• 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

  • Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #104

    By Gabe Teninbaum My name is Gabe Teninbaum (on Twitter at @GTeninbaum).  I'm a professor, as well as the Assistant Dean for Innovation, Strategic Initiatives, & Distance Education, at Suffolk Law in Boston. I'm also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project.  My work focuses on legal innovation, technology, and the changing business of law. Every day, I digest tons of content on these topics. The goal of this newsletter is to curate the most interesting, valuable, and thought-provoking of these ideas and share them with you. If you like reading it, please subscribe. You're also invited to forward this to others who you think would benefit. Likewise, please email mewith feedback, ideas, and tips so I can deliver what's most valuable to you. The Appetizer: Sponsors Law students: Do you want to get good grades in your classes and pass the bar exam? DO YOU? If you care at all about your future, sign up for This is a tool to help law students & bar preppers learn more using cutting-edge science.  Called the single most effective technique to learn by the American Psychological Association. Named one of the world's Top 20 Legal IT Innovations by ALM. The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week​ USA Today Talks A2J: when the highest circulation newspaper in the country is publishing pieces on access to justice, you know things are hitting the mainstream.  That's doubly true when the piece is co-authored by a current US Supreme Court justice (Justice Neil Gorsuch) and a former Colorado state supreme court justice (Justice Rebecca Kourlis). It's a thoughtfully written, informative piece, and hopefully will make readers previously unaware of the access to justice gap take heed and start advocating for change. ​2/3 Feel Buried in Low-Value Work: a recent survey by Juro and the law firm Wilson Sonsini found that in a sample of legal teams at fast-growth companies, 67% felt ‘buried in low-value work.’ Listen to Artificial Lawyer TV's  interview of Richard Mabey, CEO of Juro, to find out why this is happening and what should be done about it.  I listened to this interview with interest because, in my view, much (most?) of the low-value work being done should be replaced by productized services whereby automated tools allow grunt work to be done by machines, at scale, with quality, at a low cost. I found myself agreeing with Mabey throughout this interview. Goodnight, Status Quo: The National Center for State Courts has worked tirelessly to help courts make sound decisions about adopting new technologies. In this "Tiny Chat" video, the NCSC hosts unpack their guiding principles on technology.  Their talk is followed by a legal innovation tribute to the 1947 children’s classic, Goodnight Moo in the form of a 90-second video of several state court Chief Justices reading Goodnight Status Quo. It's bittersweet because it features the recently deceased Massachusetts Chief Justice, Ralph Gants, who died last week. COVID-19 is transforming the legal industry:  I'm going to try to limit the newsletter to only one pandemic mention a week because, well, there are enough mentions of it everywhere else.  However, this piece by Mark Cohen of Legal Mosaic is worth reading because it not only explains how law is changing as a result of this mess, but puts it in the broader context of digital transformation of work more generally.  It's also just a pretty good summary of all the big things that have happened - from regulatory changes, to moves by legal process outsourcers and big accounting firms - in 2020. Eviction As a Service: there's a downside to extreme efficiency in legal process, and that's that it doesn't just make it easier for consumers, but also can be harnessed to allow bullies to crush people that much more efficiently.  Vice has a sobering piece on a startup hiring part-time gig workers, like Uber does, to inexpensively help landlords make tenants homeless that much quicker (and in spite of the CDC moratorium on evictions during the pandemic...). Lagniappe Dorito Review: did you know that there are at least 148 (!) varieties of Doritos.  Did you know that there's a website with reviews of each and every one of them?  If you think you're a Doritos fan, have you ever tried the Gold Peking Duck flavor? Doritos Jacked Boston Garlic Shrimp?  The surprisingly detailed, nuanced reviews are pretty amazing when read as a group, and a good reminder that the world is a stranger place than we can ever know. *** If you enjoy this newsletter and know others who might also like it, please forward it to them.  It's free to subscribe, so the more, the merrier.

