The end of the year can be busy with finishing last-minute tasks, plowing through expense reports, a parade (bar crawl?) of holiday parties, and all that gift shopping. Here’s what you might have missed.
I really want to call this something, anything, other than “disruption,” and if this sentence is still here, I have not found a suitable replacement. Taking suggestions.
The big story comes from Bob Goodman and Josh Harder of Bessemer Venture Partners: Four Areas of Legal Ripe for Disruption by Smart Startups, which got picked up by Hacker News. I highly suggest you read the comments. There are some interesting views and details on eDiscovery, process, and the legal profession.
Have you heard of Bestlaw? I wrote about Bestlaw in October, intrigued that a 3L took it upon himself to enhance everyone’s favorite legal research tool, Westlaw. I asked if he knew anyone willing to write about their experience using Bestlaw, and sure enough, he did. Tim Hwang, an attorney, explains how Bestlaw enhances Westlaw. A favorite quote of mine:
This is a two-sided problem, requiring a two-sided solution. As educators of the law, I think there is much to be said for pushing students to think of their tools as something that can and should be built better, rather than a fixed reality that one must bend to. Without such a norm, we create a generation of lawyers that never demand for anything better.
I’m very curious to see how the legal education space, technology, and the four areas ripe for disruption mix, merge, and agitate each other.
Technology and AmLaw 100
Most of the legal technology talk is focused on solo and small firms. Understandably so, as technology helps them better compete, if not out-compete, larger firms. Cloud-based applications help them better manage their practices, from client intake to billing and financial monitoring to document management and communications. Law, as a whole, is undergoing a sea of change, however, and technology is having an impact at larger firms, too.
Sheppard Mullin is one such example. They’re an AmLaw 100 firm, spread out across the globe. The needed a better way to collaborate, and found it in the cloud-based application HighQ. Just like solo and small firms lawyers, big law firm lawyers are looking for more efficient ways to communicate, manage cases, and deliver quality service to clients. Sheppard Mullin got an unexpected benefit, too.
Law Firm Finances
There are three notable book excerpts that will help you get a handle on your law firm finances:
- What is, and is Not, an Alternative Fee Arrangement
- How to Predict and Set Fees
- The Financial Reports you Need
Using them as guideposts, you can figure out what, if any, alternative fees will work for your practice, how to predict and set them, and learn how to track them so your firm not only remains financially healthy, but grows, too.