♫ Tomorrow’s what we’re on about
Tomorrow’s what we’re on about
It’s up to man to understand
To have success upon this land…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Steel Pulse.
(This is a revised blog post: My apologies to both Steven Matthews and Noric Dilanchian – I inadvertently placed some of Steve’s predictions under Noric’s name. My apologies to both! I have corrected these errors in this version)
Two years ago I posted Tips and Predictions for 2011. Last year I invited colleagues, friends and readers to contribute their tips and predictions for 2012. I had so much fun reading their predictions (and jumping in with a few of my own) that I thought I would repeat the exercise again this year. So without further ado here are the tips and predictions for 2013!
Well – here are my thoughts on 2013 (specific to BC):
- we will see more judges using technology!!! In all 3 courts (appeal, supreme, provincial).
- we will still see very little use of the technology in the courtroom though – just a few true eTrials but they will be the exception.
- as a result of the election in BC, there will be delays in funding and little will get done in terms of new initiatives or projects with government and the Courts.
- as a result, we will see more innovation coming from individuals (judges, court staff, lawyers) – bottom up initiatives rather than top down. The key for leaders will be to let that innovation foster and gather momentum – and not shut it down.
Colin Rule, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Modria Inc., of San Jose, California and the Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution at UMass-Amherst and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School:
Here is my prediction for 2013:
- UNCITRAL will release guidelines for a global ODR system in 2013, and the EU will pass the regulation requiring ODR in all member states by 2015, which will spark a huge upswell in European interest in ODR (“Online Dispute Resolution”).
Robert Denney, the founder of Robert Denney Associates, Inc., of Wayne, Pennsylvania, a firm that has specialized in providing management, marketing and strategic planning expertise to professional firms, companies and non-profit organizations. Rob is also a member of the American Bar Association and also a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management, Bob is a past Director of the Legal Marketing Association and was elected to the LMA’s Hall of Fame.
Bob is famous for his ‘What’s Hot and What’s Not” publications, so it is not surprising that his prediction is a hot one:
- Non-lawyer ownership of or at least investment in U.S. Law firms will become a Red Hot issue. It will eventually be approved but not until 2014 or 2015.
Ross Fishman, the Chief Executive Officer of Fishman Marketing, Chicago, Illinois, a former litigator, marketing director, and marketing partner, Ross has written more than 250 articles and received dozens of marketing awards, including the Legal Marketing Association’s “Best of Show” grand prize five times. A Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, Ross was the very first marketer inducted into the LMA’s Hall of Fame.
Ross is an expert on legal marketing so it isn’t too surprising that his predictions off insight in the future of legal marketing:
- I think 2013 will mark the first major move away from the proprietary website software platforms that law firms have historically used in favor of open-source platforms like WordPress and Drupal.
- When law firms were first getting online in the mid-90s, the earliest sites were handmade from scratch. There was no ready-made software and little precedent. I laid out our first website in 1994 or 1995 when I was Marketing Partner at Coffield Ungaretti & Harris, and I remember trying to figure out what information visitors to a law firm website would want to see, and how to structure the internal organization and navigation for ease of use.
- We got a lot of things right, and an equal number of things wrong. (Remember “Helpful Links” sections?)
- In the mid- and late-90s, some smart IT professionals saw the opportunity and built software companies to develop law firm websites. These created more competitors, and the field is now full of private law firm website developers, each with their own proprietary software. Open-source software like WordPress has become so powerful and easy to use, that it no longer makes sense to get locked into any particular company’s proprietary software.
- We’ve largely stopped working with those outside companies and have built the last couple dozen websites we’ve developed using WordPress. The CMS is simple and powerful and requires very little training. Smaller firms have been increasingly using WordPress, and we are having equal success with 100-lawyer and larger firms.
- The recession’s tight marketing dollars have meant that many law firms haven’t updated their websites recently, and there are countless firms with 3-7 year old websites that are in desperate need of an update, upgrade, or overhaul. As the economy continues gaining steam and more dollars are freed up this next year, I think 2013 will be the year that larger law and other professional-service firms realize the value of open-source platforms and will increasingly use them in their next-generation websites.
- So, with a technologically level playing field, it means that great design and a strong brand will be important. That is, if everyone is using the same technology, the differentiator will have to be the message and how it’s conveyed.
