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HAL 9000, Washing Machines and AI in Law

I read this and immediately started thinking about my Saturday morning encounters with our washing machine. Walk by, put the towels in and then feed the dogs. Swing by later after grabbing morning coffee, put the towels in...more

The Importance of Learning What Does NOT Need to Be Done, and Other Things

I just read an article in Law360 discussing Microsoft’s commitment to shift 90% of its work to alternative fee arrangements. Michael Rynowecer of BTI Consulting is quoted as saying the move is “one of the most aggressive”...more

The Importance of Understanding Context

Jeff Carr sent me a link to a post by Richard Smith of Sydney, Australia. I don’t know Mr. Smith. He is a “business development expert with over 20 years’ experience.” He works to develop and implement “successful business...more

There is More to Being Innovative Than Simply Deciding to Be Innovative

I was just having a conversation with a passing acquaintance, who runs a mid-size law firm. He told me the firm had decided to be innovative, in the sense of saying “starting next Tuesday, we will be innovative.” I hope I...more

If You Are Not Using Checklists, What Are You Waiting For?

Before leaving for the Amazon, Nicole left an article for me from the Illinois Bar Journal, The Checklist Manifesto for Lawyers. It discusses Atul Gawande‘s incredible book, The Checklist Manifesto. The IBJ article is not...more

A Real Live Mythical Creature Speaks About Alternative Fees

Utah Business recently published Industry Outlook: Legal, which featured a question about alternative fees. It appears that Utah is an hourly billing utopia, immune to much of the turmoil firms face in the rest of the...more

The Gap Between Claimed Client Service and the Truth

Seth Godin just posted Four Ways to Improve Customer Service. As always, Seth’s insights are insightful and thought-provoking. The four ways are: 1. Delegate it to your customers. Let them give feedback, good and bad,...more

Is Your Firm Filled With Open-Minded People?

Pedantic is defined as “narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned a pedantic insistence that we follow the rules exactly” and “unimaginative, dull.” You’ll see in a minute why I began with this definition. I...more

Vanilla. Tastes good, but It’s a Bad Way to Market.

If you spend any time reading law firm websites, you soon come to one conclusion: all of them were written by the same person. We know this because all law firms say the same things–best schools, best lawyers,...more

Law Firms Lose Clients Because of Poor Client Service. What Do They Do About It?

Truth be told, nothing. Well, at least nothing of consequence. Oh sure, there is the occasional in-house program on client service and websites are edited to talk about the firm’s commitment to client service. But if you...more

A Seminar on the Cost of 6 Minutes

Really? I just received an invitation to a seminar that stresses that the average attorney bills 6 minutes per day less than they did two years ago. Six minutes a day! According to this invitation, that costs firms more than...more

“Our Clients Don’t Want AFAs.”

When I have the opportunity to speak, I ask participants and co-presenters about their experiences with alternative fees. Better than half the time, I am told “my clients don’t want alternative fees.” I always ask whether...more

Small problems are a great prevention opportunity

To be honest, I had never focused on this aspect of prevention, but it is an important one. Solving a problem when it is small prevents the problem from becoming a big one. While not as significant as avoiding the problem...more

The Quality of Your Questions Determines the Quality of the Answers

Back in January, I copied a portion of an article that provided a list of questions lawyers should ask themselves. It was an interesting list of questions, but I was struck by how the wording of the questions could cause...more

BigLaw: Another Step in a Relentless, Vicious Circle

This natural tendency appears to apply to law firms as well. Yesterday, Above The Law reported that yet another large law firm has raised the associate hours requirement as a result of salary increases awarded in 2016. So...more

Dream Big. Why Not?

As a young boy, I vividly remember following Bobby Kennedy’s Presidential campaign. Like his brother Jack, Bobby was greatly admired in my Irish-American household. His death was met with great sadness. I sat riveted during...more

Email Etiquette: Think About It From Your Client’s Perspective

I just spent a couple of minutes looking for the telephone number of someone who sent me an email. No big deal, except that if it is your client’s time spent looking for your number, it is a big deal. If you do something...more

Econ 101: If You Increase Expenses More Than You Increase Revenue, Profits Will Be Lower

You just can’t make this stuff up. A recent ABA Journal article, Some law firm leaders question associate pay hikes amid tepid year, caught my eye. The Peer Monitor report stated: Firms were squeezed by a perfect storm...more

An Example of Where Elite Businesses Go, But Law Firms Fear to Tread

The title is simple enough: success = experimentation. Here is Peter Diamandis’ thesis: Today’s most successful companies, the ones that are “crushing it,” started as a series of crazy ideas, followed by experiments to...more

A Personal Reminder About the Value of Experience

On Saturday, I was sitting in my home office and I heard an episodic beeping sound that sounded like a smoke detector with a battery that needed replacing. I checked all the smoke detectors and none were chirping, so I...more

GE, Like McDonalds, is Outsourcing Some Corporate Functions. How Soon Before It Happens With Law Departments?

My last post recounted McDonalds’ creation of its own ad agency and posited the question whether bespoke law firms could be far behind. Enter GE. Yes, that GE. According to CFO.com, GE is transferring about 600 of its...more

McDonald's Creates its Own Ad Agency. Can Bespoke Law Firms Be Far Behind?

Several years ago, I was part of a proposal to a large tech company to create a custom, build-to-suit, build-to-serve law firm to handle the company’s IP work. The company showed interest, but ultimately it was too big a...more

Prevention is the Answer to the Question of How Law Departments Can Do More With Less

According to a survey of corporate counsel at large U.S. corporations reported by Law.com, nearly 70% of law departments expect their annual operating budget to be flat or decrease in 2017. Let me say that again—nearly...more

11/15/2016  /  Client Services , Young Lawyers

Moving at the Speed of Business

Business moves fast. Really fast. Does your law firm keep up? If you think you do, think again. Do you think in days when your clients are operating in hours? Weeks instead of days. It is a rare law firm designed to...more

After Action Assessments: A cornerstone of prevention

Preventing legal problems from ever occurring does not happen serendipitously.  It is a matter of design, intention and execution.  In Life at the Speed of Prevention, we will devote a number of posts to the design of a...more

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