Legal Productivity Problem


Lawyers are trained to be good at what machines can’t do.


Will the world still need lawyers once AI gets really good?

The short answer is yes—and I believe it will still be yes no matter how good AI gets.  My view is not universally accepted, so I will need to lay it out, and that will involve some claims about what humans are and whether a machine can ever be like that.  This will shed considerable light on what lawyers essentially do, and help us to see how machines can help us to be better lawyers.
Continue Reading Legal’s AI rocket ship will be manned (book review) (232)


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)

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)


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 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)


“It is no exaggeration to say that the Restatement of the common law is the most difficult as well as the most important public work ever undertaken without the aid of government by the legal profession in this or any other country.”  William Draper Lewis, “Present Status of the American Law Institute,” 11 NYU L Rev 337, 343 (1929).

This essay is about the importance and value of building shared “legal infrastructure,” which is a term coined by the eminent economist and law professor Gillian Hadfield in her book, Rules for a Flat World (2017).
Continue Reading Legal infrastructure and the forgotten story of the Restatements (207)


When taught in context, one-to-many law practice is relatively simple and intuitive.


Many of my colleagues in the NewLaw elite often laugh that there’s no such thing as legal project management or data analytics for lawyers.  And I get their point.  The application of decades-old disciplines to the practice of law does not change


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)


Fortunately, there are treatments.


If you work in the legal industry, the above graph from Thomson Reuters’ 2020 Report on the State of the Legal Market should terrify you. What it shows is an industry steadily sliding towards obsolescence, not because the need for legal services is declining but because hiring a lawyer is becoming