Noric Dilanchian, Managing Partner, DILANCHIAN, Lawyers & Consultants – Intellectual Property & Innovation Professionals, Sydney Australia. Noric is a former president of AIMIA – the Australian national industry association for e-commerce, internet, and interactive media developers. Since 2000 he has served as a member of the Business Law Committee of the Law Society of New South Wales, chairing its Intellectual Property Sub-committee.
Noric’s background in intellectual property and e-commerce highlight his predictions in the area of mobility and the practice of law:
- In 2013 it will be more apparent as to what’s needed to reform on the job training and tools for business lawyers and people in business who do legal or related work. Two decades and more of R&D will jell. More specifically, insights will grow about disparate experiments and ventures for online - practical post-graduation legal courses, template agreements and related documents, and legal Q&A forums. They will accelerate reform of on the job training, whether you include or associate that topic with business and commercial know-how, continuing professional education or, more narrowly, continuing legal education. Critically, understanding will grow about the user interfaces and look and feel helpful for individual or collaborative computing for legal services on networks.
Steve Matthews is the President and Founder of Stem Legal Web Enterprises, a web development, publishing and strategy company for the legal profession in Vancouver, BC. Steve is recognized as one of the leading authorities on search engine optimization (SEO) strategies for lawyers and law firms. Steve has been an editorial board member for the ABA’s Law Practice magazine, co-founded the award-winning group blog Slaw, and is frequently quoted throughout North America on topics and trends related to legal web technology. In 2011, Steve was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management.
Steve’s predictions lie towards the true application of knowledge management…or rather knowledge application..within law firms:
- The multi-device law firm employee. I have little doubt that we will look back on 2013 as the year we mobilized legal information. Firms will bring in more iPads and Android tablets and will work feverishly to make consumable content available to lawyers and employees outside the office. I expect firms to go beyond the provision of basic IT support for tablets, and move into the realm of purchasing and providing dedicated mobile work devices. Implementations will be optimized to limit data exposure, and effectively rebuff the concept of BYOD.
- Why? Because the cost of tablets isn’t all that prohibitive, and because mobile security will be a huge topic of discussion in 2013. The rise of private enterprise apps, and even enterprise app stores, will only push firms to further control the mobile environment they provide.
- Firms know how important local search is and will obviously need to keep on fighting through this. But in 2013, I hope and expect that Google will get its local search services fixed. My prediction is for a universal company dashboard that would centralize control over brand information across all Google services. Many smaller firms and solos are terribly confused by how these services are currently operating, and would be grateful if Google could deliver a clearer picture going forward.
Jordan Furlong, of Ottawa, Ontario is a partner with the global consulting firm Edge International and a senior consultant with legal web development company Stem Legal Web Enterprises. Jordan has been the award-winning editor of three top Canadian legal periodicals: the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s CCCA Magazine, and The Lawyers Weekly newspaper.
Jordan is also an Honourary Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and served as editor of its 2006 Innovaction e-zine on innovation in law practice and is the Past Chair of the College’s InnovAction Awards, which recognize and reward creativity and innovation in legal services delivery. In 2012, I was named one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential Lawyers by Canadian Lawyer magazine.
Jordan’s blog: Law21: Dispatches from a Legal Profession on the Brink, has been named four straight years by the ABA Journal as one of the 100 best law blogs in North America.
Jordan provides us with insights as to what will be happening structurally in the Canadian legal market:
- Two more midsize or large Canadian firms will join global law firm groups, either through merger or Swiss Verein hookup.
- Ontario’s introduction of a Law Practice Program to supplement (and perhaps eventually replace) articling will lead at least two other law societies to commission task forces to consider similar measures in their own jurisdictions.
- The first signs of a serious slowdown in the Canadian economy will mark the beginning of retrenchment efforts by the existing partnerships of midsize and large Canadian firms: fewer associates made partner, more current partners asked to leave.
- Similarly, Canadian firms will accelerate their lateral hiring efforts, seeking quick fixes to revenue slowdowns by acquiring established “free agent” partners — just as this same trend starts to wind down in the US and UK as delivering too few results with too many risks.
- And my long shot: Quality Solicitors will expand its operations from the UK to Canada, offering franchise business support to solo and small-firm lawyers and beginning the transformation of the Canadian consumer law sector.
There you have the first batch of predictions for 2013. Tomorrow we are on about the next batch of predictions!
This entry was posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2012 at 7:06 pm and is filed under Adding Value, Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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