  • Stepping up the game with LegalTech

    By Kamila Kurkowska. In many law firms, the growing availability of LegalTech solutions was taken into consideration with a grain of salt, or treated as a gadget with lesser meaning in everyday business. Traditional forms of client contact, managing law firms and its processes were deeply rooted in not only firm structure, but also the lawyer mindset. COVID-19 has reshaped many well-worn rules thought to be unchangeable, demolished traditional foundations and made traditional rules of running business impossible. For LegalTech start-ups and companies, this is a moment where they can step out of the shadows into the mainstream. This does not mean that traditional legal firms will shut down. Rather, the digital transformation will accelerate. Solutions that were considered „nice to have” are advancing to „must-have”. Companies providing legal services can use the moment to gain competitive advantage in at least some aspects. Newly defined organisational culture. Over the last few years, conversations about the market referred to a term used in defining conditions on a mission- VUCA. The world of VUCA is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. In such a world, it is impossible to have the comfort of sticking to predictable rules and strategies. Despite this, in recent years we have become accustomed to stable growth and predictable client behaviours. This is why recent events come as such a shock, shaking our value system. This mainly concerns the organisational culture of firms. Those who are the strongest will survive (or not only those) but first and foremost- those who flexibly adapt to the new surroundings. Both money and clients are not gone from the market, but the ways of getting to them have changed. Innovation, not only technological ones, but also those resulting from a critical and analytical mindset and open-minded managers will give a significant advantage in the race. Companies providing legal services should quickly assess current needs in terms of innovations and effectively implement them. The most obvious of them are adapting communication tools to the digital reality, widening the scope of provided services (i.a. those which can be provided remotely), or recalibrating the risk management system. At this time, it is possible to fix many issues that have long been criticised, such as inequalities on the way to top-level posts, such as pay gaps or gender inequality. Pricing services according to the new reality. Box solutions, meaning those bought in a bulk and at a fixed price, are definitely on the plate. But the question remains, how to adapt this to the needs of the client, and for how much? Permanent subscriptions, which are not dependent on the amount of the legal firms’ work, are advantageous for the firm, but not for the client. Clients want to know what they are paying for and get a fixed price more frequently. This forces law firms to precisely calculate their services and price them appropriately, and also to compete with other entities, which are not necessarily law firms. Some services, especially basic ones, such as sales contracts or preparing documents for board meetings are already available on the market and do not require to be provided by well-known law firms. It is also a possibility that in the future, these services will be executed through a smartphone app or similar solutions. Soon, a blockchain- based solution for holding regular and supervisory board meetings online will enter the Polish market. Will this revolutionize the corporate law market in Poland? Certainly, it is worth beginning with a few changes to help the client understand the pricing of our services- for example, a simplified pricing of hourly rates. Even more radical is offering services through a „reversed auction”. Law firms that decide to participate in the process and are verified by the platform provider compete, lowering the price in response to the clients’ offer. On the platform, they can see only the drop in price, but not who they are competing with. On average, this can lower the final price by 10-15%. For now, those who use such platforms are usually the largest corporations, bot with time, this sales method may become more popular. Such solutions are not available on the Polish market yet, but in the future- who knows? The first step could be creating a comparison-shopping agent for standardized services, similar to those that function in the insurance sector. Action methodology. How to prepare yourself for a world more sensitive to change than VUCA? We are entering an era of drastic legal and business model changes that will be difficult to assess. Robert Ambrogi, a lawyer, journalist and LawNext expert stated before the crisis: If you want to be ready for what the future holds, do not wait for it to happen”. In other words, we must take risks and act not according to what we know today, but according to what might happen tomorrow. Traditional solutions, from delimitation of competences, work methodology and tema management skills won’t work anymore. It is time for „newbies” such as systems based on scrum, agile and goal determinant systems such as OKR, or tools measuring client satisfaction. If these terms are not understandable and sound exotic, we probably have many lessons to learn. For encouragement, it is worth adding that in many businesses, such as production or IT, these tools are very effective, leading to quality cost management and better management of time and resources. Of course, in the beginning, change in methodology will result in some resistance (as any change does), but it is important to keep in mind that being more effective, organised and having better data and risk management will give benefits not only to our law firm, but also to clients as well. Digital transformation. A term previously reserved for IT companies has now become a „holy Grail” for those who run their businesses in a traditional model. After the pandemic broke out, it became clearly visible that it is impossible to work without technology, and the core of the matter is not about faster computers or better wi-fi (although those may also come in handy). According to Gartner’s report, 81% surveyed law firms are simply not ready for a technology revolution. The answers to the resistant approach can be found in a Wolters Kluwer report, according to which the main factors are: lack of technology knowledge, understanding of the need for change and ability to function in a digital environment, and 36% of law firms admit this. I have already previously outlined the „deadly sins” of these firms, such as remote document management systems, data digitization or data security. Over the last years, the main factors slowing down digital transformation are distrust towards cloud solutions or digital document signatures. However, it turns out that in an era of electronic and scanned documents, market available solutions, for example those blockchain-based, may be a more secure solution than paper documents. After document digitalization, a possibility of attaching AI-based solutions, which can precisely categorize, search, analyse and detect potential mistakes more precisely than a human being, This of course does not mean that the legal profession will be replaced by machines, but that humans will gain new tools and support from “Silicon Valley intelligence”. Already in 2017, in a McKinsey report it was predicted that 23% of lawyers’ tasks can be done by a computer. Today, it may turn out that the number will be much higher, although the so-called “protein element” will still be needed to confirm results achieve by artificial intelligence. The change in paradigms mark the market from time to time, and are usually met with resistance at the beginning, which later develops into creating innovative solutions. Can we return to the world we knew before the pandemic? Most experts agree that this is not a possibility. Law firms will have to adapt to the new rules, and those who do it first will get a leg up in the race. Similarly to the previous revolution- communicating through e-mails and negotiating deals by phone, in a decade we may be amused at stories of documents kept in binders, legal opinions written on the basis of paper files and archives, as well as AI associated with science-fiction gadgets. The notion of which solutions will stay or be discarded is not yet determined. It is, however, determined that the necessary change in our mindsets and actions is inevitable. #KamilaKurkowska #legaltech #COVID-19 #lawfirms About the Author: Kamila Kurkowska, CEO of Firemind, President and Founder of Women in Law Foundation, Ambassador of European Legaltech Association in Poland. Kamila is experienced and innovative business manager, focused on legal marketing, Legaltech and corporate innovation. She have gained her knowledge and experience leading marketing and business development teams at Deloitte Tax and Legal Advisory and Harvard Business Review. Since 2015 she has been successfully running Firemind - consulting company, specialized in strategic and marketing advisory to professional services and technology companies. She advices Clients on digital and offline marketing, business development strategy and ongoing projects, serving as Head of Marketing on a number of occasions. Thanks to years of effective management of large and complex teams, combined with effective building of relationships with different groups of stakeholders, business partners and clients, she has been able to build a broad and strong business network. #KamilaKurkowska #NeedtoRead #AllUpdates

