Ahead of the Curve (September - 1)
with ALA's Professional Development Advisory Committee
If you are receiving "Ahead of the Curve" then you are an ALA leader with board, regional, chapter or conference planning responsibilities, or a designated ALA employee. The Professional Development Advisory Committee’s (PDAC) purpose in providing you this communication is to further its goal of periodically sharing topical information regarding the legal industry. Our hope is that one or more of the updates will provide a spark of insight to assist with your work on behalf of ALA as well as within your firm or legal department.
Legal Chiefs Address Law Firms' 'New Normal' at ILTACON
"Law firms are going through a massive shift and, must to adjust their cultures and behaviors and align their products and services with the needs of general counsel". Read more.
Resource: Erin E. Harrison, Legaltech News
"The biggest expense for a water utility is leakage. Water seeps out of the connections and valves consuming all the energy and labor costs along the way until disappearing into the ground. The same can be said for law firms and their clients." Read more.
Resource: BTI Consulting Group
Many Black Lawyers Navigate a Rocky, Lonely Road to Partner
"Many black lawyers navigate a rocky, lonely road to partner." This article discusses some of the internal reasons and pressures from clients on the issue. Read more.
Resource: Elizabeth Olson, New York Times
What are the Right Metrics for Law Firm Success?
"How should law firms be measured, and why is Profit-Per-Partner (PPP) still the standard by which law firms are measured?" Read more.
Resource: Mark Cohen, Bloomberg BNA
Ethics Tip Beware of would-be “Clients” Bearing Bogus Gifts
"Last month’s column, Red Flags and White Whales: Beware of Problem Clients warned about problem clients, who often wind up not paying their legal bills, or costing you more in the long run than you gain in legal fees. This month we undertake a situation that is potentially much worse for the lawyer - the phantom client who by means of a fraudulent check scheme can end up bilking vast sums from the lawyer’s client trust account." Read more.
Resource: Susan Michmerhuizen, American Bar Association
Why Most Organizations Are Not Ready For The Future of Work
Resource: The Future of Work Podcast
Companies re-imagine the annual performance review
"With a who's-who of corporate HR chieftains in the crowd, from Disney to Cigna to Bank of America, a conga line of speakers called for the overthrow of an American workplace institution: the time-tested and usually dreaded annual performance evaluation". Read more.
Resource: Patrick May, San Jose Mercury News Business
Gazing at Nature Makes You More Productive
Does a green microbreak during your workday make a difference in productivity? Read more.
Resource: Nicole Torres, Harvard Business Review
Law Firms’ Grueling Hours Are Turning Defectors into Competitors...
"In this latest flurry of debate about working long hours, some have intimated that overwork is inevitable in highly competitive industries such as law, finance, and high tech. But that’s just not true". Read more.
Resource: Joan C. Williams, Harvard Business Review
Office 'Darwinism': Will Your Company Follow Amazon’s Lead?
The culture of a competitive workplace and the increasing difficulty of attaining a satisfying work-life balance is discussed in this interview with Professor Robert Sutton of Stanford University. Read more.
Resource: Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson, Here & Now
Law Librarians Seeking Business Development Role at Law Firms
Resource: Zach Warren, Legaltech News
Salt Lake City firm Open Legal Services operates as a nonprofit, keeping hourly rates low
"The words nonprofit and law firm don’t usually go together. But Salt Lake City attorneys "Shantelle Argyle and A. Daniel Spencer saw no reason why they shouldn’t. Read more.
Resource: Victor Li, Legal Rebels
Lawyers need to move beyond ‘access to justice’ to close the legal services gap
Resource: Paul Lippe and Patrick Lamb, The New Normal
Tough Talk On Paralegals
Lee Rosen on Law Practicing Marketing, Management and Technology. Read more.
Resource: Lee Rosen, DivorceDiscourse.com
Spate of Succession Plans at Firms Driven by Age, Innovation
".... more than 50 percent of the average firm's client base is originated by attorneys 60 years old or older, making succession planning around client transition equally as important to top-level leadership transition." Read more.
Resource: Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer
The Future of AI and White Collar Automation for Legal Services
Resource: John K. Waters, Legaltech News
9 Tech Startups Disrupting the Legal Industry
"Legal technology may finally be enjoying its moment in the sun. Some observers say that the industry is just at the beginning of the boom and predict that in the next five years, DIY, marketplace economics and process-based tools will force all attorneys to be more accessible and affordable". Read more.
Resource: Jerry Nelson, Tech.co
New Outlook Add-Ins Arrive and More Are on the Way
"Outlook add-ins can be contentious... IT staff despise the resources they demand, but users want the functionality. This article describes several new add-ins, and more to come". Read more.
Resource: Paul Thurrott, Thurrott News & Analysis for Tech Enthusiasts
The Future of Law Firm Communication: Is Email on the Way Out?
"While convenient, email seems to be increasingly a distraction in law firms and most other businesses. Furthermore, email chains about important cases sit in our inboxes next to spam, family interactions, personal information, and more spam. Due to the sheer volume of emails received, lawyers and firm staff often waste time navigating them to find case information. Despite all this, is email really on the way out? If so, what will replace it?" Listen to the Podcast or read more.
Resource: Jared Correia, Legal Talk Network
Sharon Meit Abrahams, EdD - Foley & Lardner LLP
Mark Davey ~ Ricoh USA, Inc.
Anthony Greene ~ Jamison Risk Services
Eric Hightower, CLM, SPHR ~ Davis Agnor Rapaport Skalny
John Jakovenko, CLM, SPHR ~ Freeman Mathis & Gary
William Mech ~ ofPartner Consulting Services
Steven Morris, CLM, SPHR ~ Allen Matkins
Paul Morton ~ Burns & Levinson LLP
Savannah Robinson, MPA ~ Barnes & Thornburg LLP
ALA Liaison to Committee
Susan Hanf ~ ALA Sr. Director, Member Experience