Legal professional skepticism of the future value of change investment leads to underinvestment.


A first-pass look at our future.


In earlier Legal Evolution posts, I’ve shared reflections upon my career journey (080), professional evolution (143), and current area of focus (159).  This article describes an investment hypothesis for the upcoming decade focused on building the future of the practice of law [hereafter, “future practice”]. The conclusions are inaccurate, which obviously requires some explanation.

The goal of this essay is to frame the problem, describe the starting direction, and share updates as we get smarter.  Indeed, what we are trying to solve is what policy analysts call a “wicked problem”— a problem so complex that it is highly resistant to resolution.  Because “[t]ackling wicked problems is an evolving art,” Australian Public Service Commission, “Tackling wicked problems: A public policy perspective,” June 12, 2018, we must give away the playbook so that the entire ecosystem can evolve to support our adaptation.
Continue Reading Our wicked problem: Building the future of the practice of law (210)


“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)


How legal services will be evaluated in 2021 and beyond


NewLaw is not what you think it is.  It is not a label to be applied only to new companies with trendy names.  It is a business model that any legal services provider can, in theory, adopt.  Cf. Post 055 (discussing clear evidence that “legal operations is a discipline” for buyers and sellers of legal services and thus not just a role within a legal department). But, while new companies built for it, others have to overcome how they created themselves in the first place.
Continue Reading Metrics of the NewLaw Model (206)

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


A long-game model based on expertise, access, and trust.


This post is a deep dive into LexFusion, a new go-to-market organization founded by Joe Borstein and Paul Stroka.

Longtime readers of Legal Evolution may recall Post 034, which was a profile of the legal industry’s most skillful and accomplished team of consultative


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


Is it time to take a fresh look at how we sell legal tech?


Clients and lawyers are attracted to technology because of the enormous potential for better, faster, and more efficient legal work.  No one in the legal industry disputes that technology is integral to our future.  Despite this relatively positive and uniform outlook, however, legal tech as an industry remains notoriously risky, primarily because of long sales cycles, limited exposure to potential issues and concerns of end-users, and lengthy deployments that fail to deliver on the many promises made in order to make the sale.
Continue Reading A product-led growth strategy for legal tech, explained (197)

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)


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)