  • A ClariLegal interview with Jeff Kruse

    By Cash Butler and James Johnson. We recently had the privilege of speaking with Jeffery Kruse, founder and President of Kruse Consulting and Dispute Resolution, LLC (KCADR). An attorney by training, Jeff graduated from Washington & Lee Law School in Virginia and went into private practice with the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Jeff represented pharmaceutical and medical device clients in the firm’s product liability and tort practice. After eleven years at the firm, Jeff became Senior Corporate Counsel at Guidant Corporation shortly prior to its acquisition by Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC). While at BSC, Jeff helped build an in-house team responsible for the eDiscovery process at the company. After ten years, Jeff left Boston Scientific to join the pharmaceutical defense practice at the Kansas City firm of Baker, Sterchi, Cowden & Rice. Eventually, Jeff started KCADR (, where he provides dispute resolution services and serves as an efficiency consultant for law firms and legal departments. Through KCADR, Jeff help firms and legal departments improve their client services with the ultimate focus on the value received by clients. Jeff particularly helps firms run RFP processes to secure technology products and services to help those firms deliver greater value to their clients. We started as always by asking Jeff what value means to him. To Jeff, value is “receiving the best results for the best possible price.” Jeff notes that because clients are paying for results, everything that law firms and legal service providers do should be viewed through the “client’s lens and focused on the client’s interests.” Jeff also says that value can be viewed as “finding the most efficient and cost-effective solutions to reach the ultimate project goal,” or as getting “the ideal results in the quickest time.” However, Jeff also points out that “cost-effective” does not always mean selecting the cheapest option. We also asked Jeff about how the concept of value has been defined by the firms and companies for which he has worked. Jeff notes that law firms and legal service providers often define value differently from corporate clients. For corporations, value has meant “being able to get the best results possible in the least time and most cost-effective manner.” Jeff’s team often conducted RFPs to ensure their vendors and law firms continued to represent the best value for the company. In his career, Jeff notes that his team rarely chose the lowest-priced provider when selecting an outside service vendor. Instead, they would focus on selecting the vendor that promised to deliver the best outcome in the shortest period of time. For their efforts, Jeff’s team at Boston Scientific team won back-to-back corporate-wide Platinum Value Improvement Project Awards for RFP projects, unprecedented for in-house legal at the time. The Platinum Value Improvement Project Awards were the highest honors for continuous improvement projects at BSC at the time. On the other side, Jeff notes that law firms will often define value by the billable hour. However, Jeff believes the billable hour creates “disincentives for increasing efficiency and continuous improvement” at law firms. This disincentive for firms to improve efficiency runs counter to continuous improvement culture at most corporations, especially in the pharma, biotech, and medical device industries. Jeff also notes that, for law firms, much of the focus in providing value to clients is centered on litigation mitigation. But Jeff points out that companies don’t see themselves as having “legal problems.” Rather, for companies, they have “business problems that have legal aspects.” We next asked Jeff for his thoughts on how the COVID-19 pandemic might shift perceptions of value in the legal industry. Jeff recalled the difficulties that followed the 2008 recession. In particular, Jeff says that law firms and in-house legal departments had to “learn to do more with less” as a result of layoffs and headcount freezes. The same thing is happening again for corporations, who now must do the same work as before with fewer people, or in the case of some companies, more work with the same number of people as before. Jeff believes the business world will see an uptick in legal matters and litigation, especially with respect to renegotiation of supply chain agreements and commercial real estate contracts. As for how legal departments prepare for an increase in legal activity, Jeff has been helping his legal department clients to develop “processes and procedures for an influx of litigation, renegotiation of contracts, etc.” For his clients, Jeff is guiding them to create strategies for what to do if customers and suppliers refuse to renegotiate contracts. On the law firm side, Jeff has been assisting his clients about what to do if clients insist on rate freezes, and how to handle issues created when the law firm’s service vendors can no longer provide the same level of service due to layoffs. Jeff’s advice to law firms and legal services vendors is to consider adopting appropriate alternative fee structures during the economic downturn. Jeff notes that AFAs are not just about saving money, but can also provide clients and the firms with financial predictability. Jeff believes that companies may start using more RFPs to make sure they are getting the best value for their money during these tough economic times. He notes that RFP platforms such as make the RFP process substantially faster and allow clients to define what the costs of services should be. We next asked Jeff how, during his career, he has measured the delivery of value. Jeff says that, when he was in-house, he would look at metrics such as time from inception to conclusion of a matter, and the “total cost of delivery.” Jeff says that although the goal was to use data to determine how services were being delivered, in his experience it was easier to measure legal service vendors using metrics than it was to compare law firms. Jeff notes that historically vendors have set benchmarks for their performance, and law firms are just now beginning to do this as well. Jeff believes that the difficulty in measuring the delivery of value from law firms stems from the fact that litigation matters are considered hard to quantify. However, Jeff says that once you have data from multiple law firms’ performances, clients can start to determine “what those services should cost.” To conclude, we asked Jeff whether he thought RFPs and vendor management tools contributed (and contributed well) to legal stakeholders’ understanding of value and conversations about value. Jeff begins by noting that historically this is a tough question to answer because of the old way of conducting RFPs through Word documents or spreadsheets. That traditional RFP process was time consuming, resource intensive, and often frustrating because there was no automated way of comparing the different pricing models proposed by the prospective vendors or firms. Specifically, Jeff notes that “the traditional way of doing RFPs posed difficulties in getting apples-to-apples comparisons and being able to evaluate whether you are getting the best value.” Because “service providers have been creative in using different pricing models there was no easy way to compare [prices or bids].” As a result, Jeff often found it difficult to get a straight answer on what a service offering would cost. Jeff says that the industry is beginning to move toward universal pricing metrics but isn’t there yet. Jeff believes that some vendors still try to hide the final price. Ultimately, Jeff says that emerging RFP tools like the ClariLegal platform will help clients and customers reduce the gamesmanship in the RFP process and will help them get the best value for their legal service dollars. These new products and services provide great ROI with a minimal time commitment. Because helping clients conduct RFPs has been a big part of his consulting work through KCADR, Jeff is excited to use these cloud-based automated RFP tools to streamline clients’ RFP procedures to help them save time, save money, and reduce frustration in the RFP process. Disclaimer: The statements of the interviewees in the Value Article Series are opinions and observations of a personal nature and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and policies of their respective employers. About the authors: James Johnson is principal attorney of First Venture Legal, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based law practice focused on corporate and transactional law for very-early-stage startups. James assists entrepreneurs and small business owners with corporate formation and structuring, contracts, commercial law, employment matters, and early-stage fundraising. His practice utilizes alternative fee structures to deliver value-based service to early-stage ventures. In addition to practicing law, James works with ClariLegal, focusing on building out its innovative platform and spreading the word of ClariLegal’s mission to reduce cost and complexity in legal vendor selection and management for law firms and corporations. Cash Butler is the founder of ClariLegal. A seasoned legal technology innovator, Cash has over 18 years of experience in the legal vertical market, primarily working in eDiscovery, litigation & compliance. Cash is an expert in legal vendor, pricing and project management. ClariLegal is a preferred vendor management platform for legal services that improves business outcomes. Made for legal by legal experts. We match corporations and law firms with preferred vendors to manage the work through a fast and complete RFP and bidding process. ClariLegal’s platform allows all internal client segments to improve business outcomes across the board – predictability, time and money. Learn more #CashButler #JamesJohnson #JeffKruse #value #ClariLegal

