via Maya Hsu

My former colleague, Richard Hsu, is at it again. You may remember Richard, and his talented daughter, Maya, from my posts about his One Page Blog, and HsuTube blogs, and the really interesting videos he and Maya produced. I talked with Richard this week and caught up on what he’s up to these days. His new site, Hsu Untied, is Richard’s dive into the audio medium where he records podcasts of lawyers and special guests about their hobbies outside of their daily legal grind. Although Maya is now almost 16 and no longer interested in helping her Dad make topics like “Assignment in a Change Control” actually interesting, she did produce the artwork for the logo on the new site.

Hsu Untied gives Richard a chance to sit down and talk with interesting people about their interesting hobbies. In some cases, the hobbies are now their full-time jobs. When I was talking to Richard, I could really hear the enthusiasm in his voice of how much he enjoyed this new endeavor. For those of us that blog, or podcast, or other types of social media productions, we don’t do it for the fame, or the money, or the business it drives to our ‘real jobs,’ we do it because it is a lot of fun.

For Richard, he told me that he has always wanted “to be an interviewer like Charlie Rose or a Terry Gross” and this allows him to do so, as he calls it, “on a micro scale.” Currently he has around 36 podcasts up and running on his site, but has almost twice that many recorded and ready for production. Because he’s interviewing based on outside interests, there’s no rush for the recordings to go out, so he compiling and releasing them over time.

When he started out, Richard thought he’d be lucky to interview a handful of people. As of this week, however, he is approaching his 100th interview, and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down. In fact, while talking with him, I immediately thought of a good friend of mine that he should interview, and I have since connected them for a future interview. Richard also mentioned that he gets a few attorneys to contact him directly for interviews, but that his librarian in his office keeps him informed of potential interviewees. Once again, what would lawyers do without a good librarian to keep them up to speed??

So far, Richard has covered a wide range of hobbies including skydiving, mountain climbing, oil painting, magic, astronomy, opera singing, winemaking, boxing, chess and ballet and others. In addition, he has interviewed some Special Guests who left the legal profession to become things like a best-selling author, Editor of the NYTimes Crossword Puzzles, the drummer for Train, and a Professional Poker Player. That’s a pretty good list of very interesting people, and there are so many more lined up in the future.

I asked Richard how long he thought he would keep doing these interviews, and he said that he plans to keep doing it as long as he’s having fun. Well… let’s hope he continues to have fun for a long time.

Image [cc] Moyan Brenn

Three posts recently caught my eye. One was on the imminent demise of BigLaw. The other was on how small firms are about to have their day. In the third one Thomas Sager, the GC for Dupont takes GCs to task for not pushing hard for change from outside counsel. In his words, “Until that happens, I don’t know how you are going to beat this.”

Right … on all accounts?

The impending doom and demise of BigLaw is getting to be a very old story. Old enough, we should all be asking; So when is this actually going to happen?

The rise of small law post brought back memories. In my bar association days I used to bring up this topic. Although I didn’t predict any rise. Instead I would suggest to small firm  lawyers they have an advantage over large firms when it comes to adopting change. They don’t have to form a 20 member task force to study an issue for 18 months, then make a recommendation that is too late and going to be ignored. However, the reality of small firms is that they are also owned by lawyers. And hence, they have no interest in change. They “just want to practice law.”

The article on Sager actually hit a note with me. I fully agree that clients are not really pushing firms to change. They are pushing instead for discounts. Discounts aren’t really a change driver.What sort of change do discounts motivate with outside counsel? I actually asked this question to an audience of in-house counsel in a presentation recently. After thinking about it, most people there shrugged their shoulders and said “not much.” One finally raised her hand and said “It motivates firms to raise their rates.” She may be right. But the bottom line is discounts do not drive changes in the way legal services are delivered.

So adding these three thoughts together, lead to one of my infamous epiphanies. My mind drifted to patent litigation, as it often does. What will drive change in this type of service? Other than some incremental, marginal changes, to really change this practice the courts would have to change the way patent cases are litigated. Chance of this happening: Approaching Zero. What about deal work? Somehow we would have to restructure due diligence, negotiation and documentation for all deals. Right.

This all brings Jeff Carr’s comment to my recent post to mind about “complexifying” legal services. Most legal services are built on known models – which are complex. A number of years back an attempt was made to simplify litigation using arbitration. This just created a new subset of complexity. Even at the low end of the litigation market – try getting a divorce. Unless it’s uncontested, you will enjoy the complexified experience of the US court system.

