Comment, Opinion & Guest Articles
Comment: Five Emerging Trends in Law Firm Marketing and BizDev – including the rise of law firm sales
The word “sales” has slowly, albeit steadily, slipped into the law firm lexicon. As a result, the industry is observing the rise of the sales-focused law firm CMO or dedicated Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO). These positioned are being augmented with experts from outside the legal industry who are bringing more recourse process and structure to the law firm BD process.
The latest of our comments on security, François Amigorena, CEO of IS Decisions looks at the findings of a recent report on information access compliance and where the holes typically appear within a firm’s security practice.
If you haven’t yet caught the Richard and Daniel Susskind ‘The Future of the Professions’ roadshow, here is a webcast of a talk they just gave at Harvard.
At a time of rapid change in the industry, lawyers’ roles are becoming increasingly innovative. We talk to Saswata Mukherjee, Global Legal Operations Director at Unilever, about the value an operations function can bring to the efficient and smooth running of a legal team.
“If you read Legal IT Insider, or if you follow Greg or me on Twitter, you have probably heard the big news regarding HighQ. They hired me! (Oh, and they got some investment of some kind. I don’t really follow that stuff, but hey, I guess that’s pretty cool too!)”
And this is why we love Ryan McClead, who has just joined HighQ from Norton Rose Fulbright and here, in his latest contribution to 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, takes the opportunity to get a few things off his chest.
Mark Edge (pictured), UK country manager at SaaS secure collaboration provider Brainloop, shares his insights on some of the file sharing challenges and risks faced by law firms and their clients.
True cloud is the sensible approach for legal departments to quickly and easily reduce data volumes and get instant access and insights about discovery data—giving them the power to truly “know now” about the merits of a case. True cloud also represents a radical new democratization of e-discovery: Legal professionals, regardless of their technical skill, can now leverage the full power of the cloud, bringing speed, flexibility, affordability and sustainability to the business challenge of managing exponentially growing volumes of variable and disparate data.
“Each year, Mary Abraham, Oz Benamram and I organize a meeting of global legal KM professionals to discuss trends, issues, and opportunities. In prep for it, we conduct a survey of invitees in November, December, and January. We use the survey to build our agenda, share some results publicly, and provide respondents with detailed results. I report here on 2016 knowledge management priorities in large law firms.” Legal market veteran and Fireman & Company consultant Ron Friedmann reports in his Strategic Legal Technology blog.
During the Autumn Statement back in November Chancellor George Osborne placed significant importance upon the investment in the use of technology within the justice system, including the digitalisation of courtrooms and the moving of paper-based systems online. Whilst the plans for digitalising the justice system has been in the pipeline for several years, we are now beginning to see these come into force and are witnessing the knock on effect for law firms.
In recent years, the digital landscape has had a revolutionary impact not only in terms of the way employees can now work, but also where they can work. Lawyers have been increasingly liberated from their desks and are accessing documents not only from their office desktop, but also their laptops, phones and tablets. The office is now, in essence, wherever they are.
IT training is resisted and yet it is critical. Lack of knowledge is not just time consuming, annoying and frustrating it poses considerable risk to a law firm. The head of document production at a top 100 London law firm who sees problem documents every day believes “someone is going to get sued” before firms realise that their lawyers need far better basic technology skills in order to reduce risk.
The ideal length of your video is shorter than you think. In the digital age, with shorter attention spans, research shows that 20% of people will switch a video off after 10 seconds if it doesn’t engage them. After a minute 45% of your remaining viewers will have stopped watching and 60% after two minutes. The ideal length for a corporate video is between 30 and 90 seconds, so aim for 60 seconds and deliver your key message early!
A heady combination of a growing demand among clients for global eDiscovery capability, the demise of safe harbor and a good dose of healthy competition between Silicon Valley venture capitalists is proving to be a powerful mix, as merger and investment activity in the eDiscovery sector in January notably spiked.
Without a doubt our most commented on feature in the January Legal IT Insider, here Daniel Pollick, chief information officer and director of business infrastructure at DLA Piper, Colin Smith, director of information technology at Pinsent Masons and Andrew Powell, director of IT at Nabarro (soon to take up the role of head of IT at Macfarlanes) highlight their key strategic priorities and wider market trends for 2016/17.
Following the hallowed tradition of biting the hand that feeds it (and IT) – US-based timekeeping software specialist SmartTimeApps has launched a new cartoon series poking fun at law firm time recording habits…
The January issue of the Legal IT Insider newsletter is out now, top stories include… Dealroom & extranet specialist HighQ receives $50 million in private equity funding – Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley among the investors + Intapp acquires Rekoop and now has 70% of UK law firm time capture market + New Heads of IT at Macfarlanes – Andrew Powell headhunted from Nabarro as Maurice Millen retires + Edie Dillion promoted to global CIO at Norton Rose Fulbright + Ediscovery – the race is on to consolidate as deals spur “feeding frenzy” among Silicon Valley investors & scrabble by vendors not to be left behind + Zoopla GC Ned Staple Talks Tech: law firms need better time & billing software – real-time billing portals would be helpful
Bruce MacEwen, president of Adam Smith, Esq. and Janet Stanton, a partner at the New York-based legal consultancy attended the 23rd annual Thomson Reuters Marketing Partner Forum in Orlando on 21 January. MacEwen chaired and Stanton was on the panel for a session called ‘Invasive Maneuvers: Emerging Markets, Client Demand & the Rise of the Big 4 in Legal Services.’
The agenda? “If the recent formation of the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services is any indication, the United States legal system is very much aware of the long term ramifications of the UK Legal Services Act of 2007 on non-US legal engagements. For corporate clients interested in streamlining their legal fees and working with fewer partners, the Big 4’s newly-accredited legal services have acted as de facto siren’s calls away from the dreaded billable hour. This conversation examines the long-term impact of the Big 4 on process-oriented work in the legal market and considers how these firms are bolstering their proximity to a larger slice of the proverbial pie.”
Guest post: The CMA study should be a case for progression – not a question of who is right or who is wrong
Following the announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that is has launched a study into legal services in England and Wales, Matthew Briggs, founder of the legal comparison website The Law Superstore, urges the profession to embrace the CMA study and see it as an opportunity to evolve the way in which it presents itself.
“It’s accepted as a truism today that the legal profession faces challenging times: Law school graduates carry heavy debt and battle dim job prospects. But within the legal technology industry, it’s a totally different story. In fact, millenials are riding high.”
Interesting research has recently been published on the potential for automation within legal services. I refer to two studies, one from a team at McKinsey & Co and one from Frank S Levy at MIT and Dana Remus at University of North Carolina School of Law. They are both worth a read but I have attempted to summarise and compare some of the findings.
McKinsey & Co identifies the portion of work that has potential for automation using currently available technology across a broad range of professions. In the legal profession they estimate 69% of time is automatable for paralegals and 23% of time is automatable for lawyers. For more, see McKinsey interactive infographic. (It’s interesting to note the extent to which other professions have potential for automation for example surgeons share the same 23% estimate.)
‘Search and discovery’ lays the foundation of many legal cases with firms often spending days manually sifting through information from multiple sources to identify companies, people, properties and other assets of interest and then mapping how these inter-relate. The facts they uncover build their understanding of the case and shape their strategy. While search and discovery is an essential process it can be complex, costly and time-consuming creating delays of serious concern for any legal practice. Being slow to the facts inevitably means being slow to respond to client requests – slow turnarounds strain client relationships.