  • How to take care of cybersecurity while working remotely in the new reality

    By Sebastian Goschorski. The situation with which we are currently dealing calls for an entirely new approach to the management of business organisations and their assets. Whether these changes will be successful, and thus the business organisation will survive, strongly depends on our ability to agilely organise business processes and help employees switch to the new way of working. Due to constant changes and companies’ inability to plan the entire process in detail, organisations have become exposed to cyber risk to much higher degree than it was possible in the past. New reality – learning to work differently Faced with the need, or even forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, to work from home, we have changed many of our habits and existing schemes. Plenty of business processes have been transferred from offices to our homes. Video conferences, working on company software (e.g. accounting software) have immediately become part of our daily routine. Working from home has many benefits, such as availability, flexibility, no need to commute to work, being able to better focus on work, working on own devices, especially appreciated by the users of Apple products, the truth is, however, that it also increases cyber risk. The reason is quite simple – the number of potential and easy targets detected by hackers has soared, and many users are still unaware of the threat and ways to avoid it. Reorganisation of digital routine – essential rules At the time of the crisis, when most of us work from home and participate in online meetings, it is crucial to review and reorganise our new digital reality. Below you will find some rules that will help you increase your company’s cybersecurity while working remotely. Company systems should be accessible only via VPN, upon 2-step authentication (e.g. app password and verification code). The choice of VPN software provider should be deliberate. The cheapest or the most popular solution is not necessarily the best. Remote access for a limited time. It is recommended to set up a remote connection for a limited time (minutes / hours). Update the operating system and software version – it is recommended to update organisational operating systems and software to the latest versions, since many times newer versions are offered to businesses due to security breaches detected in older versions. Antivirus software should be updated to the latest version and have full security package, i.e. possibility to test emails for malicious programmes or protection in the form of a simple firewall. Backup - backup must be carried out for all relevant devices and information, and should be performed periodically to verify backup integrity. Any incidents that occurred on computers used at home must be immediately reported and verified by authorised persons or IT support servicing the company. Any suspicious emails must be checked and, if it is likely that they are a cyber-attack, reported to right persons or companies, especially if these are payment orders. Employers must be aware of the obligation to protect information, this concerns especially sensitive data. It is important to hold a cyber risk policy that will be helpful in the event of losing important personal data and will cover the cost of reaction and emergency management. Follow closely all GDPR procedures. Buy adequate insurance that will cover the loss in the event of hacking and provide PR support. We have to remember that working from home using VPN usually entails slower access to our company resources stored on, e.g., shared drives. As a result, some employees may want to have these drives on their own, less protected computers. In such case, apart from the risk of losing data (e.g. due to some drive damage) we are much more exposed to the risk of having it stolen. It would be safer to allow for automatic synchronisation of data on the personal computer at home with the company network drive. To sum up – what is new for us and often neglected when it comes to cybersecurity may be a golden opportunity for potential thieves. Lack of proper preparations, planning and audit of the ways in which we (and our employees) work remotely may expose us to huge losses. Thus, the currently binding working rules and systems should be verified and tested for potential risks. We should protect ourselves in advance or change our strategy for working remotely as well as the rules of functioning in the new reality. About the Author Sebastian Goschorski is an experienced financial officer, certified accountant and a Partner at RSM Poland responsible for business development, in particular in relations between Poland and China. He has 15 years of experience in heading and managing accounting, finance, tax and HR & payroll departments, as well as designing and implementing company development strategies. He specialises in the optimisation of business processes and operational costs of both Polish and foreign companies. #SebastianGoschorski #legaltech #businessdevelopment

