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    Archive for February, 2012
    ABA 20/20 Commission Revised Drafts
    Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

    ♫ Food for thought
    You give me food for thought..♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by 10cc.

    Businessman on Computer

    The America Bar Association (ABA) established the 20/20 Commission almost 3 years ago to report on the:

    “Impact of Internet technology on the delivery of legal services, both globally and within the United States”

    Today, the revised drafts of a number of the 20/20 Commission’s proposals were released on the ABA Site-tation website in the following areas:

    • Technology and Confidentiality (PDF)
      Addresses lawyers’ obligations and responsibilities in handling the storage and security of clients’ confidential data.
    • Technology and Client Development (PDF)
      Addresses lawyers’ use of web-based technology, including social networking, to market their practices and attract new clients.
    • Outsourcing (PDF)
      Addresses the ethical responsibilities associated with the outsourcing of legal and law-related work, both domestically and offshore.
    • Model Rule 1.1 (Duty of Confidentiality) (PDF)
      Addresses disclosure of confidential information particularly in the context of detecting conflicts of interest.
    • Practice Pending Admission (PDF)
      Addresses issues relating to the establishment of a practice in a new jurisdiction in the context of an increasingly mobile, multi-jurisdictional profession.
    • Admission by Motion (PDF)
      Addresses the number of years required for admission by motion, again addressing movement towards multi-jurisdictional practices and mobile lawyers.

    As the ABA site-tation website states, considerably more information, including comments and news, can be found on the Commission’s official website.

    The deadline for submitting comments on these final proposals is April 2, 2012. Comments should be directed to Senior Research Paralegal Natalia Vera at

    These proposals are sure to give us food for thought…(hat tip to Ann Halkett, BA, SSIS, Litigation Support Coordinator, Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP).

    Posted in Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Proceed with Caution
    Monday, February 27th, 2012

    ♫ Strange fascination, fascinating me
    Changes are taking the pace I’m going through

    (Turn and face the strain)
    Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by David Bowie.


    Thinking Man

    PROCEED WITH CAUTION: Addressing Challenges and Making Changes Requires a Thoughtful Approach

    This is a guest post from our friend Bob Denney on a topic near and dear to my heart: Change Management in the context of lawyers and law firms.  I have to admit that I have a strange fascination with managing change.  Accordingly, here is Bob’s take on addressing change:

    Now that the economy continues to recover, forward-thinking law firms are trying to shift from survival tactics to the “New Normal” by addressing, not only the challenges they face, but also the changes they may have to make. However, as discussed in our February and April, 2010 Communiques, the list can be long and there are few precedents for addressing many of the issues.

    The issues will vary to some degree for each firm but the first challenge for every firm is to identify those issues it must address and where it should start: Growth? Alternate fee arrangements? Leverage? Firm structure? Management structure? Revise marketing and business development strategies? Client service? Or what? (more…)

    Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Extreme Magical Thinking: Technology Won’t Take You Off the Hook
    Monday, February 20th, 2012

    ♬ I’ve got the magic in me…♬

    Lyrics and music by: Rivers Cuomo; Lukasz Gottwald; Bobby Ray Jr Simmons, recorded by B.O.B.

    Magical Lawyer

    Magical Lawyer

    This is a guest post by Pam Woldow  of Edge International on legal project management, posted originally on her blog, At the Intersection:

    On the eve of LegalTech, I have been encountering a lot of magical thinking recently when talking with law firm partners about Legal Project Management.  One partner, hoping that the IT and KM folks can simply buy a tech solution so that he could avoid making any real changes to the way he manages matters, engaged in extreme magical thinking when he asked, “isn’t there just some software where I can click one button and it manages everything?”   He just wants to keep doing what he’s always done and have technology somehow make the result different.

    Sorry, we live in the real world.

    Here’s the bottom line:  Siri can’t analyze what tasks need to be done (or not done) for a client, and iPads don’t independently tailor project plans.  Software sits inert until some lawyer lights it up, infuses legal judgment and knowledge into matters and uses the software to reflect back the enhanced management skills being applied.

    If your firm has invested (or is about to invest) in magnificent new software – that elegant integrated dashboard will sit on your computer screen and tie together project scope, phases, tasks, team members, timeframes and the all-important budget-to-actual comparison – but it can’t overcome inefficient or non-existent management of legal matters.  Only the lawyers can do that.  And, that requires extreme practical acceptance that clients today want excellent lawyers who also are accomplished managers that drive efficient work product.

    Software tools support efficient lawyering, but it is extreme magical thinking to suppose that some push-button silver bullet can convert inefficient work into efficient work.

    One of the most widely read blog post I’ve ever written deals with this very subject: Legal Project Management Tools:  Let Rube Goldberg Rest in Peace.

    But, it is worth a reminder that LPM and its technological support tools are about how legal projects are planned and managed.  What is practiced and delivered will always remain up to the lawyer.  The core functions of being a lawyer and exercising professional acumen can’t be delegated to technology, and that won’t be changed by even the most sophisticated tools, templates and software.  As always, those decisions will be up to you.

    Thanks Pam for a great article on how magical technology won’t replace the lawyer-manager who leads his or her team into action – you have to have the magic in you!

    © 2012, Edge International US, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be copied or reproduced without advance written approval.

    Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips | Permalink | No Comments »
    Client Service: Make it a Program, not Just a Buzzword
    Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

    ♬ we never say no
    satisfaction guaranteed
    superior quality
    we innovate, never imitate
    unrivalled, unparalleled
    at your service
    we aim to please
    we never miss a trick…♬

    Lyrics, music and recorded by CLIEИT.

    Service Bell

    This is another great guest post by Bob Denney.  In this post he is focusing on the importance of client service.  Years ago, Milton Zwicker, a good friend and colleague in Ontario wrote about ‘the client-centered law firm’. It is great to see Bob pick up on this idea and run with it. Accordingly, here is Bob’s post:

    In today’s extremely competitive legal market, many firms talk about the importance of cross-selling – or cross-marketing if you prefer – their clients. The problem is that you must serve the client before you can cross-market the client. Too many firms fail to realize this. As a result, their cross-marketing efforts often fail. The first step in developing additional business with clients is client service. Here’s a brief list of some of the more important points to keep in mind in developing and implementing a successful client service program.

    • The goal should be outstanding client service. “Satisfactory” or “good” isn’t good enough. Many clients can’t evaluate the quality of legal work. Therefore, the level and quality of service is often the only factor that distinguishes one firm from another. (more…)
    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »