I am launching this website as part of my next venture to continue to be a catalyst for innovation in law.
I spent the last 25 years leading a great law firm. During that time we did a lot to change the way we served our clients. We opened a Global Operations Center in West Virginia, improving our quality and productivity, while reducing our costs. We changed our talent model, enabling our associates to progress at the pace of their professional growth, and creating new positions in modern legal service. We changed the way fees were structured, basing them more on what we delivered, than on how long it took us to deliver it.
Now I want to broaden my focus. I want to engage with others who are working on change across the spectrum of legal service: other law firms, corporate law departments, new entrants to legal service, and law schools.
I am motivated by three beliefs:
- Law is more important than ever before: clients’ need for legal service is at an all-time high.
- We, collectively, can deliver better legal service: we can meet clients’ needs in ways that are more tailored, more competent, and more reliable, and at fee levels that correspond to the value we deliver.
- We can improve the experience and outcomes for all participants: for the clients, the lawyers, and everyone else in legal service, we can make law a more positive undertaking, and restore a measure of the professionalism that has been lost in recent times.
In my new venture, I plan to engage directly with participants in each of the segments of the legal ecosystem in the following ways:
Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute
I will serve as Chairman of the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute (the “LEI”). This role provides a unique opportunity for me to analyze developments in the market, interact with participants across the legal industry, write a weekly blog on legalexecutiveinstitute.com, do video interviews with leading figures in law, and organize and chair conferences that enable participants to engage in live interaction on the cutting edge issues in law.
The LEI platform will represent a unique resource for the examination of the changes underway in the legal profession, assisting everyone in evaluating the best course to take.
Other Speaking Engagements and Conferences
I look forward to speaking to groups and participating in conferences beyond my role at Thomson Reuters. I genuinely enjoy connecting with people who are interested in legal service, and am eager to share my outlook about where all this is headed, and how each participant can make the most of the opportunities the times present.
I plan to stay closely connected to the world of law firm management. Through the LEI and otherwise I will be in regular communication with law firm leaders.
In addition, I look forward to continuing to speak at law firm partner meetings and to meet with law firm management committees. I find those experiences personally rewarding and informative. I think I can help law firm leaders in their mission to inform their partners about the imperatives for change and the opportunities that innovation offers.
In selected cases, I will take on an advisory role with law firms which are undertaking significant changes to their service delivery or business models.
Corporate Legal Departments
The needs of the corporate clients constitute the most fundamental driver of the change in legal service that is underway. Yet it is increasingly clear that there is more corporate counsel can do to drive the innovation that they need. In particular, I believe they can do more to influence their outside law firms to address changes in service delivery models, which are at the heart of current inefficiency and where the promise of improvement lies.
I plan to interact directly with general counsel and other corporate law department leaders on these issues, both through corporate counsel associations, and individually. As with law firms, I look forward to the opportunity to speak to corporate law departments and meet with their leadership teams to help them with their strategies, particularly their relationships with outside counsel.
Much of the creativity and energy for change will come from “new entrants” to law, businesses that are being formed to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the current marketplace. I plan to participate as actively with new entrants as I can.
As with law firms and law departments, I plan to engage directly. I have joined the board of directors of Lex Machina and the advisory board of Ravel Law. I work closely with CodeX, the Stanford Center of Legal Informatics, which provides unique exposure to legal tech start ups. I will pursue other opportunities to engage with this new and vital dimension of the legal service market.
I will focus particularly on how new entrants can engineer the design and technology of their products and services to improve legal service, and how they can overcome the impediments to adoption they will encounter in the marketplace.
Law schools, of course, will educate the lawyers and other legal professionals for future generations. I plan to work closely with law schools, particularly Stanford, Harvard, and Georgetown, in their efforts to understand the changes that are underway and the implications of those changes for legal education. I also hope to tap into law schools’ capacity for research and experimentation to help all of us understand the issues and solutions better.
I plan to use the web site to coordinate interaction among these activities and to share information with others with whom I interact.
I will write regularly for the site, both postings from the LEI and other writings. I will also include writings by others that I think help illuminate the issues.
I will post video interviews on the site of thought leaders in the law. In these short interviews I hope to provide a glimpse into the personalities and ideas of people who are influencing the pace of change.
Finally, I will maintain a calendar of public events that I think are of interest, including ones at which I will be speaking or participating.
I welcome reactions to my new venture, the web site, and to the commentary I will be posting. We are all in this together.