  • Lawtomatic Newsletter Issue, #103

    By Gabe Teninbaum My name is Gabe Teninbaum (on Twitter at @GTeninbaum).  I'm a professor, as well as the Assistant Dean for Innovation, Strategic Initiatives, & Distance Education, at Suffolk Law in Boston. I'm also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project.  My work focuses on legal innovation, technology, and the changing business of law. Every day, I digest tons of content on these topics. The goal of this newsletter is to curate the most interesting, valuable, and thought-provoking of these ideas and share them with you. If you like reading it, please subscribe. You're also invited to forward this to others who you think would benefit. Likewise, please email mewith feedback, ideas, and tips so I can deliver what's most valuable to you. The Appetizer: Sponsors Law students: Do you want to get good grades in your classes and pass the bar exam? DO YOU? If you care at all about your future, sign up for This is a tool to help law students & bar preppers learn more using cutting-edge science.  Called the single most effective technique to learn by the American Psychological Association. Named one of the world's Top 20 Legal IT Innovations by ALM. The Main Course: 5 Things That Made Me Think This Week​ Stenography Meets Pandemic (& a startup is born):  the quaint requirement of having a stenographer sit in a conference room with lawyers and deponents to generate real-time transcripts got exponentially more complex with the COVID-19 pandemic.  For that reason, I was interested to read this LawSitesBlog post on Steno, a startup that plans to modernize this process.  The proof will be in the pudding, but it sounds neat: fully remote, web-based, secure, crisp-sounding interface.  Plus, $3.5m of VC money raised to build it.  I'm especially interested in companies and people who have modified the way they work as a result of the pandemic, but also have the potential to influence how we work once this crisis ends.  Steno seems representative of that opportunity. Data Privacy's Role in Advancing Legal Tech: This is an interesting podcast conversation between Dan Rodriguez (law professor, former dean, and all-around legal tech guru), and Markus Hartung, a German lawyer with expertise in law firm strategy, legal tech, and global legal services.  Among other assertions, Hartung explains why he believes the impact of artificial intelligence is wholly overstated (I won't tell him that an AI-powered algorithm recommended I check out this episode and accurately predicted I'd learn something from it). Udemy Course on Documate: there's now an online course to teach people to use the excellent legal document assembly tool, Documate.  I have no affiliation with the course or Documate, but I was struck because I like the idea of democratizing access to useful tools...and one way to do that is to have clear, detailed, trainings available to anyone who wants to become a power user.  I've always wondered why more vendors don't create detailed video-based tutorials on youtube so users can master their products (a notable exception here is Community.Lawyer - their documentation is terrific, detailed, and easy for people without tech chops to follow). Let's hope more companies and educators post this sort of content. Filling Your Dance Card: the academic year is in full-swing, and that means that lots of good online talks and conferences.  A few noteworthy events in the coming days: Northwestern is holding the first of their monthly Law & Technology Initiative events on Thursday 9/17 at 1pm EST, entitled "Legal Prediction: Possibilities and Pitfalls" (free registration here); also on Thurs. 9/17 from noon-1:30 ET, Yale is hosting a Constitution Day event featuring the godfather of the Yale Information Society Project, Prof. Jack Balkin (free registration here) (set up multiple monitors and watch them both at the same time!). Finally, on Monday, 9/28, from 5:30-6:30 EST, Harvard Law is hosting "Some Good News in the Legal Profession: An Early Evening with the Center on the Legal Profession" (free registration here). Untimely Passing of Chief Justice Ralph Gants: as the leader of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, he was known as a thoughtful, rational, and humane jurist. He was also a leader in the Access to Justice movement, a court reformer focused on rooting out racial bias in the system, and a champion of attorney well-being. I was lucky enough to appear before him when he was a Superior Court judge, and also lucky enough to be one of his hosts when he was keynote speaker at a legal tech event at Suffolk Law.  Of the several remembrances that have been published, this Boston Globe article stands out, as does this piece from Commonwealth Magazine. He will be missed. Lagniappe Tiny World: if you enjoyed the TV series Planet Earth, you'll want to see this.  Tiny World explores, well, all the tiny things living in nature around us.  Check out the trailer.  Also, since Paul Rudd is Tiny World's narrator, here's an added bonus: give a look at his "wear a mask" PSA. *** If you enjoy this newsletter and know others who might also like it, please forward it to them.  It's free to subscribe, so the more, the merrier.

