Legal Evolution contributors, Summer 2020

Breadth and depth on legal innovation and the future of law.


As in prior years, after Labor Day, Legal Evolution shifts to a bi-weekly publication schedule, at least for Sunday longform content. See Post 113, 065.

Fortunately, we exit the summer of 2020 on a bit of a roll.  In July and August, we reached #1 and #2 all-time highs for both page views and number of unique users, beating the prior #1 and #2 marks set during the summer of 2019.  Further, this readership was widely dispersed across a large number of authors, suggesting that the diversity of topics and perspectives is something that resonates with our innovator/early adopter audience.
Continue Reading What are we trying to accomplish? (201)


For today’s feature post (200), we’re pleased to welcome guest contributor Rafael Figueiredo, who currently serves as Head of Legal for Santa Fe Natural Gas, a high-growth company that buys, sell, and manages the scheduling and logistics of natural gas and hydrocarbons in the US and Mexico.

I was introduced to Rafael through Cat Moon, as Rafael is an alumnus of Vanderbilt Law’s Certificate Program in Law and Innovation.  Indeed, in talking with Rafael, he described himself as part of the first generation of general counsels who have consciously acquired a T-shaped skillset in order to create a legal department that can fully deliver for the business.
Continue Reading Guest contributor Rafael Figueiredo (199)


Maybe. And if so, it would an improvement over what working and middle-class people can afford now.


Most lawyers have probably seen by now the announcement that Arizona has become the first state to permit law firms to have owners that are not lawyers.  See, e.g., Bob Ambrogi, “Arizona Is First State To Eliminate Ban On Nonlawyer Ownership Of Law Firms,” Lawsites, Aug. 31, 2020.  While much of the early commentary has focused on whether this will permit the Big Four accounting firms to encroach further into the lawyers’ protected realm of practice, this new rule is a big deal for the little guy.
Continue Reading “Everyday Low Price” for Legal Services in Arizona? (198)


Is it time to take a fresh look at how we sell legal tech?


Clients and lawyers are attracted to technology because of the enormous potential for better, faster, and more efficient legal work.  No one in the legal industry disputes that technology is integral to our future.  Despite this relatively positive and uniform outlook, however, legal tech as an industry remains notoriously risky, primarily because of long sales cycles, limited exposure to potential issues and concerns of end-users, and lengthy deployments that fail to deliver on the many promises made in order to make the sale.
Continue Reading A product-led growth strategy for legal tech, explained (197)

Photo by Jeremy AAsum on Unsplash

If blazing a new path is your only option, it’s also your best option. Make the most of it.


[Editor’s note:  If readers pick up a copy of Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2nd ed. 2017) and flip to page 135, they’ll see a table captioned “New jobs for lawyers.” This table is reproduced belowRichard writes, “these are the jobs that flow quite clearly from the arguments and claims of this book.” 
Continue Reading One student’s career journey into legal tech (196)


Big opportunities that require a big shift in mindset.


As the title plainly says, readers will find below a list of four opportunities for legal industry innovators.  But before we get to the juicy stuff—because everyone loves a list—I want to commend the source for this list: James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, & Daniel Roos, The Machine That Changed the World (1990).  It is among my favorite books in any genre and among the most durable contributions to 20th-century management literature.  It is also a fun and fascinating read.
Continue Reading Four opportunities for legal industry innovators (195)

Source: ABA Profile of the Legal Profession ch. 1 (2020)

Fulfilling work can be found in legal deserts.


There are numerous reports of the problems presented by the decline of the number of primary-care physicians in the United States. The overwhelming majority of med school students understandably gravitates towards the high-paying specialty residencies. The ABA’s recent “Profile of the Legal Profession 2020” report, which includes a chapter on “legal deserts,” caused me to think about the legal profession’s similar problem—the decline of the primary-care lawyer.
Continue Reading In praise of the primary-care lawyer (194)


The data exist to make legal education measurably better.


Figure 1 above uses data from the 2020 Law School Survey of Student of Engagement (LSSSE) to visualize 10 average score “distributions” based on responses from 12,969 law students at 68 participating U.S. law schools. The distributions are at the law school level. Thus, for all ten measures, each participating law school’s average score exists somewhere within the orange-yellow-grey-blue-green distribution.  The grey is the fat part of the underlying bell curve (25-75th percentiles).  In addition, each Figure 1 measure maps to one or more of the ABA’s Accreditation Standards (see references in brackets).
Continue Reading What is an excellent legal education? Answers based on data (193)

Dinners, field trips, and social events connected with IU Maurer NY Externship Program [click on to enlarge]

Building relationships while opening doors for the next generation.


Breaking into a large competitive market is not easy, particularly for those with no local connections. Yet, for those of us on the inside, it is just as important to maintain and grow our network, including the next generation of up-and-coming professionals.

Professor Henderson has invited me to tell the story about how a program I created at IU Maurer Law serves both needs, creating a community of law graduates with a common set of values and real staying power. Hopefully, this is useful to alumni at other law schools who are looking for an opportunity to make a difference.
Continue Reading An alumni community in action (192)


There’s a lot of cool things happening in legal innovation these days, though not all of it is high tech.  Thus, over this summer, I’ve made an effort to publish content that has nothing to do with data, process, or technology but a lot to do with lawyers living their professional values and trying to make a difference. See, e.g., Post 166 (Lori Mihalich-Levin writing about efforts to improve the attorney-parent experience); Post 181 (Neil Hamilton bringing the competency-based medical education movement to a legal audience).

Today’s guest contributor, Terrance Stroud, very much fits that mold. 
Continue Reading Guest contributor Terrance Stroud (191)