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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)


Will 2020 unleash a long-awaited wave of legal innovation?


Law firms offer a bundle of services tied tightly together, and most lawyers think of this bundle as a naturally integrated offering.  But innovators have long believed that the legal services bundle is actually composed of a series of largely unrelated capabilities, and the true flowering


Right now, adoption is more important than invention.


We are at the end of the beginning of one of the most terrifying periods in modern economic history.  An unexpected outside event has created massive unemployment, acute under-production, and isolated instances of tragic over-production all at once.  We are creating a fiscal crisis and waiting for


Reflections on the connection between specialization and innovation


Your mother needs heart valve replacement surgery, and it’s time to choose between doctors. You will have to explain yourself to two siblings and a few other relatives, but as a practical matter the choice is in your hands. You interview two potential surgeons. Here’s what they have to say:
Continue Reading The Swiss Army Lawyer (138)


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.
Continue Reading The Trust Revolution (book review) (130)

We see many companies these days running law firm convergence exercises – generally resulting in a preferred law firm network with fewer “approved” firms than the company previously used. The goal of this exercise is usually to reduce total legal spending and simplify outside counsel management. This kind of effort has a long track record