Culture. Character. Practices. Systems.


When it comes to empirical research on lawyers, we’re all lightweights compared to Randall Kiser.  Over the last decade, Kiser has authored books on lawyer decision making in the context of litigation, Beyond Right and Wrong (2010), the mindset and work habits of trial lawyers who consistently outperform their peers, How Leading Lawyers Think (2011), and an empirically grounded analysis of the skills and behaviors needed to build a successful legal career, Soft Skills for the Effective Lawyer (2017).

Now comes Kiser’s treatment of U.S. law firms, American Law Firms In Transition: Trends, Threats, and Strategies (2019). I doubt any law firm leader could read this book and conclude that Kiser got it wrong.
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Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

The last decade saw a sustained uptick in funding into the legal vertical. So what is all that capital accomplishing? Quite a lot, actually.


The legal industry is full of opinions – and so it is full of noise. In 2019, 🤦‍♂️ facepalming and 🙄 eyerolling at innovation hype is still very much in vogue, and so a lot of the noise is 😒 negative 😠 in tone.

Amidst all the noise, though, I see very clear signals of meaningful change.
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Source: Salesforce

Legal technology platforms, including PaaS, explained.


When you’re closing in on the end of your second decade doing something, as I am in the legal technology field, you’re going to experience many transformations.  And I think it’s safe to say that, in the field of technology, the pace of change is not dissimilar to the springtime waters of the Copper River in Alaska when salmon swim into the rushing rapids — a lot of effort to travel a short distance to achieve a critically important goal.
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A legal technologist who can write


In May, I published Post 092, which provided guidelines for guest contributors.  My primary goal — or more accurately, highest hope — was to find a few professionals who possessed the communication skills to explain very technical but important topics to Legal Evolution readers, particularly in areas related to legal technology.
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Marcus Arnold and Michael Lewis, © Capital Pictures

In this post, I tell an old Michael Lewis story that bears on the law. Remarkably, most of the insights come from a 15-year-old boy named Marcus Arnold, pictured above with Lewis circa 2001.  I then review the U.K.’s journey to market liberalization, including the repeal of the British version of Model Rule 5.4.  
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Rather than wait for it, Microsoft’s legal team has decided to create what it needs, starting now.


Innovation is taking place in many parts of the legal ecosystem these days. Yet, as relates to legal operations inside corporate legal departments, a refreshing community of practice is starting to unfold. The camaraderie and fellowship among practitioners,


This week, we are fortunate to have a special guest contribution from Jason Moyse, a very talented legal innovator and entrepreneur based in Toronto.  After cutting his teeth as a legal counsel and program manager at Xerox Canada, Jason has been an active participant in some North America’s and the UK’s most interesting and important legal innovation projects, including LawMade (principal), MDR Lab (advisory board), Trustbot (advisory board), CodeX (fellow), Elevate Services (Manager, Legal Business Solutions), and the MarS LegalX cluster team (industry lead).

In early June, Jason travelled to Redmond, Washington to serve as outsider chronicler of Microsoft’s Trusted Advisor Forum. 
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The answer appears to be yes. A deep dive into Hotshot.


For many of us, success is partially a function of being at the right place at the right time.  Yet, this type of luck often has even larger second-order effects, such as the ability to see new and emerging business opportunities.  Indeed, this is how I see the careers of Ian Nelson and Chris Wedgeworth, who were part of the sales team that helped Practical Law Company (PLC) enter and dominate the U.S. market.
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No one really knows how the game is played //  The art of the trade  // How the sausage gets made // We just assume that it happens // But no one else is in // The room where it happens

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Since graduating from law school in 2015, I’ve spent a lot of time in the room where it happens. I’ve served in leadership roles on local, state, and national bar associations; I’ve traveled around the country speaking with lawyers and law students of all sorts; and I’ve helped the sausage get made.
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Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Post 100 is Henderson’s opinion. It’s also a note to introduce Jordan Couch’s essay on the Washington State Bar.


The U.S. legal profession is suffering from an enormous leadership vacuum.  As a collective group, the lawyers with the most stature and gravitas — law school deans, managing partners of prestigious firms, GC of major companies, state and federal judges — are failing to step up, largely because each has a day job that is all consuming. As a result, profits per partner climb, in-house lawyers get their bonus, law schools hang onto their US News ranking, and the courts make it through another challenging fiscal year. But collectively, we have very few establishment leaders exhorting us to evolve in the public interest. That’s a vacuum.
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