Over the past month I have given about a dozen talks in large conference settings with hundred of people, or at smaller intimate partner/ counsel lunches, or for people spanning the globe via webinar. The discussions have ranged in content and theme but all were legal industry favourites including:

  • the state of the legal industry 10 years out from the great recession of 2018;
  • the seat change from Baby Boomers to Millennials in firms, and what that means for the way work is done, how people are motivated and what success looks like;
  • competitive intelligence – what is means in and for the legal industry right now;
  • personal branding for lawyers and non lawyers and why it matters; and
  • emerging legal technology tools, adoption techniques, use cases and efficiency plays;


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I live in an environment which there is a passion to drive innovation. We want to make things better, cheaper, faster, seamless, more intelligent, and a hundred other adjectives to support our goals. When I read an article this morning from Mark A. Cohen on Forbes’ website this morning, I felt like he was speaking my language. Cohen starts off by saying that one of the reasons law firms struggle with keeping pace with business innovation “is that there are too many lawyers involved in legal delivery and too few logistics, supply chain, and management experts, technologists, project managers, data analysts, and other professionals/paraprofessionals.”

Operations is where it’s at! Right? Just ask a group like CLOC. Operations is in the title for Pete’s sakes.

Then I saw Jeff Carr’s tweet regarding the article, and it got me thinking in a completely different direction.
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Marlene (@gebauerm) and Greg (@glambert) talk with Legal Rebel, Jae Um (@jaesunum), Founder & Executive Director at Six Parsecs, about her unique writing style (it involves the use of emojis), and her ideas behind her series on Legal Innovation Woes.
Greg breaks

down a conversation which amplified the idea of why it’s important to be seen as a driver for the firm’s bottom line, and how he deleted Facebook and twitters apps from his phone, as well as how didn’t melt while in Arizona over the weekend.

Marlene talks about CIVIL, a new cryptocurrency model helping to rebuild trust and integrity in journalism. Marlene also needs some suggestions on multi-player mobile games. Ones in which she can win.


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I had the opportunity to speak at the CodeX, FutureLaw Conference at Stanford Law School last week.  Its my second time attending, and I continue to be impressed with the diversity of topics, professions and people who participate.  One of the presentations to catch my attention was conducted by Professor Daniel Linna, from Michigan State University.  Professor Linna is the Director of LegalRnD, the Center for Legal Services Innovation, and gave a presentation showcasing an index he has developed to measure legal innovation in law firms and universities.  The measurement of innovation adoption is challenging.  Casey Flaherty established test criteria to grade lawyer’s mastery of technology, and Jeff Ward at Duke Law has spoken at the AALL conference about innovation levels students reach as they progress in law school.  I think even Professor Linna will be the first to say his index is version 1.0, and there is much room for further development (OK, he did say that actually), but the point is all these people are trying to tackle the measurement and data presentation challenge.

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Innovation is hard.  Despite how easily the word gets tossed around, like a “bong at a frat party” as a friend likes to say, but to truly innovate, to truly change a process, a culture, a product is one of the most difficult things to do. 

Many legal industry pundits call for law firm innovation,

Two weeks ago I spoke on a panel at ILTA in a session entitled, Legal Technology Innovation – Bolstering AND Destroying the Legal Profession.  Interestingly, the original title was Bolstering and Destroying Legal Work, which didn’t seem nearly as wimpy when we submitted it, as it did after the revised title was published.