A crowded, chaotic landscape in love with the future.


The opening graphs of Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2nd ed. 2016) predict the revolution that is now underway:

This book is a short introduction to the future for young and aspiring lawyers.

Tomorrow’s legal world, as predicted and described here, bears little resemblance to that of the past. Legal institutions and lawyers are at a crossroads, I claim, and will change more radically in less than two decades than they have over the past two centuries. If you’re a young lawyer, this revolution will happen on your watch. (p. xvii)

Indeed, only a revolution could explain the above “market map,” which reflects literally hundreds of point solutions for a rapidly expanding one-to-many legal marketplace.
Continue Reading The best metaphor for today’s legal market is the auto industry circa 1905 (231)


Count me among the skeptics.


We are all familiar with the allegations that CEOs of publicly traded companies manipulating their earnings from period to period by such actions as booking discretionary expenses at the end of a strong quarter or deferring a major sale until the beginning of a new period.  No one thinks that these actions are laudable from an integrity standpoint, and sometimes they are sufficiently flagrant to result in securities-fraud allegations.

Thus, it is surprising to me that law firm managers have been boasting in the first quarter of 2021 about their prudence in prepaying in the last quarter of 2020 major expenses that were not due until 2021.  See, e.g., Andrew Mahoney, “Big Firms Headed Off ‘Great Unknowns’ by Pre-Paying Bills,” Law.com, Mar. 10, 2021 (discussing prevalence of practice).
Continue Reading Is income manipulation by Big Law laudable behavior? (227)

Photo by Florian Klauer via Unsplash

The pandemic upended the workplace as we know it.  What does the future of work hold for the legal industry? 


Recently, I left a great job.  I did it without another job lined up, in the middle of a global pandemic and record levels of unemployment.  Many people have been kind enough to ask what’s next and a few have asked why I would do such a thing.  After some internal debate, I decided to explain both on Legal Evolution.
Continue Reading Why and how I’m unbundling my career (224)

Source: Whitney Johnson, “Throw Your Life a Curve,” Harv Bus Rev, Sept 3, 2012

The S-curve is real.  If we’re not growing, we’re dying.


Through client work that admittedly spans a broad swath of the legal industry, I am fortunate to spend a lot of time with law firm leaders and other attorneys at varying stages of their careers.  Through these discussions, I have learned why some attorneys choose to work for law firms while others–with the same stellar pedigrees–prefer to work for alternative legal service providers (ALSPs).
Continue Reading The gig is up and coming (223)

Photo Credit: ESA/NASA

The 4th Industrial Revolution is here (even for lawyers).  A look at what digital transformation actually means for legal markets — and the investments tomorrow’s winners are making today.

Today’s post is the final part in the 5-part series #GreatExpectations for the #GreatReset.  (Like the vaccine rollout 💉 and my workout plan 😁, this post is a bit delayed 🥺.  A million thanks to Bill and the Legal Evolution audience for the patience!)
Continue Reading #GreatExpectations, Part V: Cloudy with a Chance of Digital Disruption (220)

Photo by BP Miller via Unsplash / Clear-sighted & pragmatic teams will win the day.

Talk of disruption dominated the last decade.  In 2021, widespread change in legal markets appears elusive.  Will this time be different?

Today’s post (219) is Part IV of #GreatExpectations for the #GreatReset, a 5-part series on


Position isn’t destiny — especially times of turmoil.  Eight charts illustrate the true extent of volatility underlying apparent stagnation in legal markets and give an advance peek at the state of play for 2021.

This post is the third in a 5-part series, #GreatExpectations for the #GreatReset.  The aim of this series is to provide a shared foundation of fact and data to help envision the market dislocations likely to occur in the current economic downturn and recovery.
Continue Reading #GreatExpectations, Part III: As the Mighty Fall, New Challengers Rise (218)

Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

A dozen charts shed light on how a K-shaped recovery widens the distance between the haves and the have-nots.

Part I (216) of this 5-part series (#GreatExpectations for the #GreatReset) provided a broad retrospective on the last downturn for both BigLaw and corporate clients, with emphasis on the socioeconomic context around the legal market.  The next two posts comprise an experiment in format.  Parts II (217) and III (218) are snack-sized posts 🍙🍿 (at least for me 😇), each covering a handful of charts 📊 as background for long-form posts in Parts IV (219) and V (220).
Continue Reading #GreatExpectations, Part II: Some Play to Win & the Rest Fight to Survive (217)

Photo by Galina N via Unsplash

Before we peer into the 🔮 crystal ball to forecast what awaits legal markets in a post-pandemic future, we first look back to the past for lessons from the last downturn – with a wider lens to better understand how the world around our industry is changing.

Now is the winter of our discontent: the worst (😧!) year (🤮!) EVER (😣!!) is finally in the rearview mirror.  Although the first stretch of the new year presages some grim days ahead, I’m doing my best to look to 2021 and beyond with hope and optimism.
Continue Reading #GreatExpectations for the #GreatReset, Part I: a Recession Retrospective and a Post-Pandemic Reckoning (216)


As the legal services market becomes more competitive, law firm strategy—or lack thereof—will have real consequences.


If we polled business school professors, all would agree that long-term strategy beats short-term strategy, at least over the long-term.  If true, the following two statements ought to be in tension with one another:

  1. The traditional law firm operating