  • Embrace Thought Leadership As Your Industry Group’s Strategy for Growth

    By Patrick J. McKenna. Successful thought leadership does not arrive by virtue of having a published idea linked to a hope that someone will recognize brilliance and sweep your industry team from obscurity into prominence. Thought leadership only matters if you address a specific audience and can present new ideas that improve their life or work. The best thought leadership, therefore, helps people in an industry do something better or gain insight that helps them better understand their market or their problems. There is little generic thought leadership that is useful. In a globalized online world, clients can quickly find an alternative to you. To establish your group as having an expert reputation – including those who don’t just participate in the industry discussion but drive it, requires consistent, diligent effort. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even those already familiar with your firm. For your strategic purposes it should help start a new client relationship where none exists, and it should give existing clients comfort that they have made the best choice in selecting your team as their trusted industry advisors. And because achieving recognized thought leadership is often the result of undertaking a number of different initiatives, every member of your group should be able to identify some element that they feel comfortable in working upon. Make sure that your group members all take part in the creation process and that they understand and support the goals you are trying to achieve by building thought leadership. To that end, here are 12 recommended actions for how you and your group might develop a position of being recognized industry thought leaders: 1. Determine precisely who your group’s thought leadership is targeting First and foremost, burn this into your brains – if everything you and your group does in an effort to build real thought leadership, applies to “everyone” in a general industry (e.g. Manufacturing Industry) you will only serve to dilute your impact and your value. Instead, define your niche. Focus on your best prospects (e.g. the Augmented Manufacturing and 3D Printing micro-niche and those companies that occupy that space); learn everything you can about their needs, challenges and pain points; and then demonstrate your knowledge about those topics of greatest interest to them. Part of offering insightful expertise is determining with your group, where an industry’s greatest or newest pain points are and what you are most expert in addressing. Great thought leaders and especially industry thought leaders, need to first understand their specific niche. Start with your high-level industry and then drill down until you’re left with a specific niche in which you have the aptitude, skills, experience and above all, the passion, needed to become a subject matter expert. 2. Continue to invest time gaining an in-depth understanding of the industry dynamics Becoming genuine thought leaders requires that your group members understand recent industry challenges, marketplace demands, and can easily talk about industry idiosyncrasies without getting blindsided because someone didn’t think through all of the issues. Make sure that you are all looking for where the new technologies are being introduced and the strategic investments are being made within the industry that might serve to impact clients. Industry thought leaders are not afraid to challenge the status quo, champion ideas and fuel new thinking. You might even have a group member who has subject matter expertise in some area (e.g. advanced material sciences) that could reinvent your Manufacturing client’s thinking 3. Position yourselves as highly insightful resources Now, understand this – clients resent being pitched. Genuine thought leaders use their presence, be it on the podium or in their written communications to establish themselves as experts by addressing critical industry pain points, answering questions and providing meaningful guidance. Clients want helpful, prescriptive information and if your ideas are valuable and meaningful, clients will come to you and they will ask you how you managed to deal with the situation or problems you identified. When that happens your thought leadership begins to deliver a relationship. Demonstrate that you are a curator of trends, insights, hard data and that you have your finger on the pulse of the industry. This tells prospects that your group is the one-stop resource for everything they need to know. 4. Be generous with sharing your expertise You and your group’s thought leadership should be a resource that you share with an eye toward building brand value and meaningful differentiation, not immediate revenue. I have always believed and behaved in accordance with a principle I learned from my good friend, David Maister – “reputation before revenue.” The ROI may seem slow to accrue but when industry representatives start seeking out your opinion and conference organizers are inviting you to present, you will know that you are beginning to achieve true thought leadership. Industry clients want lawyers who have invested the time to know the mechanics involved in their business, recent challenges, competitive pressures and where the growth opportunities exist. Their legal advisors are more proactive about informing them of what is on the horizon and can drive their thinking and help them prepare themselves for what’s next. To be great at thought leadership requires a deep understanding of what a client company is proficient at doing and identifying those pitfalls and developmental areas that will allow it to flourish. They can hire lawyers to address their legal problems, but your clients value your insights and ability to apply new ways of thinking into understanding their aspirations, their opportunities and providing business solutions. 5. Offer a unique perspective Don’t expect to be seen as the experts if all you do is rehash the same content that others have already covered. There is a lot of wishful thought leadership content being offered that does nothing more than regurgitate what some regulatory agency announced with a two-sentence analysis. Don’t embarrass yourselves! You need to stretch and provide something fresh, something prescriptive, and it never hurts to occasionally even be a touch controversial. There are a number of ways to get noticed: Take a position on something meaningful (like I’m doing here on the strategic importance of having an industry focus) and interpret it for others. Be seen as the source of information and guidance that clients are talking about amongst themselves. You have to be introducing new ideas on a near-constant basis. Show your group’s “brand personality” – your passion about solving problems and eagerness to take on challenges with an enthusiastic approach. While your opinions are important, be sure to prove your expertise wherever possible and show the data that supports what you are saying. 