So what’s my point? BigLaw may suffer on the edges (ala Patton Boggs), but clients still need their services. Small Law can’t or won’t step into the breach (except in certain circumstances). And LPO’s will continue to nibble at the edges, but are not apparently taking away large portions of legal work from large firms. So the Big Disruption seems unlikely any time soon.

I think Sager is right. But I am also bearish on the idea of clients embracing change at that level. That side of the market is just now fully embracing e-billing. This might give them better data, but it doesn’t really change their operations. Maybe if we see in-house legal teams dramatically change in structure that will be the sign that Armageddon is upon us. But I will point out (again) these teams are made up of lawyers. I suppose they have more immediate pressures to save money, but I’m not seeing the kind of direct pressure Sager notes bearing down on them to actually change.

Of course I could be wrong. Or maybe I am just impatient.

Image [cc] schoeband

Recently I participated in a think-tank discussion about how the law firm business model is broken. I kept quiet for the first part of the discussion (for those who know me, this was not easy). People in the room attacked most aspects of how law firms are run, which is popular and fun these days. Truth be told – I partake in it as well on this blog. But at a point I couldn’t hold it in any longer and blurted out: The business model is not broken.

Everyone turned and gave me the ‘who farted’ look (HT to Lincoln Mead for that descriptive phrase).

Which brings us to the question: What is the law firm business model? As I see it, it’s a
professional services firm in a partnership (or partnership-like) model where the owners actively participate in the delivery of services. Law firms sell the time and expertise of their people at a profit. Firms utilize various pricing approaches, more heavily focused on a time and material approach (a.k.a. the billable hour).

So in the conversation, I put forth the statement: What is broken about that?

One example thrown out was how the billable hour was broken since it motivates bad behavior. As in it motivates lawyers to spend excessive time performing various tasks.

My counter: the billable hour motivates hard work. What is wrong with that? Last time I checked, most ‘business models’ reward hard work, whether it’s spending extra time working or driving more value through creativity.

I suggest the billable hour is not a bad or broken aspect of the business model. But there is something missing: Leadership and Management. By this I mean that firm management has not done a good job of setting expectations around how hours can be accumulated. At the truck assembly plant, workers can increase their comp by taking extra shifts. However they are not the ones deciding how much effort they can apply to each task. If they take twice as along to install a wheel, instead of getting twice as much work credit, they probably get a reprimand since they are slowing down the assembly line.

Law firms need to adopt such an oversight function into their processes and practices. Many firms are pursuing project management as a means to accomplish this.

The point here is that although law firms are under increasing pressure to lower the cost of delivering their services, the basic business model is fine. What is needed is adoption of more business-like practices within that model. In the 70’s and 80’s the business model of American car manufacturers was not ‘broken.’ Instead they needed to adapt the practices and process to an increasingly competitive market. They installed automated assembly equipment to cut their cost of producing cars. They did not change their basic business model. They are all still corporations, designing, building and selling automobiles.

I’m not sure exactly what type of business model law firms would adopt if the current one is broken. Maybe we should set up a dealership network and offer incentives at the end of the year to clear inventory. Or not.

The model is not broken. Firms just need to evolve into a mode where they continually adapt to a changing market.

And if you are wondering; No – I did not break wind.

from Susan Hackett‘s comment on yesterday’s post.

Image [CC] – Matthias Weinberger

I was chatting yesterday with a great guy who’s been in-house as a GC for most of his professional life, and has recently affiliated with a law firm. He loves this firm and he loves the people he works with, but his one frustration is the slow pace of decision-making/change due to the business model for operations in the firm – even in a firm that is as progressive as the one he’s joined up with. Moving anything through a large firm partnership today is glacial, it’s inefficient, and the process is overwhelmed by the partnership’s inability to nimbly execute (think: turning an oil tanker in a bathtub).

So my point is that even if the best partners in the greatest firms have embraced super-valuable ideas to pursue transformative business strategy, their partnership model will continue to throw up operational barriers to their ability to implement change.

As Jordan notes, in larger firms, the partnership model doesn’t motivate behaviors as it might have been envisioned to do in a smaller firm environment. Instead, it creates a super-class of owners whose sole common ground is the maintenance of the status quo and rewarding short term financial returns. They hold the power to make decisions for the whole, but they don’t operate in the interests of the whole – whether the whole is defined as the entity’s current sustainability and future prospects or the long-term development and interests of the majority of firm workers.

I don’t know if this is a result of the law firm partnership business model run amok in larger firms, or just (as my Grandma used to say) “Plain Ol’ Greed” too long rewarded. But the fact is that partnership models in large firms punish and frustrate the efforts of strong leaders to execute better business decisions for the firm’s long-term health. And that includes better decisions about hiring, training, cultivating rising talent, and compensation: all based on value to the firm and to clients, and connecting performance to business goals.

