLOs are appreciated by the company’s leadership, they fall short of making a compelling argument to change workflows, workloads, and resources. My sense is that law departments will tighten their work intake criteria significantly over the next 18 months. There are three principles to keep in mind when designing intake criteria. The first is to demonstrate that productivity improvements have been made in the law department. These should take the form of radically reducing the demand for routine work, introducing protocols to qualify who can call the law department, and making sure that individual lawyers have strong time-management skills. The second principle is to consider coverage — to achieve increased specialization, for new jurisdictions, or for special and strategic projects. And the third intake design principle, also a good argument for in-sourcing work from external counsel, is to calculate the savings to be derived from additional resources compared to referring work to external counsel. Law departments typically aim for a fully loaded hourly rate that is no more than 45 per cent of the rate that would be paid to a law firm for the same work. Pleas for resources to deal with backlogs and tapped-out law departments will fall on deaf ears if they are not supported by a three-point business plan. CLOs must ensure that their law departments introduce and enforce more explicit work intake criteria to be properly leveraged in the next 18 months. About the Author Richard G. Stock, M.A., FCIS, CMC is a partner with Catalyst Consulting. The firm has been advising corporate and government law and procurement departments internationally since 1996. For legal services procurement and law department management advice that works, Richard can be contacted at See #RichardGStock #legalservices #workload #lawdepartment

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