In-House Legal Departments


Collecting data to evaluate how they work together


The relationship between different business functions and legal teams is fundamental to the speed, adaptability, and value achieved within their individual functions and, by proxy, the organization itself. But what is that relationship like?
Continue Reading Survey on the intersection of Legal & Business (268)


Trading ego for effectiveness, friendship, and purpose.


Joe Borstein and Paul Stroka asked me to get naked with them. I said yes. Then Bill asked me to write about it. So here we are.

Now that you’re hooked by the clickbait headline and the tease, we must, naturally, commence with an anecdotal aside before I explain why the platitudinous “our customers are our business” is especially true for LexFusion, why “everyone talks to us because everyone talks to us,” and what these say about the evolution of the  broader legal innovation ecosystem.
Continue Reading Getting naked with colleagues and clients (267)


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)


So we’re gonna change too.


In last month’s column (Post 253), we defined NewLaw as a significantly different approach to the creation or provision of legal services than what the legal profession traditionally has employed. Thus, it is reasonable to ask …

Q.  Why do we need a different approach?

It may seem the old ways are working just fine. Law firms are making money, clients are delivering services to their businesses, the wheels keep turning. And if ain’t broke, don’t fix it … right?
Continue Reading The needs of clients are changing (258)


An early example of where things are headed.


In Post 228, Paula Doyle, Chief Legal Innovation Officer at the World Commerce and Contracting Association (WorldCC), made the claim that inefficiencies in the current commercial contracting process likely cost the global economy more than $1 trillion annually. We reach this figure by adding up the massive second-order effects caused by excessive contract complexity and poor process:
Continue Reading Case study: impact of AI and Big Data on low-risk contract negotiations (236)


Big data insights on tap, just like water, gas, or electric.


Every day of the year buyers and sellers enter into millions of contracts covering the purchase and sale of billions of dollars worth of goods and services.  Each one of these transactions requires each party to analyze the governing agreement to assess whether the agreement fits within its risk profile.

This analysis commonly is performed in one of two ways: (1) the party accepts whatever risk may be in the contract with no real analysis, or (2) a legal expert conducts an unstructured review and issues his or her opinion regarding the agreement.
Continue Reading Can contract analysis operate like a utility? (225)

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)