Large firm partnership models allow for “super minority” packs of powerful, self-interested owners to hold captive the larger interests of firm and its future constituents. I live and work in the Washington, DC area – there’s an excellent example of such irrational dysfunction under a dome just a hop and a skip down the road from my office.

In the grand tradition of bad prison movie “wisdom”, I’m walking confidently into the yard and picking a fight with the biggest meanest gang I see, in this case, Toby, Jordan, and Susan.

With all due respect, you are all missing the point.  The problem is not what you call non-partners, or how you recruit them, or train them, or whether they exist at all.  The problem is the partnership itself.

I attended a conference last year in which a panel was discussing how they would design a firm if they were starting from scratch today.  Over an hour into the conversation someone asked, “What about a Limited Liability Partnership of owners?”  Two of the three panelists were partners in their firms, but when everyone was done laughing, they all agreed that partnership is a terrible business model and no one would build a firm that way today if given the choice.

Look at the new Alternative Business Structures in the UK and Australia, that allow firms to pursue outside investors and allow non-attorneys to be owners.  Admittedly, I haven’t been following too closely, but I haven’t heard of any investors clamoring to stick their money in traditional LLP law firms. If you look at new firms, and non-firms providing legal services, that are nipping at the heels of BigLaw, how many of them have a partnership structure? Why would they? How much time does Axiom spend trying to figure out what to call their non-partner-track attorneys?

Maybe the reason we are struggling to define non-partners, is because Partnership itself is limiting way beyond just liability.

OK. I’m ready to take my beating now…

Image [cc] Grand Canyon NPS

My posts have subsided a bit lately as I felt an echo chamber growing and started questioning a lot of stuff I was reading as either echoes or reiterations of prior statements. Some of these echoes are new angles on old subjects, but they merely restate the basic premise: BigLaw is broken and doomed. I feel lately, the echos are drowning out critical thinking.

And now I shall unfairly pick on my good friend Jordan Furlong.*

His recent post on “The decline of the associate and the rise of the employee lawyer” struck a nerve with me. It started with this phrase:

We’re now on the verge of entire associate classes whose only purpose and value is to generate leveraged work. They are not meant to be future partners: they are temporary employees meant to sustain the practices of current partners for as long as those partners need them.

The unstated presumption here is that the proper purpose of an associate class is being on a path to partnership. From my point of view the presumption that all workers should be on a path to ownership is nuts. Which is not to say that generating profit is the workers’ “only purpose”. Quite the contrary, I think their purpose should be providing value to clients. But that effort needs to be profitable or a firm will soon go out of business.

What is wrong with hiring talented lawyers to be valued, potentially long-term employees and not future owners? True – firms need to nurture future owners, but doing it under a false pretense that every associate could or should some day be an owner is part of the problem. The history of this approach has shown that not many make it to that level. And it appears that even fewer may make it in the future. But is that bad?

I don’t think so. With any business, some talent is suited for working and some is suited for business development. Do we pick at clients for hiring in-house lawyers as employees who are “generating leveraged work?” I think not. I recently heard about one BigLaw firm that created a non-partner track for associates, thinking they would have to go outside to fill this track. So far they have not. What this tells me is that many associates “just want to practice law” and not be under pressure to become an owner. This up-or-out pressure turns a lot of excellent lawyers out or away from law firms. Why can’t a talented lawyer become a world expert on a legal subject without aspiring to be an owner?

Another echo chamber comment I read recently had to do with how bad the billable hour is – since it encourages associates to bill time. Say what? Last time I checked, most employers encourage their workers to … work. And the more they work, the better the employer likes it. Some employers even pay bonuses for putting in extra effort. It’s not the billable hour, but instead the lack of management oversight reigning in effort that doesn’t deliver value to clients that is the problem.  Bashing BigLaw for rewarding extra effort seems misplaced to me. But it is very easy to do. I think it is more appropriate to bash BigLaw for rewarding poor effort. If associates are bringing value with every hour they work – I don’t see a problem in rewarding that effort.

And now back to the Echo …

* We have a history of trading barbs.

It has been said that those who can’t do teach and those who can’t teach criticize.  I have always aspired to be a literary critic and Mitchell Kowalski has finally given me that opportunity in Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century. To my great adolescent joy, there is much to criticize in this book; from the title before the colon, which I feel promises something very different than the book delivers (though the title after the colon is spot on); to the multi-faceted and yet, somehow still stubbornly two dimensional characters; to the long monologue of new-wave legal philosophy punctuated by descriptions of lunch utensil management. However, these criticisms tell you infinitely more about my literary snobbery than they do about the value of this remarkable little book. Kowalski may not have delivered unto the legal world a literary masterpiece, but he has given us something much more valuable and useful, a destination. 

