Overview: Facing fear

Overview: Facing fear

‘When you’ve got your mouth wrapped around the firehose, it becomes really hard to step back and design better ways of doing things,’ comments Checkout.com general counsel (GC) and chief operating officer Joshua Kaplan. ‘But there are times when you just have to force it to happen.’

A slightly mangled metaphor, but time-pressed GCs get the point. This encapsulates the approach an increasing – but still select – group of GCs are taking. The GC as a force for change is a widely discussed but rarely dissected topic: the legal industry waxes lyrical about its desire to do things differently in areas such as diversity and inclusion, mental health, billing and alternative ways of delivering legal services, but the progress of such initiatives are often difficult to track. Continue reading “Overview: Facing fear”

Comment: Remembering Mr Disruption – How Clayton Christensen became the legal industry’s North Star

Comment: Remembering Mr Disruption – How Clayton Christensen became the legal industry’s North Star

Barely into 2020 and news came that probably the most influential business thinker of the last 20 years had passed away. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who died on 23 January at the age of 67, entered the business world and then popular culture with his concept of ‘disruptive innovation’, which was first outlined in 1995. The model came to wider prominence in the 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma and was to grow in stature along with the rise of the US buccaneering technology giants through the 2000s.

As a study of how small upstarts can upend and ultimately crush huge, well-run industry leaders, the book’s ideas spoke to a globalising world economy in which technology and new operating models made it easier for apparently-unrelated industries to collide. Continue reading “Comment: Remembering Mr Disruption – How Clayton Christensen became the legal industry’s North Star”

The vision thing – Sizing up the big issues set to shape law through the 2020s

The vision thing – Sizing up the big issues set to shape law through the 2020s

The last decade emerged with the shockwaves of the banking crisis still making themselves felt on the profession. Having just made a series of job cuts in major markets the like of which had never been seen in the legal industry, the mood was infused by uncertainty, the brutal realities of austerity and the sudden emergence of more demanding clients.

There was little time for a serious debate about how the profession would evolve through the 2010s, a decade that went on to rob London’s legal elite of its reputation for causal dominance. It was also a period that attracted forecasts of dramatic change and modernisation in law that continually fell short of reality, despite the introduction of the Legal Services Act. Continue reading “The vision thing – Sizing up the big issues set to shape law through the 2020s”

Remembering Mr Disruption – The innovator’s legacy for the profession

Remembering Mr Disruption – The innovator’s legacy for the profession

Barely into 2020 and news came that probably the most influential business thinker of the last 20 years had passed away. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who died on 23 January at the age of 67, entered the business world and then popular culture with his concept of ‘disruptive innovation’, which was first outlined in 1995. The model came to wider prominence in the 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma and was to grow in stature along with the rise of the US buccaneering technology giants through the 2000s.

As a study of how small upstarts can upend and ultimately crush huge, well-run industry leaders, the book’s ideas spoke to a globalising world economy in which technology and new operating models made it easier for apparently-unrelated industries to collide. Continue reading “Remembering Mr Disruption – The innovator’s legacy for the profession”

Legal secretaries and support staff most at risk as industry loses up to 35,000 jobs by 2027

Legal secretaries and support staff most at risk as industry loses up to 35,000 jobs by 2027

Legal secretaries and support staff will be the most affected by a decline in legal sector jobs in the next decade as the sector evolves and with increasing adoption of technology, according to a report commissioned by the Law Society.

Based on employment data gathered by the Institute for Employment Studies, the report estimates the UK legal sector will shed 13,000 jobs by 2027, a 4% drop on the 321,000 employed in 2017 and down from the pre-economic crisis peak of 345,000 in 2009. The most extreme prediction puts a further 22,000 jobs at risk if technology brings radical change to the workforce. Continue reading “Legal secretaries and support staff most at risk as industry loses up to 35,000 jobs by 2027”

Foreign giants combine to enter UK training market as radical education shake-up looms

Foreign giants combine to enter UK training market as radical education shake-up looms

Australia’s leading legal training outfit is to team up with a major US player to enter the UK market ahead of a radical but controversial shake-up of the framework for training solicitors in England and Wales. The College of Legal Practice has today (27 November) launched as a new entrant to the vocational training sector to build courses geared to the incoming Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), the biggest overhaul in the UK’s legal educational regime for a generation.

The College – a wholly-owned subsidiary of The College of Law Australia and New Zealand – will partner with US education provider BARBRI on the initiative, an attempt to challenge the effective duopoly of solicitor training in England and Wales. The move is touted as harnessing a more dynamic approach to training under the new regime, which abolishes the requirement for two-stage vocational training to usher in more flexible routes to qualification. Continue reading “Foreign giants combine to enter UK training market as radical education shake-up looms”

‘Kirkland is a raw, Darwinian force’ – LB’s take on the pre-Brexit City law market

‘Kirkland is a raw, Darwinian force’ – LB’s take on the pre-Brexit City law market

On occasion, they let the head of Legal Business take a break from the glamorous job of proofing features to go meet and greet. One such occasion saw me last month pop along to a major UK firm’s partnership conference to provide the LB perspective on the funny old game we call law.

Below is an edited version of my notes, jotted down to help organise my thoughts in response to the outline questions ahead of the event. Obviously, I wasn’t reading my notes during a two-way discussion, so I often rambled on about other stuff – I vaguely recall a monologue about the ‘Napoleon phase’ of managing partners that go on too long before going crazy. But for LB readers, these notes represent a decent summary of our current view of the industry at a particularly turbulent moment. I’ve removed all identifying references to the firm generous enough to host me. Continue reading “‘Kirkland is a raw, Darwinian force’ – LB’s take on the pre-Brexit City law market”

‘An incredible opportunity’: DWF flexes New Law arm with BT managed services contract

‘An incredible opportunity’: DWF flexes New Law arm with BT managed services contract

DWF has landed its first major post-IPO client win after securing a five-year managed legal services mandate for BT’s insurance and real estate work.

Up to 40 lawyers from BT’s in-house legal team of nearly 400 staff could transfer from BT to DWF by the end of this year as part of the deal, which saw DWF chosen ahead of 25 other providers following a year-long process. Continue reading “‘An incredible opportunity’: DWF flexes New Law arm with BT managed services contract”

NRF hires the mind behind Barclays radical panel shake-up to launch legal ops consulting arm

NRF hires the mind behind Barclays radical panel shake-up to launch legal ops consulting arm

Norton Rose Fulbright (NRF) is making an ‘offensive move’ against the Big Four on legal operations consulting with the hire of the well-regarded former Barclays’ head of external engagement, Stéphanie Hamon (pictured).

The firm announced today (9 July) that Hamon, who quit the bank earlier this year, will join as a fee-earner in August to head the new practice and help ‘in-house departments function like a business’. Continue reading “NRF hires the mind behind Barclays radical panel shake-up to launch legal ops consulting arm”