Comment: The social contract – what is the law firm but the people?

Comment: The social contract – what is the law firm but the people?

The market for legal services will never be the same again. Mergers, alternative business structures, multi-disciplinary practices, law firm failures, onshoring, offshoring and the continual advance of technology all signpost change, and will continue to drive change in the future. But as we all jostle for market position and attempt to make sense of this ongoing maelstrom, how much thought is being given to the lifeblood of the profession: the lawyers of tomorrow?

Continue reading “Comment: The social contract – what is the law firm but the people?”

Guest blog – Innovation in law: are you one of us?

Debates about innovation in law can be a bit tribal. The Creative Destroyers decry the billable hour. They mock Big Law as a broken model and see law as a dusty rule book in need of big data and a scientific reinvention. Law is vastly complex and inefficient. More traditional folk point to the resilience of law, and law firms. They snigger, not always unfairly, at the self-serving evangelism of the new model insurgents. And they comfort themselves, unwisely I suspect, with any signs that the current crop of innovators are failing. The singularity may not be near, but that does not mean that it is far. Continue reading “Guest blog – Innovation in law: are you one of us?”

Guest blog: Do you heart QualitySolicitors?

Guest blog: Do you heart QualitySolicitors?

I’ve spent the last two days at the QualitySolicitors conference in Manchester. I was invited to chair the opening session of the event and stayed to listen to the rest.

This was on the basis that I would not report on product development that was discussed but is not yet in the public domain, so I can’t tell you everything I heard.

But having done this and had the chance to speak to the chiefs of several QS firms, it may come as a disappointment to the QS knockers out there (and there is no shortage of them) that I sensed the network is heading into a positive new phase. Continue reading “Guest blog: Do you heart QualitySolicitors?”

Guest post: Topline heroin – how global law became addicted to the wrong measure of success

One lens through which to view a large part of the corpus of business and management literature is that of metrics. Simply consider how much of what’s written consists of discussions about what to measure, what to optimize, and how to enhance all those numbers.

So, in retailing, we have such yardsticks as sales per square foot, same-store sales, sales per employee, inventory turn, store traffic, percent average markdown, and so forth. For mobile phone providers it would be customer churn, net customer growth/decline, network reach/coverage and network speed, cost per customer acquisition, and much more. Continue reading “Guest post: Topline heroin – how global law became addicted to the wrong measure of success”

Guest post: ‘Culture’ wins yet another victory over business judgment (or how to actually have a law firm strategy)

Guest post: ‘Culture’ wins yet another victory over business judgment (or how to actually have a law firm strategy)

Here’s Scenario One: you’re in an executive committee or practice group or departmental meeting at your law firm, and the question arises for discussion why one or a handful of your partners are engaging in activities which, from the firm’s overall perspective, are clearly marginal: the activities could be pursuing a particular client or lobbying to hire a lateral or continuing to devote all their energies to growing the marginal practice area. Continue reading “Guest post: ‘Culture’ wins yet another victory over business judgment (or how to actually have a law firm strategy)”

Guest post: Abu Qatada – a victory for pragmatism and the rule of law

Guest post: Abu Qatada – a victory for pragmatism and the rule of law

Only a matter of weeks ago, politicians were seriously discussing the possibility that the UK might need to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights in order to be rid of Abu Qatada. Yet this weekend we saw him board a plane to Jordan – and no human rights treaties were harmed. It’s a triumph for Theresa May, who deserves credit for a significant achievement. Continue reading “Guest post: Abu Qatada – a victory for pragmatism and the rule of law”

Guest post: Forget Dewey – what you need to be assessing on strategy and partner pay

Guest post: Forget Dewey – what you need to be assessing on strategy and partner pay

Law firm managers who are planning large-scale, hubristic expansion-by-acquisition should study the Dewey & LeBoeuf morality play very closely. The rest of us should not. It’s a distraction that diverts attention from what matters closer to home.

Permit me to analogise: those of us who are dealing with the daily stresses and strains of keeping a marriage healthy could, I suppose, closely study the example of Tiger Woods as a way of understanding how marriages fail in a spectacular explosion of adultery. Continue reading “Guest post: Forget Dewey – what you need to be assessing on strategy and partner pay”