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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Marketing’

Swallowing the Double-Edged Sword

Access to justice, according to some definitions, includes a public that has some legal literacy – people who are aware of their rights and obligations under the law.

Technology helps promote a form of legal literacy, but some lawyers say it’s a double-edged sword – clients are more willing than ever to participate in the process, says one contributor to the CBA Legal Futures consultation, but they “lack the practical understanding of the limitations of the judicial system to fully appreciate risk.”

Just as some medical patients will research online and then ask their family physician to confirm Dr. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

People You Meet on Planes

While travelling home from Seattle last week after the AALL conference, which Connie, Kim and I blogged about here and here and here and here, I had an interesting seat mate. More than one interesting person actually. My philosophy is that if you are stuck on a plane and there is someone conversationally inclined, it is a good idea to put down your novel and learn. Every conversation is an opportunity to learn something, whether it is with a student travelling for the first time, someone on the way to visit a grandchild, or someone travelling on a business . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Marketing

Great Communicators

Lawyers tend to think of themselves as strong communicators, but they don’t always get their message across to clients.

It doesn’t help that clients aren’t always clear about what they want from lawyers.

This was evident at the mid-winter meeting of the CBA Council, when the Legal Futures Initiative took advantage of the gathering of lawyers from across the country, representing most sizes and types of practice, to find out what lawyers think clients want.

Presented with results from the Initiative’s own survey of client expectations, some lawyers present were a bit taken aback by the idea that clients wanted . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Pre-Emptive Lawyering: What’s the Incentive?

Many lawyers entered the profession because of a desire to do good, to help people, to support the rule of law. That’s their motivation.

Once in the workplace, though, their primary incentive is the need to make a living. That space between motive and incentive can create some cognitive dissonance for those lawyers who can’t take on the cases they’d like to tackle, particularly if it’s a question of the would-be client’s inability to pay; or the fear that the return would not justify the investment of the lawyer’s time.

Richard Susskind, in a paper prepared for the CBA’s Legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Small Business Squeeze

Technology is often cited as the game-changing factor in the future of the legal profession. There’s an endless parade of new devices, plus software is being developed that can do some of the work lawyers used to do. Legal entrepreneurs harness the power of the cloud to power new business models.

What it’s doing to the legal profession is just one side of the equation. For clients – actual and potential – rapidly changing technology can both expand their reach to consumers, and be a legal minefield.

People who conduct any part of their business over the internet, for example, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Gunnercooke – a Truly Innovative UK Law Firm

There are many within the legal community who scoff at Twitter saying that “it’s as a useless piece of fluff”. However for those interested in learning about legal innovation and connecting with legal innovators around the globe, Twitter is indispensible. Everything that is happening globally in terms of legal transformation is shared on Twitter. Today I connected with another innovative law firm from the UK – gunnercooke.

Former general counsel Sarah Goulbourne got together over coffee with corporate lawyer Darryl Cooke in mid-2010 to chat about how a different legal model would have huge competitive advantage over existing . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Future Is Now

With today’s release of The Future of Legal Services in Canada: Trends and Issues, the consultation phase of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative begins.

Trends and Issues puts data and insight from original research commissioned by the CBA into a single document meant to provide an overview of major challenges facing the profession. The report – and the questions it raises – form a starting point for discussions and further consultations with stakeholders in the legal services industry.

We’ve been showing you bits of those papers here, and on the interim Futures website, for the last seven weeks. If . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

What Have You Done for the Client Lately?

Save the cheerleader, save the world. That was the tagline for the popular first season of the TV show Heroes several years ago – the cheerleader was the key to the mystery.

In terms of the legal industry, expert Richard Susskind suggests that kind of causal relationship might be stated as “change the incentives, change the behaviour” – incentives are the key to creating a profession that can flourish into the next decade and beyond.

In a paper prepared for the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative, Susskind notes six key issues facing the legal industry, many of them also noted by . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Come on In, the Water’s Fine

Is it the future if it’s already here?

The Canadian Bar Association launched its Futures initiative with a view to helping legal practitioners best position themselves to face the challenges ahead, but it also took a look at the legal service providers who have already taken the plunge.

The Futures research has shown that there is no lack of ideas about how to face the future of the legal system, but none of them present a clear, obvious option. Any of them, or any combination of them, could work. Or maybe there’s another silver bullet out there, one creative solution . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Community – It’s Where You Grow

They say it takes a community to raise a child – to watch out for it, to teach and shape him or her, and to give wise counsel.

Could it be that a community is also what it takes to put the legal profession in a position to flourish?

Slaw.ca founder Simon Fodden, in a background paper prepared for the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, suggests that the lack of a communal sensibility could be one of the reasons the profession is such a slow-turning ship.

That lack is both top-down and bottom-up. Inertia is found at the top in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Better [And/or] Faster [And/or] Cheaper

Western Union. IBM. Kodak. All are examples of well-established, successful businesses that failed to seize perfect opportunities to evolve to meet changing market conditions and paid the price. How much bigger would Western Union have been if it had bought the patent for the telephone when Alexander Graham Bell offered it? IBM’s not a small fish, but think of where it might have gone if its business modelling hadn’t suggested that carbon paper was a better bet than xerography. As for Kodak, the firm focused on film instead of the digital camera – on which it held the first patent. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Six Buzzwords in Search of a Context

Globalization. Technology. Economy. Unbundling. Alternative billing. Offshoring.

A CBA-commissioned survey of the state of the research into the future of the legal profession suggests that while these words come up again and again in the thousands of pages of text devoted to the subject, that is where it ends. While there is a near-consensus on the forces driving change, and how law firms might adapt to the new normal this change will bring, there are few recipes showing how best to implement the ideas, and fewer cases still of them actually being implemented.

The American Bar Association held its first . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management