Photo of Anusia Gillespie


A closer look at my work at UnitedLex.


Editor’s note:  For this month’s column, I encouraged Anusia to write about her work at UnitedLex, as it’s a complex topic of great value to the LE audience. See Post 020 (discussing the critical role of change agents in helping social systems successfully adopt innovation); Post 034 (discussing work of modern legal industry change agents).  Further, first-person narrative accounts—i.e., personal stories—are the best way to communicate the complexities of an industry in transition.  Indeed, commercial vulnerability, which is on display here, is very effective for education. wdh.


Upon my return from an energizing solutioning session with a prospective client, a family member and former 30+ year in-house attorney at a $30B+ annual revenue financial services organization based in New York, turned her gaze up to me and glibly asked, “So, did you sign them up?”

Knowing that she is quite jaded about anything new in #LawLand, I declined the opportunity to explain that signing people up is not what I do and, instead, offered a thin smile, “Not yet.”
Continue Reading “Did you sign them up?” and other questions from an industry in transition (320)


Probably not, but we’ll see.  A surprising conversation with digital transformation expert Isabel Parker


It’s already been quite a year for law firm innovation.  Just last month, Norton Rose Fulbright launched LX Studio, a new “innovation-focused” subsidiary, and Wilson Sonsini unveiled Neuron, a proprietary SaaS platform for start-ups.  Exciting propositions, but the development that had the NewLaw cognoscenti scratching their heads was ‘white shoe’ firm Cleary Gottlieb launching of ClearyX, which the firm describes as a “platform for highly efficient, AI and data-driven legal services.”

What’s driving these unveilings? And, are these new platforms worthwhile?
Continue Reading Q: The first “White Shoe” law firm launched an innovation subsidiary. Does that matter? (315)


Some history, some terminology, and finally, some practice tips.


Q.  In recent years, design thinking has become more popular in legal, partially as a buzzword but also, in some quarters, as an actual practice.  Why is this happening?

More so than in years and decades past, business leaders are pushing legal departments and law firms to drastically improve or expand client service. Naturally, this requires turning the spotlight on the client to deeply understand their business problems and experience in working with legal.  The confluence of the demand for more human-centered services and solutions, the need for creativity to break through boundaries, and lawyers’ tendency towards discomfort with ambiguity have pushed the profession to seek refuge in design thinking.

Developing ways to do things differently can get messy and feel uncomfortable, especially for a risk-averse population. With the structure of the methodology, design thinking provides lawyers with a handy “checklist to innovate” that can help put them at ease and guide them to an outcome.
Continue Reading Design thinking versus legal design: what’s the difference? (306)


A. Innovation methodologies are used to create novel experiments meant to improve DEI in legal, but more significantly, systems innovation creates an opportunity to advance DEI as a critical feature of the next epoch and not an afterthought.


I begin this post with a disclaimer: I’m a woman in law. I’m not racially diverse, or otherwise so. While I have an education and appreciation of the myriad DEI issues in the profession and broader society, I do not have a personal understanding beyond my own gendered experience. I speak only for myself from my place of understanding, with the best intentions towards empowering all people to flourish through equitable systems.

Q: “Wait, is this a Diversity initiative or an Innovation initiative?”

A: “It’s both.”
Continue Reading Q: How does innovation intersect with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in law? (298)


A. The lawyers are not asking for it and, without a roadmap to ensure success, the legal marketing function is not incentivized to pave the way.


I recently presented on the productization of legal services and subscription-based offerings in the B2B legal space at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference. See Post 037 (noting large structural difference between B2C and B2B legal sectors). The conference and the session were, from a NewLaw perspective, underwhelming.

In this column, I will provide context and then share my learnings from this experience.
Continue Reading Q. Why are most law firm marketing professionals “ho-hum” on the productization of legal services? (295)


This post is a digest of an important new article on the digital transformation of legal departments.


Me:  [Enthusiastically sharing new NewLaw literature with a friend.]

Friend:  “My first reaction is…that’s a lot of pages!”

It is a lot of pages. It is also critical reading, even for the newly acquainted. For those who want the bottom line without all of the pages, this digest is for you.
Continue Reading Q. What is digital transformation? A primer for legal professionals (289)


A. Because it requires us to evolve our culture.


The building blocks to create the next level of Legal are now available, so why aren’t we “there” yet?

In this month’s NewLaw column, I suggest that Legal’s modernization journey is cultural as well as technological.  Indeed, without the evolution of our culture, our innovation efforts are destined to frustrate and underwhelm our key stakeholders.
Continue Reading Q. Why aren’t we “there” yet in modernizing Legal? (286)


Answer: Be the relevant, accurate, and practical colleague


You may have noticed that I’m not one for hype and fantastical projections meant to scare actors into action. It is critical for credibility in emerging spaces to ground the noise back into reality. The key to becoming a trusted NewLaw and legal innovation advisor is to make it all very practical.

This “wait a minute, here” fire lit inside me after a doomsday litigation presentation at a conference a few years ago. After telling a room of litigation partners that they were going to be automated out of business in the next few years and thus needed the presenter’s services, it was my turn to take the stage.
Continue Reading NewLaw can be overwhelming.  How can I make it less so for the benefit of my team? (278)


Short answer: From you. So let’s turn it into a positive.


It is that time of year, when 1Ls are starting to think about and explore job opportunities for summer 2022. They research the legal market online and engage through social media, but generally rely on their law school career resources to usher them into the legal world.

But, with a few exceptions, law students must rely on you — the person on the front lines of modern law practice — to help them understand where and how NewLaw will be an integral part of their futures.

Personally, I make myself available to law students about career questions for two reasons.
Continue Reading Where are law students learning about NewLaw? (274)


Q. In the simplest terms possible, what is the core functionality of AI in legal?


It often seems that most of the legal profession thinks that AI is a box of pixie dust that you can sprinkle over any data set with the right incantation and voila, produce your desired result.

Most lawyers are confused about Artificial Intelligence (AI). While typically experts at adopting new language and using it correctly in context to convey sophistication around concepts not squarely in their wheelhouses, AI tends to be the exception. As evident in industry conversations, the confusion boils down to what AI does, and how, as applied to legal practice.

We should clear this up.  To do so, let’s take all the sex and rock n’ roll out of it, and strip AI to its core…
Continue Reading Brass tacks re: Artificial Intelligence in legal (264)