Seven steps to create a first-tier tech team


Three years ago this month, the law firm I work for was founded. See 35 Lawyers and Staff Spin Off to Launch Litigation Boutique Tanenbaum Keale LLP, BusinessWire, January 25, 2017.  To get Tanenbaum Keale (TK) off the ground, there were a ton of moving parts to manage.  But one of the most important was development of a technology support team that could fully support the firm’s strategy for being one of the nation’s premier mass tort litigation firms.
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The LexBlog Network includes more than 1,000 legal blogs and 23,000 authors, including Legal Evolution.  Twenty years ago, a lawyer would have to travel to a law library to access the depth and breadth of content that is now available to anyone with an internet connection.

Thus, it is a remarkable achievement that regular contributor Evan Parker took home two of six Lexblog Awards for Exemplary Writing:
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Courage + Logic + Support = Eventual success as a legal innovator


Below is an excerpt of my forthcoming book, A Simple Guide to Legal Innovation (ABA 2020), which I am very excited to share with Legal Evolution readers. 

Over the years I have had enough first-hand learnings about the challenges of trying something new that I wanted to pave the path for others to have an easier time. Specifically for law firm leaders, there is so much confusion on what corporate clients value and expect, coupled with sensational legal press, that it is no wonder there is disappointment and frustration on all sides. 
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A story for the New Year.  Maybe you can relate.


I recently turned 57 years old.  Although I am dismayed and disappointed by many things happening in our republic, and impatient with an industry, profession and educational complex that is supposed to operate in the public interest, whatever quantum of cynicism I possessed went away in 2019. Moreover, it happened quickly, albeit many of the pieces were put into place more a decade ago.
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For frustrated legal innovators, one of the missing pieces might be found in this new book on trust.


Todd Henderson and Salen Churi, two law professors, have written a deep analysis of trust — its cultural history, social mechanics, economic elements, and of course how it relates to law and regulation.  As they put it, the goal of the book is “to establish trust as a lingua franca for discussion of issues that are often thought of as discreetly political but actually needn’t be” (p. xvi).

The inspiration for their effort was Uber, which I will discuss a little more in a minute.  But while the book covers a great deal of ground — from securities regulation to dinner parties to the Hanseatic League — it does not pause to unpack the implications for lawyers themselves.  I’d like to do a little of that below, because the margins of my copy of The Trust Revolution are full of graffiti on that topic.
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Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

This week, I’m pleased to welcome back occasional contributor Dan Currell, who in today’s feature post reviews the recently published book, The Trust Revolution, by M. Todd Henderson and Salen Churi. See Post 130.

Dan’s return provides an opportunity to explain his mysterious title (Former Managing Director, AdvanceLaw) in the right side bar.  Dan’s current title is Senior Advisor in the Office of Finance and Operations at the U.S. Department of Education.  But to post that title would arguably require a clarification that Dan’s views are his own and not necessarily those of the current Administration or the Department of Education (in the unlikely event either has views on legal innovation). 
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Law firm innovation takes many forms. We need a tool to de-risk and demystify the process.


The above graphic is the Maker’s Matrix©, which is a tool I created to more efficiently categorize, prioritize, and resource innovation projects.  This is because innovation in law firms is a nascent field with lots of hype and headlines but remarkably little structure.  See, e.g., Bruce MacEwen, “Who’s your Chief Innovation Officer, ” Adam Smith, Esq., Nov. 13, 2019.  That’s okay, though.  I’m happy for the opportunity to figure it out.
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“I make innovation less risky and more accessible to the many brilliant lawyers in our firm.” — Anusia Gillespie


I am pleased to introduce today’s guest contributor, Anusia Gillespie, who currently serves as Director of Innovation at Eversheds Sutherland (US).  As demonstrated in Post 128, Gillespie has the full innovator’s tool box:  multiple perspectives (law, design, business operations, technology, and strategy), systems thinking, intellectual courage, astute observation, and the patience and confidence to learn through controlled trial and error.
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One-to-many legal solutions are built by teams of multidisciplinary professionals. It’s time to build a legal talent supply chain.


The above graphic is a map of the human capital needed to create “one-to-many” legal solutions (Human Capital Map).  It’s a dense graphic on a complex topic. To explain its structure and the key insights it provides, I’ll cover the following topics:
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“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”    — Albert Einstein


The members of the Delta Model working group imagine a world, not too far off, where law schools, legal employers and clients all share a common touchstone for lawyer development.  For the last two years, we’ve been working on such a touchstone, which we call the Delta Model.  Our current version is expressed in the graphic above.
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