6. Get actively involved throughout the industry Being a thought leader also involves networking with industry players, attending industry conferences and expositions, and getting active (not just taking out a membership and attending the odd event) within the industry organization (if there is one). In some instances, you may be serving an industry micro-niche (e.g. e-sports) that is still evolving such that there is no formal industry organization. So… do I need to tell you that maybe your group should work on starting one? And getting involved may also mean running workshops, hosting events, conducting pro-bono assignments, sponsoring an academic program, or perhaps starting a not-for-profit that redefines an idea or provides a forum from which others can actively invest to achieve a particular industry advancement result. 7. Become prolific writers Start by finding out what publications your industry audience is reading and what industry websites are most popular. Getting published in recognized industry publications, being recommended to guest author blogs or book chapters, or even authoring an e-book or educational client guide serves to establish you and your group as having significant influence. Consider getting creative with some of your writing by doing something interactive like posting a quiz or offering your readers a survey to help them explore different options for handing a particular industry issue. If you are writing a blog, you want people to find it. To ensure that Google “sees” your site, you have to have lots of searchable content available. Start with relevant blog posts – at least one a week – then add downloadable eBooks, white papers, videos, tip sheets – many forms of content that go deeper into a topic than just a blog post. These are the best ways to showcase your knowledge and expertise, and to establish industry credibility. Write enough articles and podcasts and soon you have a book. One of my books, “Serving At The Pleasure of My Partners” is simply a compilation of 18 articles, authored with the insightful contributions of 10 firm leaders addressing challenging questions that were put forth by brand new managing partners. There is no more definitive proof of thought leadership than authoring a book on your chosen industry subject. 8. Instigate industry research Thought leadership is also about actively pursuing possibilities and sharing that enthusiasm for exploration with industry players. Identify an important topic worthy of researching industry participants about and initiate a formal research study. One of the greatest thought leadership influencing ingredients is primary industry research – being the ones with the one-the-ground statistics to demonstrate your knowledge. Thought leadership should excite and nothing excites more than going on a journey into the unknown be it to figure out how the industry might evolve over the next decade or what technological innovations might seriously disrupt how things are unfolding today. 9. Posture yourselves as a great source for media commentary Having your group members being quoted as knowledgeable sources in reputable news articles is an excellent way to establish credibility. Industry participants need to see you as having an insider’s view and knowledgeable with respect to their latest industry news. Spare no effort to make contact with and get to know the right industry reporters, journalists and commentators (in print, radio and television) – make yourselves available for being interviewed and make that a top priority when they do call. 10. Launch your own podcast Initiating a regularly scheduled audio or video podcast to discuss important industry-related topics, interview one of the industry leaders, or having a panel discussion with other industry participants can serve to have your group perceived as providing worthwhile industry content. 73% of marketing professionals say that webinars are the most effective tactic for generating high-quality leads. And don’t be the least bit shy about calling upon your well-known connections, flaunting high-level affiliations and leveraging industry celebs. Remember that old adage: “you will be known by the company you keep.” 11. Create a robust online presence Social media platforms are populated with people trying to learn more about, find answers to, and/or solve problems they are having to confront. Having your team members monitor social media sites for industry specific questions can help you identify opportunities to share your expertise. Get involved on as many industry-related social media platforms as possible and reach out to new people regularly. For example, search LinkedIn for every possible industry-type group and join those groups to identify issues that members are discussing and to provide informative, non-promotional assistance. Start reaching out to potential influencers in the industry and talk to them about what’s on their minds. 12. Be market-focused Offering predictions about the future of the industry based on your research, your experiences, your in-depth observations, your corroboration with third-party sources or industry leaders can serve to differentiate your group from any other competitor. Don’t be afraid to make bold claims and big predictions about the future of your chosen industry. And your thought leadership also needs to be turned into a campaign – tweeted, Facebooked, webinared, even advertised. If your team thinks that the unique content they are generating and the ideas themselves will go viral and make everyone instantly famous, they are likely to be disappointed. Your thought leadership efforts needed to be treated like a product of your industry group and marketed both within your firm and externally. And don’t be shy about seeking out any “awards that matter” to your chosen industry and make an effort to be considered. Keep in mind that showcasing your group’s expertise and knowledge helps with talent acquisition as people want to work with those who are outstanding in their chosen niche. Being a thought leader also means being a patient leader. Thought leadership requires perseverance and dedication as you cannot expect that it will immediately produce a stream of clients. Over time, thought leadership builds a following, but how long that takes depends on your group’s collective time investment, and most importantly, the value of the ideas. In the process your group needs to be willing to examine whether things are really working, reposition content that is not, or abandon it for a new, better position. About the Author Patrick is an internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms; having had the honor of working with at least one of the largest firms in over a dozen different countries. He is the author/co-author of 11 books most notably his international business best seller, First Among Equals (co-authored with David Maister), currently in its sixth printing and translated into nine languages. His two newest e-books, The Art of Leadership Succession and Strategy Innovation: Getting to The Future First (Legal Business World Publishing)) were released in 2019. He proudly serves as a non-executive director (NED) or advisory board member with a variety of professional service firms and incorporated companies. His aim is to instigate innovation, provide independent strategic insight drawn from his years of experience, and support effective governance. His three decades of experience led to his being the subject of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: "Innovations in Legal Consulting" and he is the recipient of an honorary fellowship from Leaders Excellence of Harvard Square. Read more articles from Patrick McKenna, or read online/download his latest eBooks #PatrickJMcKenna #thoughtleadership #strategy #growth

