Future of Legal Service Delivery - Final Class for Wake Forest Law School Practice Management Course


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These are the slides from the last session of my law practice management course for Wake Forest Law School this fall. It was an online course. The students read Susskind's End of Lawyers? and my Virtual Law Practice book as well as many other materials and the use of a virtual law firm simulation.

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Future of Legal Service Delivery - Final Class for Wake Forest Law School Practice Management Course

  1. 1. Law Practice Managementpresented byStephanie Kimbro, M.A., J.D.Virtuallawpractice.orgFall, 2012November 6, 2012
  2. 2. Overview Other Industry Adaptations to Online Delivery  Medical profession  Accountants  Higher Education New Law Firm Roles Future of Legal Services Delivery  How Firms Can Innovate  Unbundling  Big Data
  3. 3. Other Industries Are Adapting Medical profession Accountants Higher Education
  4. 4. Evolution of Legal ServicesBespoke Standardized Systematized Packaged Commoditized
  5. 5. 5 Types – Where Will you Fit In? Expert Trusted Advisor  Bespoke o Danger of assuming the client always needs expert assistance Enhanced Practitioner  Works closer to the right hand of the spectrum o Supporting delivery of standardized, systematized and packaged (when in-house) o Market only tolerates this worker when their experience as a lawyer is genuinely needed – otherwise they will be replaced with paralegals, legal execs, etc.
  6. 6.  Legal Knowledge Engineer  Large numbers of these will be needed in our profession  Highly skilled lawyers who can analyze, distill and place into standard working practices and computer systems  Design and development roles  Decomposition of legal work will be a primary role – they will have to know how to unbundle services Legal Risk Manager  Lawyers that offer proactive legal services , anticipating and pre-empting legal problems
  7. 7.  Legal Hybrid  Multi-disciplinary  Schooled in other areas and can expand the range of their services to include these as well as legal guidance The Danger Zone  Work that is routine  Solos and small firms that are not highly specialized  Solos who are general practitioners
  8. 8. A Law Firm Can Innovate By… Changing the way it delivers its services  Online systems  Unbundling In the advice it offers  Suggesting ODR, other forms of dispute resolution for clients The way it runs its business  How lawyers are recruited and into which roles
  9. 9. Becoming a Maverick Maverick management as a new discipline  Individuals in the firm who pursue ideas that will be regarded in the beginning as peripheral, irrelevant and even wasteful to the firm  Firms must nurture and encourage these people. o The R&D division of a firm  You should be one whether you are a solo or in BigLaw. The Best Lawyers Will Be  Transparent in communicating with their clients  Clear in exposing their work method  They understand that a large latent market of legal services can be met by delivering online commoditized services.
  10. 10. Conclusions Clients will drive these changes regardless. With the use of technology in law practice, empathy and sincerity will mean more to building a legal business and with client development. There are two ways the public sees lawyers:  Benevolent custodians of the law and legal institutions  Jealous guards of the law, protectionists To survive these changes, how you implement technology in law practice to serve clients and collaborate with other lawyers will matter. Watch for ABA & State Bar Changes to Rules Related to Tech in Law Practice!
  11. 11. Unbundling in the Future of Legal Services Unbundling permits the lawyer to adapt to the changes Susskind discusses by slowly making his or her processes more cost-effective and efficient through the use of technology. Over time as lawyers build up the quantity of unbundled work with the faster IT process, they will be able to maintain their standard of living while providing the now-expected lower fees to clients. Unbundling may allow the lawyer to transition from inefficient traditional models of legal services delivery to newer and more cost-effective versions without making a huge initial investment. Why will unbundling increase in popularity? It provides a delivery model that benefits both the public and the professional.
  12. 12. Big Data in the Future of Legal Services Collection of data from social media applications Identification of legal needs Suggestions for appropriate preventative action or solutions Who will use this data and how?  Practice areas  Privacy/Confidentiality  Lawyer advertising rules? Will they keep lawyers out of the market but permit others in? Collection of data from national database?  Legal services’ existing database, open sourced with API Smaller scale collection and use? Expert systems
  13. 13. A Final Note “The next generation of lawyers cannot rely on the exclusionary power of state-imposed boundaries to maintain the status, power, and distinction enjoyed by the profession in the past. If lawyers are to survive better than scribes or calligraphers did in the post- Gutenberg world, they need to do more than merely adapt new technologies to traditional practices and processes. The route to success lies in a new model of legal practice, in an understanding of the implications of shrinking distances between people and institutions.” – Ethan Katsh, Law in a Digital World (1995)
  14. 14. Keeping up with changes Jordan Furlong – law21.ca My blog – virtuallawpractice.org Richard Granat- elawyeringredux.com ReInventLaw Lab - reinventlaw.com Law Without Walls - lawwithoutwalls.org Elawyering Task Force – elawyering.com Alerts or # for:  Richard Susskind (@richardsusskind)  #Reinventlaw  Virtual law  Elawyering  Digital lawyering  Computational legal studies or computational law  Legal technology