The book presents Bowen, Fong, & Chandri (BFC), a new kind of law firm, through the eyes of three people with three very different perspectives: Maria, General Counsel of a large corporation evaluating outside counsel; Mark, a new lateral attorney going through the BFC onboarding process; and Kim, a new member of the BFC independent Board of Directors attending her first meeting. The only character in all three parts of the book is Sylvester Bowen, CEO of BFC. Bowen is Kowalski’s version of Howard Roark, an idealist fighting against tradition and conformity. Unlike Roark, Bowen is remarkably successful in his quest and has managed to build a firm that any of us who struggle with the conservative and backward-looking nature of law firms would jump at the chance to work for. BFC is what Google would be if they practiced law. In fact, BFC is actually the main character in the book. Bowen is merely there to give the firm a face and a voice.

Primarily through Bowen’s philosophizing, we learn all about BFC’s unique approach to practicing law.  They don’t hire students or junior attorneys. They don’t have Partners. They don’t bill by the hour. They use Project Management extensively. They evaluate and compensate attorneys based on how they contribute to Knowledge Management. They run their own LPO out of India. Most employees work from an open and modern satellite office in a converted warehouse outside of the city center, while their smaller office downtown consists of conference rooms and temporary hoteling spaces. They use SaaS solutions exclusively. They provide only temporary and emergency technology, otherwise attorneys are given an allowance to purchase their own. They have no IT staff. Each of these points, and many more, are explained and justified throughout the book in a style that is emphatic, but never quite crosses the line into preachy.

I suspect that anyone who has been paying attention to the trials and tribulations of the legal services business over the last few years, on this blog and elsewhere, will find very few unfamiliar ideas in this book. But Kowalski has managed to do something that I haven’t seen anywhere else.  He has put all of the pieces together in a way that creates a convincing and compelling picture of what a law firm could be.

There’s a joke about a tourist in Ireland asking directions from a local farmer.  The farmer’s response is “Well, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here.” I’m afraid that Avoiding Extinction will do little to help existing BigLaw firms avoid extinction. The amount of change required to morph a typical BigLaw firm into BFC is probably beyond the capacity of any BigLaw firm to actually change. But Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century provides a possible destination for any firms willing to undertake the difficult journey, or more likely, for any new firm rising from the ashes of those that fail along the way.

(This is part 4 of a 4 part series. You can download the entire series below.)

Just as the NCQA established standards and elements for evaluating and regulating PCMH applicants, any number of alphabet soup entities could fulfill the same type of role in legal: the ABA, the LMAILTAAALL, or my personal favorite the ACC. It doesn’t much matter who is evaluating or what authority they have, just that they are evaluating consistently and publishing an updated list of CCLP qualified firms and their associated levels achieved.  We could even create a new not-for-profit organization with CCLP certification as it’s sole purpose.  (Hint, hint.)

Once one firm is certified using an open standard, how long before large clients begin asking outside counsel why they aren’t certified?  If a first level certification is relatively easy to achieve, as it is with the PCMH, then what excuse will firms have for not doing it?  Of course, a level 1 certification begs the questions, “Why are you only a Level 1?  Which elements don’t you adhere to? And why not?”  A well-defined and open set of standards and elements, if evaluated fairly, should lead to an all-out arms race for firms to achieve a top-level CCLP certification. Which, if done correctly, should correlate to a better all-around experience for clients.

The hardest part will be defining those standards and elements.  Here again, I think we can look to the PCMH as a guide.  Of course the individual elements to achieve will be wildly different for legal, but the standards will have some overlap. The 6 PCMH standards are to: 1) Enhance Access and Continuity, 2) Identify and Manage Patient Populations, 3) Plan and Manage Care, 4) Provide Self-Care Support and Community Resources, 5) Track and Coordinate Care, and 6) Measure and Improve Performance.

Adjusting for legal specific terminology, these all kind of work as is.  We would want a CCLP certified firm to meet the minimal obligations to Enhance Client Access to firm resources, Identify and Manage Client Populations (Business Intelligence), Plan and Manage Matters, Provide Self-help Legal Support and Resources, Track and Coordinate Matters, and Measure and Improve Performance over time.  There are probably better ways to phrase these standards and there may be more or different standards we should add, but even with this simple translation a proto-CCLP could begin to take form.

