Our last two feature essays, Posts 312 and 314, reflect a sharp departure from usual Legal Evolution content, primarily because of the seriousness of events in the broader world.

The Legal Evolution readership is composed of innovators and early adopters. Thus, we spend a significant portion of our lives trying to improve the status quo — to make it more efficient, humane, data-driven, and diverse.  Yet, if you take the time to wade into Posts 312 and 314, you’ll see that Jae Um and I have concluded that the status quo has more foundational problems that we can no longer ignore.

In Post 312, I explore the topic of Gilded Age lawyers to better understand the present, which is marked by similar levels of economic inequality and political populism. History shows that these forces have the power to rip apart a representative democracy.
Continue Reading Too foundational to ignore (313)


For this week’s feature post (305), Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome guest contributor Patrick J. McKenna, renowned lecturer, strategist, and advisor to law firms.  Patrick is the author of several books on the challenges of firm leadership, including the classic First Among Equals: How To Manage A Group of Professionals (2002) with David Maister, and most recently Industry Specialization: Making Competitors Irrelevant (2022).  In addition, his decades of experience led to his being the subject of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled Innovations In Legal Consulting (2011).  Up until the advent of Covid, Patrick co-led a one-day masterclass, First 100 Days for The New Firm Leader, which graduated over 80 leaders from AmLaw 100, 200, accounting and consulting firms hailing from four countries.

Theory and data are profoundly powerful tools.  Patrick certainly agrees.  But what happens if the available theories and data are insufficient to adequately explain one’s environment?  Well, your best bet is experience in whatever form you can find it.
Continue Reading Guest contributor Patrick McKenna (304)


Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome lawyer and legal technologist Marc Lauritsen as a regular contributor.

For most people working in the legal industry, including many regular LE readers, I suspect that legal technology feels new and potentially disruptive.  But alas, as I have learned the hard way, that feeling is not very reliable.   I met Marc Lauritsen several years ago at a conference at Chicago-Kent organized by Ron Staudt (a law professor who helped launched LexisNexis’s lucrative legal research business), where I began to take in some of the war stories of the early days of law and technology.  Thirty years before the venture capitalists became interested in legal technology as a sector, a small cadre of brilliant and inventive lawyers were learning enough about technology to begin to solve some significant problems in law office practice management and experiment with ways to use technology to improve access to justice.  Others in this group include Richard Granat and Glenn Rawdon.
Continue Reading Introducing regular contributor Marc Lauritsen (300)


Northwestern Law is doing something different.


The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law invites applications for three full-time faculty positions in its Master of Science in Law program, with an expected start date of July 1, 2022. Candidates will be considered for appointment on the law school’s lecturer track (Lecturer or Senior Lecturer); these positions are not tenure-eligible.

The Master of Science in Law (MSL) is an innovative legal master’s degree offered by the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. This program is geared specifically towards STEM professionals who are interested in topics at the intersection of law, regulation, business, and policy. The residential full-time program began in 2014; the online part-time format was added in 2017. The MSL program has a diverse student body, with both domestic and international students, and students of different ages, levels of work experience, backgrounds, race and ethnicity, and career goals. There are currently over 200 students enrolled and the program has over 400 alumni. Graduates of the MSL work in a variety of industries, including consulting, finance, pharma, biotech, engineering, healthcare, and law (including intellectual property, legal operations, and others); some go on to further study in medicine, business, law, and other fields.
Continue Reading Unique opportunity for teaching the next generation of legal professionals (293)


In this week’s special New Year Kickoff Post (282), Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome guest contributor Jeff Carr, a recently retired Fortune 500 general counsel who has, over the years, served as informal mentor and coach to countless legal innovators.

Jeff’s influence is evidenced by the large number of LE posts that reference his ideas, experience, encouragement, and leadership skills.  See, e.g., Post 226 (discussing his business and finance module for IFLP); Post 210 (Jason Barnwell acknowledging Carr’s pioneering work in legal department management); Post 190 (discussing Carr’s diagnosis of law’s leadership gap and fundamental incentives problem); Post 112 (discussing Carr’s Leader-Manager-Operator framework); Post 078 (Carr discussing positive experience with IFLP intern); Post 056 (discussing Carr’s “hot-wash” practice and its influence in leadership course at IU Law); Post 052 (Jae Um’s discussing Carr’s “massive passive resistance,” or MPR, change management challenge);  Post 008 (citing Carr ACES model in context of diffusion theory).
Continue Reading Guest contributor Jeff Carr (281)


In this week’s feature post (267), we are pleased to welcome guest contributor Casey Flaherty, who explains why the “getting naked” approach to consultative sales is the perfect model to solve the decision overload faced by time-starved legal professionals.

I have great admiration for Flaherty, primarily because he is a true expert at mining economic, business, and scientific concepts for insights that improve the efficiency and quality of legal service delivery.  Yet, Post 267 reveals even more depth and range, as Casey ventures into the realm of fear and insecurity that lies beneath virtually every ambitious knowledge worker.
Continue Reading Guest contributor Casey Flaherty (266)


115,770 versus 107,209


Above is a graphic that shows the increase in the number of employed lawyers broken down by sector.  The takeaway is that in-house is growing much faster than the government and law firm sectors.

This graphic was originally published in Post 003 (through 2016).  Thus, I thought it was time for an update.

From1997 (the first year of comparable data from the BLS) to 2020, the number of lawyers employed in-house has increased from 34,750 to 115,770 — a 3x increase. Yes, the rapid pace of growth is noteworthy, but equally significant is the relatively large size of the in-house sector.  As a point of comparison, there are 145,600 lawyers (partners, associates, and other attorneys) working in a domestic office of one of the nation’s 500 largest law firms (NLJ 500). (Another 28,100 NLJ 500 lawyers work outside the U.S.)
Continue Reading In-house is bigger than BigLaw (262)


Avoid debate. Build useful stuff.


Earlier this summer, Legal Evolution applied to the Library of Congress for an International Standard Serial Number, or ISSN.  A few weeks ago, we received our official approval. Legal Evolution is ISSN 2769-6161.  You can look us up, along with other publications, at the ISSN Portal.

Most readers have little familiarity with ISSN, primarily because it operates in the background. Its purpose is to track specific titles of ongoing or serialized publications. In essence, it’s part of the inventory control system for the world’s knowledge.  Historically, knowledge has been stored in libraries.  But nowadays, an ever-growing proportion is stored in the Cloud.
Continue Reading Turf, hierarchy, and evolving professional norms (261)


For today’s feature (Post 260), Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome back guest contributor Randy Kiser, whom I’ve previously described as the “preeminent scholar of the U.S. legal profession” and the “world’s leading authority on legal decision making.” See Post 110 (reviewing Kiser’s scholarship and surprising career along with his most recent book,


With today’s feature post (248), Legal Evolution is pleased to welcome Rob Saccone.  One of the most recurring themes on Legal Evolution is how is law is becoming a multidisciplinary field in which lawyers a subset of a larger universe of legal professionals.  Rob’s first post on Legal Evolution, “Platform (r)evolution: how the convergence of talent and technology will reshape service organizations,” is a detailed example of how that future is likely to unfold.

Rob’s specialization is technology, particularly in areas connected to strategy, competitive advantage, and growth. 
Continue Reading Introducing regular contributor Rob Saccone (247)