In ways that are often self-interested and counterproductive.


Why do I keep banging on about inquiry (i.e., asking good questions rather than advocating an opinion or advice)?  Because it’s so important and we’re  so bad at it.

I still remember the first time I tracked dialogue in a group of lawyer-leaders.   I was working with an executive leadership team in a global law firm and had recommended they read William Noonan’s fantastic article, “Discussing the Undiscussable: Overcoming Defensive Routines in the Workplace,” Harv Bus Rev (May 2011). I was observing one of their meetings and decided to get some data to support my belief that the biggest thing holding them back was the quality of their dialogue.  I drew a 4-box matrix in my notepad and categorized every contribution for an afternoon.  Above is a photo of that page.
Continue Reading How do lawyers use their words in dialogue? (230)

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)

Jumping as metaphor for innovating


The low bar set by an insular, self-satisfied profession.


The legal profession is stymied by an innovation crisis. We lack the bold ideas, new models, and financial commitments necessary to address our acute dilemmas and deficiencies in law firm efficiency, client satisfaction, legal education, law student indebtedness, racial injustice, lack of diversity in law firms


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

Photo by Jeremy AAsum on Unsplash

If blazing a new path is your only option, it’s also your best option. Make the most of it.


[Editor’s note:  If readers pick up a copy of Richard Susskind’s Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2nd ed. 2017) and flip to page 135, they’ll see a table captioned “New jobs for lawyers.” This table is reproduced belowRichard writes, “these are the jobs that flow quite clearly from the arguments and claims of this book.” 
Continue Reading One student’s career journey into legal tech (196)

Dinners, field trips, and social events connected with IU Maurer NY Externship Program [click on to enlarge]

Building relationships while opening doors for the next generation.


Breaking into a large competitive market is not easy, particularly for those with no local connections. Yet, for those of us on the inside, it is just as important to maintain and grow our network, including the next generation of up-and-coming professionals.

Professor Henderson has invited me to tell the story about how a program I created at IU Maurer Law serves both needs, creating a community of law graduates with a common set of values and real staying power. Hopefully, this is useful to alumni at other law schools who are looking for an opportunity to make a difference.
Continue Reading An alumni community in action (192)

“You’ve got your work cut out for you” by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

“There are only two ways for a manager to improve the output of an employee: motivation and training.”

— Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things (2014) at 110.

Several years ago, I had the good fortune of having dinner with David Burgess, the Publishing Director of The Legal 500, a global research company that compiles detailed rankings of law firms based on jurisdiction and practice area.
Continue Reading Lawyers and teamwork, Part I: Motivation (188)


Plenty. It’s our opportunity to make a quantum leap forward.


Legal Evolution readers are likely familiar with law firm competency models that define the skills and capacities of their lawyers, including the stages of development. In response to changes in the accreditation requirements, law schools have been slowly moving toward what is called Competency-Based Legal