A Podcast for Law Firm Innovation and Inspiration: Q&A with David Ackert

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The excellent Market Leaders Podcast, hosted by David Ackert, crossed the 100,000 listens mark recently. If you're not included in that number, you should be.

The podcast features thought leaders and experts in the legal marketing and business development in conversation with David on cutting-edge topics in the legal industry, from automation and legal process outsourcing to gender diversity and progressive firm culture.

"While the legal sector itself has a reputation for conservatism, many of its leaders engage in inspired thinking..."

 

Guests have included the C-suite from top Am Law 100 firms like Kathleen Flynn (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner), Jeff Berardi (K&L Gates), and Amy Fowler (Mintz Levin) as well a broad mix of smart voices from smaller firms doing smart work today. 

The Market Leaders Podcast has produced over 30 episodes since its launch in March 2017 and is syndicated here on JD Supra. We sat down for a brief interview with David to learn a bit more about this terrific series of conversations and what he’s learned from it over the past year.

Congratulations on achieving this milestone! Go back to the beginning: why start the Market Leaders Podcast?

DA: Our industry is going through an era of rapid evolution. Interviewing market leaders provides insights into how law firms are reacting to today’s shifting sands and emerging trends. While the legal sector itself has a reputation for conservatism, many of its leaders engage in inspired thinking and analysis that doesn’t often get the attention it deserves.

We realized that we could help the legal marketing community by bringing attention to the people who are driving remarkable progress.

Have any insights impressed you the most?

DA: When we first launched the podcast, I thought I there would be a lot of talk about trendy concepts like AI or productization, but I think our industry is still struggling to find practical application of such ideas.

"...legal innovation consists mostly of a few minor tweaks rather than a full transformation."

Instead, what stood out was the interviewees’ ability to navigate their firm cultures, overcome inherent skepticism, and pilot successful initiatives that just weren’t gaining traction in years past. These initiatives have ranged from client feedback projects to firm restructuring or sales accountability programs.

Based on what you’ve learned from these interviews, can you offer thoughts on the current state of the legal industry?

DA: Our industry is experiencing a set of contrasting messages.

It’s true that service demand continues to flatline, the Big 4 and alternative service providers are moving in on the US legal market, realization is at an all-time low, and AI continues to advance on commoditized services.

"...as long as firms are willing to adapt a bit, they can weather the changing landscape"

But it’s also true that most law firms enjoy healthy profit margins relative to the rest of the professional services industry, fresh niche market opportunities are continually emerging, and a new generation of entrepreneurial lawyers are redefining the lawyer archetype.

This tension between impending threat and apparent security reminds us that, as long as firms are willing to adapt a bit, they can weather the changing landscape.

The people I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing have confirmed my belief that law firms thrive when they innovate, but legal innovation consists mostly of a few minor tweaks rather than a full transformation.

Follow the Market Leaders Podcast on JD Supra and at Ackert.

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