Legal Evolution is proud to welcome contributor Jason Barnwell.  Regular readers are likely to remember Jason from the detailed write-ups of Microsoft’s Trusted Advisor Forum on Innovation, see Post 068 (by me); Post 069 (epic post by Jae Um), as Jason was the person who was charged with creating and implementing this very important strategic initiative.

There were two reasons why I asked Jason to consider contributing to Legal Evolution.  First, I was impressed with his immense brain power, intellectual curiosity and energy. I witnessed these attributes firsthand back in September ’18 at Microsoft.  But I also see them on a regular basis via an internal-external Microsoft listserv run by Jason. See Post 068 (sharing examples of topics and resources curated by Jason).

Second, I have never met a young lawyer who was more systematic, deliberative and explicit in pursuit of professional development and its desired end state, which is professional excellence and impact. For many years, part of my research has been cracking the code on lawyer success. I do this because I want to bring the data back into the classroom to share with my students. With Jason, I see someone making equally large investments in acquiring and developing big picture ideas, technical knowledge, personal EQ and mentoring relationships, both giving and receiving. I tell my students to play the long game, but Jason is one of the few who can set the pace for his generation and the rest of us.

Jason is now in his early mid-career.  He’s a thought leader I very much want to listen to. I hope you share my enthusiasm.  Jason’s initial post, “Bricklayers and Architects (080),” is an extraordinary reflection that reveals what Jason has learned so far.

Jason Barnwell at the whiteboard during Microsoft Trusted Advisor Forum on Innovation, Sept 2018. See Post 068. [Click on to enlarge.]

Sometimes, to protect and promote the long-term interest of stakeholders, leaders have to take difficult public positions. The decision won’t be popular or clearly right at the time, yet the risks of deflecting or avoiding a firm stance are just too high, at least for the collective.  For legal education, one of the best examples of this type of leadership occurred in 2014 when Dan Rodriguez was serving as President of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).   Continue Reading Introducing contributor Dan Rodriguez (076)

For this week’s post, I’m pleased to introduce guest contributor Evan Parker, Managing Director of LawyerMetrix. In Post 074, Evan tackles the profoundly important topic of diversity in the legal profession. After presenting compelling evidence that (1) clients want more diversity, (2) diverse legal teams produce better results, and (3) diverse firms make higher profits — what’s not to like? — Evan argues that clients are hindered by a lack of clear, actionable data — a problem he is working to solve in conjunction with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD).

I have a broad frame of reference to make the following statement: Evan Parker is the most experienced and sophisticated data scientist currently working in the legal industry. From 2013 to 2016, Evan and I worked together at Lawyer Metrics (now LawyerMetrix).  Before joining LawyerMetrix, Evan was on the faculty of Texas A&M and Stony Brook University, where he specialized in quantitative methods.

Perhaps the most important lesson that Evan and I and the rest of the LM team learned is that when it comes to lawyers and data, the challenging part isn’t the analysis; rather, it’s finding a results format that puts lawyers at ease and enables them to grasp and understand the key points in little more than an instant. Cf. Post 008 (innovations are much more likely to be adopted if they are simple and culturally compatible; high relative advantage is not enough).  Over the last couple of years, Evan has taken this skill to the next level.  Some of this is now on display in Post 074.  Enjoy.

What’s next?  See Missing in Action: Data-Driven Approaches to Improve Diversity (074)

Over the summer, Legal Evolution moved to a weekly Sunday publication schedule with an emphasis on long-form content. Readers seemed to like this change, as our page views increased substantially.

Although we are very grateful for this success, Legal Evolution is moving to an unconventional publication schedule.  From Labor Day 2018 until Memorial Day 2019, Legal Evolution will publish bi-weekly (on Sunday or Monday Holidays).  Then, over the summer of 2019–from Memorial Day to Labor Day–we’ll resume weekly publication.

The reason for the change is a desire by the editor (Bill) and our talented regular contributor (Jae) to plan out and execute projects, both writing and other professional commitments, without sacrificing quality.  If our plans work, less frequent content, at least over the fall, winter and spring, will ultimately result in better content.

Thank you for your readership.

What’s next? See Legal Innovation Woes, Part III: Skill Shortage, Emotional Labor & Arrested Development (066)

Legal Evolution is going long on long-form content. This decision is reflected in our move to a Sunday publication schedule, which began in early June.

This editor’s note is made timely by Jae Um’s three-part series, Legal Innovation Woes (062-064).  It is not accurate to describe this work as a blog post.  It is strategic analysis on the legal industry of a depth and quality that is not available anywhere else on the Internet.  Jae is writing not to express her opinion but to solve a very difficult set of industry-level problems.  And that takes word count.

That pretty much covers it.  #SundayReading #LongFormContent. Thank you for your readership.

Continue Reading Long-form content (061)

For Memorial Day 2018, we are fortunate to have Holiday-quality content.  It is with great enthusiasm that I introduce Jae Um, our newest contributor.  From 2012 to 2017, Jae worked at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, rotating through a variety of roles in pricing, branding, client service, and business development before getting promoted to Director of Strategic Planning & Analysis. Kudos to Seyfarth’s leadership for recognizing Jae’s talent, promoting her early and often.

In late 2017, Jae left Seyfarth to found Six Parces, a market research firm that combines sophisticated market analysis with elegant strategy frameworks and results in the kind of insights that can get a large number of partners to nod in agreement. Jae is currently building out her inventory of datasets and reports, as the Six Parces is selling content rather than consulting.

Jae is a first-rate analyst with a fresh and distinctive voice. As you will see in her first post, “Stop the blame game: legal innovation is an extreme sport (051),” Jae has a gift for graphics that simplify what is important and complex. Further, for both the graphics and analysis, we laugh almost as much as we learn.

Thus, without further ado, please welcome Jae Um.

What’s next? See Stop the blame game: legal innovation is an extreme sport (051)