Hats off to the folks over at Law Shucks for coming up with a brilliant, yet very simple way of tracking those lateral partner moves between big law firms.

With the Lateral Tracker, people within the big law firms who are “in the know” when attorneys jump ship from one firm to another have a chance to update the Lateral Tracker in order to let everyone know. In reward, the person submitting the information gets a chance to win an iPhone 3GS (and, probably a 2-year commitment to AT&T… so, it’s a win-lose deal.) This is the sort of crowdsourcing exercise that is perfect for this type of information.
In the old days before this Lateral Tracker, we used to have to wait until a press release went out announcing that Lindsey McDonald, former Partner with Wolfram & Hart, has now joined the Denny Crane Law Firm in Boston. With tips from people within the law firms, we can now know that McDonald is leaving one firm and joining another before he actually makes his trip from Los Angeles to Boston. In an environment when “first to blog” is the new ‘breaking news’, this type of tracker can be a great resource in tracking movement between firms.
There are probably lots of other crowdsourcing information that could be gathered on big law firms. For example, how about setting something up to list the names and contact information for all of the Marketing Department personnel within big firms? Most firms do not list the flunkies administrative people in their directories, but sometimes you really want to know who is doing the business development, or marketing, or knowledge management, or research work in a firm but don’t want to have to try to Google that information and hope that you find it.
I’m very impressed that Law Shucks has made an effort to create an ongoing crowdsourcing tool and hope that it turns out to be a great resource for all of us.
  • I think that Roll on Friday has been doing this for junior lawyer salaries in the UK. Salary and perk information can be gathered effectively via crowdsourcing, but the data must be validated in some way.

  • That's something I hadn't seen before. Here's a link to the Roll on Friday Junior Lawyer Salary Tracker.
    Granted that the data should be validated in some way, but I think that Law Shucks and Above the Law have shown that getting something out there sometimes prompts the firms to actually respond (the 'apologize rather than ask permission' approach.) If the information is coming from inside the firms, then that might be enough reason to post the data and let the firm come back and explain if it is not correct.
    Thanks for the Roll on Friday info!

  • The argument from the crowdsourcing crowd (if you will) is that the information effectively gets validated through the "wisdom of crowds". In other words, with enough contributors, the correct answer or information will be produced. I actually just wrote a post about this — there are a couple of good examples of crowdsourcing successes at http://skillocracy.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/2009%E2%80%99s-most-successful-crowdsourcing-projects/
    Interesting application of crowdsourcing to law!