How can we keep up with exponential increases in demand and complexity?  Invert the pyramid.


Bill Henderson once advised me not to use the term “industrialization” to describe changes in the legal profession to attorneys. It offends us, and we disengage. But I titled this field note “industrial evolution” because we must embrace industrialization as a necessary and valuable part of our transformation that will elevate the value of our profession in a digital age. Cf. Post 231 (Henderson breaking his own advice for the same reason, comparing legal to the early days of the auto industry).

This post is part of a series that reflects my legal industry learning journey, building upon my career journey (080), professional evolution (143), focus on knowledge work (159), and future practice design theory (210). This installment examines the changes happening now that require us to evolve to serve a civilization experiencing exponential change powered by the fourth industrial revolution, and how we might get there faster, together. See Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (2016) (cognitive automation will produce creative destruction).
Continue Reading Legal evolution is industrial evolution (277)


Putting complex and often intimidating topics into context.


Chapter 8, Technology

No discussion on contracting process improvements is complete without focusing on technology. Scarcely a day goes by without an article, blog, or webinar on legal technology and, more specifically, about artificial intelligence (AI). There are many conferences and webinars about contract management systems—on selecting them, on what to use them for, how to derive greatest benefit, etc. Usually, those educational programs are provided or delivered by the contract management systems providers.

Technology is always at the core of any discussion about innovation, for example, but I maintain it should not be. Before any conversation about technology takes place, there should be an assessment of the current state of the people and processes involved in contracting, which is why this chapter follows my previous chapters on People and Process. Only after a thorough review takes place, and there is agreement within the organization that the right people are doing the right steps in the best order, should a discussion about technology begin.
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part IV: Technology, Metrics & Data, and Outsourcing (272)


The hard work that comes before any discussion of technology


Chapter 5, Playbooks

The need for creating playbooks for templated contracts is a subject of much discussion. This is because playbooks are one of the ways in which contracting is simplified. But they can take many forms. Luckily, distinguishing and differentiating between the necessary types of playbooks is possible without creating too much complexity. Not only are they used to create standardization across a law department, but they also empower the business.

Playbooks educate, create consistency, and are an absolute requirement for any type of outsourcing contract review. I submit for your consideration that there are two basic types of playbooks: The Law Department Playbook and the Empowerment Guide.
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part III: Playbooks, People, and Process (271)

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“Contracts are the lifeline of the company, so it’s no wonder it is an ongoing cycle.”


Chapter 2, What is CLM?

The term contract lifecycle management (CLM) is a hotly discussed topic in legal operations and legal technology circles. It is important to dissect the concept and understand what precisely I am referring to, especially in trying to tackle and improve the contracting lifecycle.
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part II: What is CLM?, Legal Policy Review, Templates (270)


“This book is designed specifically for legal teams to become the lean, mean contracting machines that the business needs.” p 12.


[Editor’s note:  This is a four-part series that excerpts Lucy Bassli’s new book, CLM Simplified. Part I is Bassli’s full Introduction.  Part II excerpts What is CLM?, Legal Policy Review, and Templates (Ch 2-4). Part III excerpts Playbooks, People, and Process (Ch 5-7). Part IV excerpts Technology, Metrics & Data, and Outsourcing (Ch 8-10).
Continue Reading CLM Simplified Part I: Introduction (269)


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)


A law firm with best-in-class ALSP features


I have written before about how the lines between legal service providers are blurring, see, e.g., Lucien Pera & Yvonne Nath, “What If… Chambers Ranks Law Firms Alongside ALSPs?,” Law.com, Aug 20, 2020 (discussing implications of Chambers issuing its first ranking of ALSPs), and I especially enjoy singling out particular NewLaw business models for a closer inspection to show you exactly what I mean, see, e.g., The Post-Pandemic Law Firm (forthcoming Nov 2021).

Today, I feature Radiant Law (with which I have no affiliation).
Continue Reading Radiant Law: a closer look (265)


Millennials were already skeptical of the law firm model. Then the pandemic hit, reinforcing the legal profession’s worst tendencies. A walk through the data.


Law firm leaders generally underestimated the magnitude, duration, and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other experienced but untrained decision-makers, many law firm leaders were excessively optimistic about their firm’s prospects and conceptually limited in defining their firm’s risks.

Even the law firms that met or exceeded their financial aspirations now face a force stronger and more threatening to their business model than COVID-19: disaffected, disenchanted, and disappointed Millennial attorneys constituting nearly one-half of all attorneys in the 400 largest law firms. Thus, lawyers are very much a part of an upheaval in the nation’s workforce that Gallup calls the “The Great Discontent” and “The Great Resignation.”
Continue Reading Millennial attorneys, COVID-19, and innovation (260)

Source: Rob Saccone, Nexlaw Partners

We’re on the ground floor of digital services.


I didn’t like Alexa at first. If she were my assistant, she would have likely ended up on a performance improvement plan had our working relationship not improved.

Over time we grew to better understand each other, and we now converse multiple times a day about news, weather, sports, music, and impulse purchases. My wife and kids have also become everyday users, and in a twist of fate, I occasionally find myself scolding my teens for yelling at Alexa as if she were a family friend instead of a glowing tube of snark and overnight deliveries.
Continue Reading Platform (r)evolution: how the convergence of talent and technology will reshape service organizations (248)


A. Using the wrong approach to innovation, followed by an effective one-by-one approach that did not scale.


The biggest mistake that I made as the US innovation lead at a global law firm was in trying to teach lawyers how to “do” innovation—how to do my job.  My intention was to empower them with NewLaw resources to better solve legal and business of law challenges for their clients.  I felt privileged to have this magic wand of innovation, of robust problem-solving, to offer them.  But I chose the wrong method at the outset.  And, unfortunately for my mandate, intention does not equal perception.
Continue Reading Q. What has been your biggest mistake as an innovation lead? (243)