  • How Lawyers Can Network Despite Social Distances

    By Elizabeth Ortega. The last few months have relocated the practice of law from an arena for highly physical contact sports to a virtual playing field. Almost overnight, travel, in-person meetings and invaluable tete-a-tetes are no more. Given that we don’t know where the pandemic is going next or when it’s going to end, doing nothing or attempting to carry on business as usual is not an option. Rather than regret the temporary inability to meet in person, lawyers can leverage technology and set a new standard with reliable tactics. The new, adaptive techniques that lawyers cultivate now will serve them well in a future that does not include health-crisis management. For years, I’ve recommended that my lawyer clients “be in the room.” Lawyers can still get there by bringing their resources and charisma to safe online settings. An alternate approach to developing and maintaining an influential network can be pursued and accomplished using technology from anywhere by employing the tried tactics outlined below. Ask, listen and learn As rainmakers consider how to best attract referral sources, the inability to meet in person is creating tension. Many would agree there’s no replacing an in-person exchange for bonding. However, relationships are about finding commonalities and in this period of uncertainty, most people are open and ready to connect. Business development and the attorney-client relationship hinge on trust, which has nothing to do with proximity. Clients hire “trusted advisors” based on experience, cogent analysis of the matter at hand, and rapport. Thus, the most appropriate approach and medium for communication should be carefully selected. If the wish is to connect with contacts (clients, colleagues, friendly competitors, etc.) to touch base and ask how they’re doing, it’s wise to stick to a telephone conversation. A traditional phone call allows you to gauge the receiver’s tone, inflection and pauses. Yes, a phone is technology. Tried and true. After all, the point is to hear what they have to say. When one is listening attentively, there’s no need to “pitch” services. From this simple exchange, key insights, ideas, patterns and creative solutions emerge. When you generously offer useful information, you create a comfortable atmosphere of reciprocity that drives the conversation. The phone call is not only a conduit for the client to share perceptions, but also for the lawyer to contribute timely information. Essentially, in this informal fact-finding approach, lawyers can connect with client interests, find a fresh perspective and consider new alternatives. The secret lies in understanding the “why” and “how” behind the outreach. In this scenario, it’s better to be heard than seen. Provide news and analysis of hot-button issues, cases and trends Most lawyers are accustomed to providing thought leadership to establish brand recognition among target audiences that have the power to refer and engage. Certainly, the time is ripe to maximize digital exposure by disseminating original content. While it’s long been part of the marketing mix, this tactic has become a crucial factor in diminishing social isolation. In your outreach, you have probably learned that people often look to experts, including lawyers, to frame their thinking. Savvy lawyers understand how providing and sharing original content creates cross-marketing opportunities. Traditional and social media have the power to exponentially augment the message and its reach. In this context, since you are looking to educate and shape public perception based on client and peer feedback, the preferred communication tool is written commentaries published in industry-related digital and print media outlets. Since everyone engages in some form of social networking, we all spread information through the most potent form of marketing: word of mouth. A robust online and social media presence maintained through consistent postings and outreach is vital to creating and preserving brands. A good read is hard to miss. How to deepen our social ties virtually Many lawyers have succeeded at staying visible by engaging with existing and future connections in a virtual landscape. These lawyers participate in online events where a topical problem is addressed and solutions are vetted. The very same concept behind popular go-to conferences applies. Traditionally a lawyer presents at an event, followed by a coffee meet-and-greet with a target. Then there’s lunch with a group of practitioners from a local firm, rounded off by a client-hosted cocktail reception. The setting is familiar, off-sides anecdotes are generated - remember that party at that club? -- and the magic begins to unfold. The biggest risk you’re taking by engaging in a virtual platform is that an adorable child or pet pops up in the background. The professor explaining South Korean politics live on the BBC when his child makes an impromptu appearance springs to mind. The professor’s popularity soared as a result of the heartwarming gaffe. Nowadays we can all relate. Much like in social outings, lawyers can impart, debate and develop relationships by safely engaging in virtual setups. Generating business still and always requires flexibility and the opportunity to lead a discussion. The fundamental advantage of the online mode is that you can start a private chat during a well-attended online event without having to face friendly interruptions. You can't fully replace in-person meetings for building relationships. We remain keen to see each other and, to quote the queen of England, “we will meet again.” For now, video calls are providing continuity and efficiency. And while the novelty of social video chats may be wearing off, understanding and appreciating this tool in a business setting is increasing. Lawyers using technology to strategically hit the pavement. About the Author Elizabeth Ortega is principal of ECO Strategic Communications and co-founded The International Academy of Financial Crime Litigators. #ElizabethOrtega #networking #lawyers #pandemic #legaltech

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