The American Lawyer's Big Law Innovators — The Outside Influencers

The upcoming August edition of The American Lawyer will feature an article on the innovators of Big Law over the past 50 years. Now, you may initially find it to be an oxymoron to place the word "Innovator" in the same sentence as "Big Law", but that's another discussion for another time. What caught my eye was the category of "Outside Influence" and the names and types of companies that were on the list.

The biggest thing that stood out to me was there were two names listed from Pangea3, the Legal Process Outsourcing firm out of New York, Dallas, Mumbai, and Delhi. Although Pangea3 was gobbled up by Thomson Reuters, it still seems to be building momentum in the legal industry as a major alternative to traditional law firms, and its growth over the past three plus years has been very strong.

In addition to the Pangea3 duo, Axiom landed a spot on the Outside Influence list with its 1,000+ person firm with its own twist on how "Big Law" can be conducted during times of flat demand and low traditional law firm revenues.

The late Jerome Rubin, creative mind behind Lexis was also on the list. The whole movement of technology and legal information has probably been one of the greatest influences on the way lawyers conduct business. Of course, it also brought along ideas like billing back clients for the costs… but again, another story for another day.

One of the entries on this list caught me a little off-guard, and at first I thought was a little gratuitous, was the listing of The American Lawyer's Steven Brill, but then I immediately remembered that the whole AmLaw 100 compilation was the (at least in my opinion) impetuous for the rush to become billion dollar, 1,000+ attorney, Profits Per Partner driven law firms. Without this driver, would we even be talking about the Death of Big Law at all??

David Lat from Above the Law is a shoe-in for Outside Influencer. His online tabloid of the folies of lawyers, especially BigLaw lawyers, has been one of the most popular resources during the hard times of the past five years. ATL is the TMZ of BigLaw, and although many lawyers look down their noses at online tabloid, none of these lawyers ever wants to be mentioned on it.

One of the biggest, and maybe most under-rated on the list is Robert Banks Sr. of the American Corporate Counsel Association. Just as Above the Law scares BigLaw lawyers, perhaps the ACC scares them more. With the ACC throwing out creative programs like the ACC Value Challenge, the association has become a valued resource for Corporate Counsel to bounce ideas off of each other, and to compare notes on how they handle the business of dealing with their outside counsel, specifically Big Law firms. Knowledge like this is slowly putting GC's in better positions to negotiate with large firms on better rates, better work, and better results (at least financially speaking.) In a time when GCs are constantly being asked to cut outside legal spend, the ACC platform is one of the most valuable resources they have.

There are more on the list, including Steven Bochco for his show L.A. Law, and I've put out the press release below. I look forward to reading the full article when the August edition of The American Lawyer arrives in my in-box.

The American Lawyer Honors Top Big Law Innovators of Last 50 Years

 NEW YORK – July 30, 2013 – ALM’s The American Lawyer has chosen The Top 50 Innovators in Big Law in the Last 50 Years and details their innovations in its August issue and online at americanlawyer.com. The winners, picked for their contributions in the categories of Big Ideas, Law Firm Values, Outsiders’ Influence, The Work, and Business of Law, will be honored at a reception in New York City on October 10th.

“Big Law is notorious for its hidebound habits, but over the last 50 years a few dozen men and women have had an outsize impact on the profession,” wrote Robin Sparkman, Editor in Chief of The American Lawyer. “Our research and reporting teams spent six months looking for the people whose ideas, policies, and practices have left an indelible mark on the legal industry.”

The innovators are:

Big Ideas

  • Russell Baker, Baker & McKenzie
  • Ralph Baxter, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Jerome Cohen, Coudert Brothers
  • Allen Holmes, Jones Day
  • Wang Junfeng, King & Wood Mallesons
  • Peter Kalis, K&L Gates
  • Young Moo Kim, Kim & Chang
  • W. James MacIntosh, Morgan. Lewis & Bockius
  • Owen Nee Jr., Coudert Brothers
  • Regina Pisa, Goodwin Procter
  • John Quinn, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
  • Ralph Savarese, Howrey
  • Clinton Stevenson, Latham & Watkins

Law Firm Values

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, ABA Commission on Women in the Profession
  • Esther Lardent, Pro Bono Institute
  • Jonathan Lippman, New York State Chief Judge
  • Robert MacCrate, ABA Task Force on Law Schools and The Profession
  • David Morley, Allen & Overy
  • Roderick Palmore, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Thomas Sager, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
  • Howard Westwood, Covington & Burling
  • Keith Wetmore, Morrison & Foerster

Outsiders’ Influence

  • Robert Banks Sr., American Corporate Counsel Association
  • Steven Bochco, L.A. Law
  • Steven Brill, The American Lawyer
  • Mark Chandler, Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Sir David Clementi, The Clementi Report
  • Mark Harris, Axiom
  • Ben Heineman Jr., General Electric Company
  • Sanjay Kamlani, Pangea3
  • David Lat, Above the Law
  • Hugh McLernon, IMF (Australia) Ltd.
  • David Perla, Pangea3
  • Marla Persky, Baxter Healthcare Corporation
  • Jerome Rubin, LexisNexis
  • Amy Schulman, Pfizer Inc.
  • John Walker, IMF (Australia) Ltd.
  • Earle Yaffa, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

The Work

  • Richard Beattie, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
  • Thomas Boggs Jr., Patton Boggs
  • H. Rodgin Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell
  • Kirk Davenport, Latham & Watkins
  • Robert Fiske, Davis Polk & Wardwell
  • Joseph Flom, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
  • Jack Levin, Kirkland & Ellis
  • Martin Lipton, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
  • Harvey Miller, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
  • Charles Ruff, Covington & Burling

Business of Law

  • David Boies, Boies, Schiller & Flexner
  • Andrew Grech, Slater & Gordon
  • Scott Green, Pepper Hamilton
  • Simon Harper, Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Stephen Hopkins, Eversheds
  • Sir Nigel Knowles, DLA Piper
  • Peter Martyr, Norton Rose
  • Diana Newcombe, Eversheds
  • Raymond Niro, Niro, Haller & Niro
  • Larry Sonsini, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
About ALM

ALM is a global leader in specialized business news and information. Trusted reporting delivered through innovative technology is the hallmark of ALM’s award-winning media properties, which include Law.com (www.law.com), The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel, The National Law Journal and The New York Law Journal. Headquartered in New York City with 16 offices worldwide, ALM brands have been serving their markets since 1843. For more information, visit www.alm.com.


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