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Legal Mosaic
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observations, information, trends, analysis, and suggested solutions on subjects related to the rapidly changing landscape of the legal services industry
observations, information, trends, analysis, and suggested solutions on subjects related to the rapidly changing landscape of the legal services industry

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Law firms have profited handsomely from trusted adviser colleagues– ‘excellence by association.’ Clients have long said that, ‘We hire lawyers, not a law firm.’ Let’s take them at their word noting that, until recently, retaining the lawyer also meant hiring the firm’s cast of supporting attorneys– and enduring big hours, high rates, faux budgets, and sticker shock. Trusted advisers—a subset of rainmakers– perform the critical functions, delegating all other tasks — the bulk of legal expense—to others.

http://ow.ly/h8xP30d8zIS
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The legal buy-sell dynamic has changed markedly during the last decade. In Facebook terms, it has morphed from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘it’s complicated.’ A quick look in the rearview mirror helps explain the client attitudinal shift and provides context for the evolution of legal delivery and the new tools of the trade.

http://ow.ly/mbeP30cOe8S
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Legal practice was once synonymous with legal delivery; law firms sold legal expertise—nothing else. Technology, globalization, the complexities and scale of business, high legal cost, and the fallout from the global financial crisis of 2008 have transformed legal delivery into a three-legged stool supported by legal, technological, and process expertise. The practice of law has morphed into the delivery of legal services

http://ow.ly/IzE930cqAMe
The New Legal Career
The New Legal Career
legalmosaic.com
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In-house legal departments and service provider, have begun to re-engineer the law firm delivery method. They have identified ‘legal’ tasks—contract and document review, research, etc.— that can be addressed differently than the labor-intensive ‘brute force’ method of law firms. This involves a mix of legal expertise, technology, and process. The result: compressed delivery time and cost, cost predictability, efficiency, and mitigated risk.
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Law school pedagogy is anachronistic and in dire need of updating. Certainly, all lawyers must have a grasp of basic legal precepts. But those core courses can be delivered in a more integrated way. For example, cases typically involve the interplay of several doctrinal areas. Law schools generally teach each– contracts, torts, civil procedure, etc.– as stand-alone areas.

http://ow.ly/SM8O30bQkYm
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Steve Brill, the founder of The American Lawyer, was fascinated by the business of law and used his storytelling, investigative, and marketing skills to capture a large readership. He cast a bright light on an industry that had long operated as a gentlemen’s club where money and machinations remained on the down low. Brill brought readers into that club, exposing it as something less than collegial. His blockbuster articles on Finley Kumble, a renegade firm that quickly grew to be the nation’s second largest, drew widespread notice.

http://ow.ly/ziAC30bDTzM
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The Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE)– ‘super exam’ as it is sometimes called—has competency based and experiential components that can be acquired inside or outside university—or a combination of the two. By providing a more open-ended, non-monopolistic (if not elitist) choice of paths to licensure, SQE represents an overhaul of British legal training. It shifts focus from course work at expensive universities to competency based experiential learning that can be obtained more efficiently, cost-effectively, and usefully by apprenticeships, jobs that require critical thinking, online learning, and other ‘real world’ means.

http://ow.ly/73g330bqXhR
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The list of law firm failures grows longer even as overall demand for legal services is up. Buyers have stepped up disaggregation of legal services–insourcing it by creating legal operations teams and/or outsourcing to more tech and process savvy service providers. This work was formerly performed by law firms. The shift is a structural change in the legal buy/sell dynamic, not a dip in the business cycle.

http://ow.ly/cRpp30bekUO
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A&O’s Fuse initiative is not the only law firm/IT start-up collaboration in the UK—or elsewhere. Earlier this year, for example, Mishcon de Reya launched a more modest program that will provide firm office space to a number of small tech companies during the summer. Addleshaw Goddard funded a fintech start-up mentoring program, and A&O partnered with Baker McKenzie to create a legal innovation zone within Ulster University. And that’s just what’s happening on the other side of the pond.

http://ow.ly/H3Sc30aPT0P
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In-house lawyers can share in the profits of the enterprise and acquire stock options. In fact, the long-term financial component is a key element of compensation and one of several reasons why many talented lawyers are moving from firms to corporate legal departments. The in-house corporate structure—with its short-and long- term performance metrics and rewards– promotes an alignment of interest between lawyer and client lacking in law firms. It also encourages in-house lawyers to function dually as enterprise defenders and business partners advancing enterprise interests.

http://ow.ly/259l30aDCgZ
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