My intention is not to say that the legal industry should immediately adopt this concept as pioneered by the medical industry and run with it, but to suggest that maybe a more holistic approach to imagining the future of law is called for.  Here on the 3 Geeks blog we each have our areas of interest and we all attend our separate conferences to discuss the roles of technology, knowledge management, library and information management, project management, pricing, competitive intelligence, and on and on and on… But maybe we need to think a little bigger.  Rather than trying to fix the law firm model one discipline or one system at a time, maybe we should put the client in the center and rebuild the firm around them.  If we can imagine and define that type of firm, then we can give firms a path to follow and a goal to strive toward, and we can give clients a series of metrics with which to evaluate the quality of the legal services they are receiving.

For more information on the Patient Centered Medical Home concept
see the following articles and resources:
Rittenhouse DR, Shortell SM. The Patient-Centered Medical Home: Will It Stand
the Test of Health Reform? JAMA Vol. 301, No. 19 May 20, 2009 
Nutting PA, Miller
WL, et. al. “Initial Lessons From the First National Demonstration Project
on Practice Transformation to a Patient-Centered Medical Home” Annals
of Family Medicine Vol. 7, No. 3 May/June 2009
Download the
complete NCQA
PCMH Standards and Guidelines (2011)
in PDF format for free.  Requires
registration.

(This is part 3 of a 4 part series. You can download the entire series here.)


In previous posts I have addressed the similarities between the legal business and the medical business, and briefly described the Patient Centered Medical Home approach that the medical community has taken to address some of their issues.  In the next few posts, I would like to imagine what a similarly designed Client Centered Legal Practice might look like.

I think the four general areas that the PCMH addresses, can be copied and pasted almost wholesale into our CCLP.  The CCLP should seek to establish 1) Team-based Legal Support, 2) Active Client Involvement, 3) Evidence-based Practice Improvement, and 4) Comprehensive Legal Payment Reform.

Team-based Legal Support

The primary relationship in any legal services transaction is necessarily between the partner and the client, just as a medical transaction is primarily between a doctor and patient.  However, in both cases, there are entire teams necessary to maintain and support these relationships. Those teams must have direct and regular access to the client. In a law firm that would mean, not only the associates and staff immediately involved in a particular matter, but also fellow partners who could step in when the primary partner is not immediately available. If the client’s satisfaction and well-being is to be the central focus of a legal practice, then legal partnerships must become actual partnerships and not loosely affiliated solos sharing expenses and resources.

Active Client Involvement

In many ways, this is much easier in a legal context than it is in medicine.  Clients usually know exactly what their problem is before they contact their attorney.  Many matters are managed with regular and comprehensive input from the client, but lawyers rarely keep their clients up to date on all aspects of a matter’s progress.  In the CCLP context, active client involvement would include keeping the client “in the loop” at all times. Giving them web access to track the team progress throughout the management of the matter. Clients should be constantly aware of hours spent and tasks completed, when and by whom.  They should have education  resources available through the firm to answer basic legal questions without racking up charges for speaking to a partner.  Clients should never be surprised by the content of a bill, unless they’ve chosen to actively avoid firm resources.

Evidence-based Practice Improvement

This one is much trickier in legal than in medicine.  In medicine, there is a constant metric for progress, the health of the patient. If the patient’s health deteriorates, stop what you’re doing and try something else. If it gets better, then try what you just did on the next patient. (Of course, I’m grossly oversimplifying, but the concept is sound.)  There is not an immediately obvious equivalent metric to patient health in a legal context.  In fact, there are very few metrics in the law firm. And those that exist are virtually meaningless. (Profits per Equity Partner, tell’s you what exactly about a firm.)  This is what we must change.  An old adage says, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.”  We need to begin to measure efficiency, productivity, and profitability at the task, matter, and firm levels, so that we can begin to adjust our practices to improve all three.  Until we accurately measure these things, any changes we make are just guesses as to what might be better.

Comprehensive Legal Payment Reform

Notice, I didn’t say billing reform. This is not about adopting alternative fee structures, or non-hourly billing schemes, this is about aligning the financial incentives for the attorneys and the firm to the needs of the client.  In medicine that means ending the practice of fee for service, where doctors get paid based on the total number of procedures they perform instead of for maintaining the health of their patients.  In legal, we need a similar realignment from meeting hourly targets to maintaining client satisfaction.  How we should do that is a huge topic of conversation, beyond what can possibly be summarized in this paragraph. This change will be a difficult adjustment for attorneys and firms, but is absolutely key to putting the client at the center of legal services.
In the final installment, I’ll look at some specific elements of the PCMH and imagine how the regulatory aspect of a CCLP might work.

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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