Several in-house innovators are converging on a set of best practices.


In Competition based on better commercial contract terms (211), I reviewed the current norms surrounding commercial contracting and postulated that the growing transparency regarding what is market for a particular term would cause the market for contracts to evolve from its current souk-like state to something that more closely resembles a modern e-commerce marketplace.  Since that post came out in December 2020, numerous companies have been employing AI tools such as TermScout. and crowd-sourced data such as Bonterms, to make their contracting practices more data-driven.
Continue Reading The emergence of data-driven contracting: notes from the field (292)


“Be engaged, interested in what others have to say. It’s more important to listen than to speak.”


I had the opportunity to discuss legal outsourcing with Colin Levy, who embodies the skills and mindset of the modern T-shaped legal professional.

Colin and I work on opposite ends of the spectrum: he’s an attorney who’s experienced first-hand how outsourcing to an ALSP can impact his career and place of employment. In contrast, I have expertise in helping law firms find and work with ALSPs. When law firms or legal departments choose to outsource to ALSPs, often, no jobs are lost. However, sometimes an ALSP can replace certain functions. I thought it would be interesting to hear one attorney’s perspective on whether ALSPs are a threat to attorney job security in the legal industry.

Below are notes from our discussion.
Continue Reading Legal careers in the age of outsourcing: A conversation with Colin Levy (288)

[click on to enlarge]

The legal profession appears to be on autopilot.


This post is for legal market analysts who are looking for updated and reliable data on the current legal services market. Collectively, its eight graphics reveal several themes that ought to give us pause, as we (the legal profession) may not have unlimited runaway to focus on strategies related to income and profit.

Most of the underlying data come from the Economic Census, which is a detailed ongoing survey of US businesses conducted every five years (years ending in 2 and 7) by the US Census Bureau.  Because of the size and scope of the data collection effort (it’s a census, not a sampling), it takes the full five-year cycle to complete the analysis and release the findings. The final—and in my view, the most interesting—installments were published last fall.
Continue Reading Eight updated graphics on the US legal services market (285)


An honest and candid assessment of corporate legal, circa 2021


Several months ago, before we had even completed our first year of operations, Bill invited us to write a legal market year-in-review.  His reasoning was simple—our business model entails a lot of listening.  Over the past twelve months, we heard the hopes, dreams, and fears of 240 law firms and 327 law departments (corporate legal) spread over 2,600 meetings.

Perhaps you’re anticipating a conversation about what’s hot in Legal Tech and NewLaw.  And back when we accepted Bill’s invitation, that seemed like a logical direction.  Yet, much to our own surprise, we find ourselves writing a year-in-review essay that focuses on the primacy of culture and cultural adaption.
Continue Reading LexFusion’s Legal Market Year in Review (280)


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)


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)


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)


Yvonne Nath shares what she’s learned (so far!).


Any good strategic planning process takes into consideration how to optimize the existing resources you have and what you will decline to pursue. You must be able to make important decisions without having all the information (i.e., you’ll need to take some risks).

The pandemic gave me some time to rethink and revise the strategic plan I have for my life. Not my entire life, of course, but I did map out how I want to live the next 1-2 years of it. You see, strategic plans need to be flexible because the future is not linear. One can plan and prepare for the future yet still be surprised and unprepared by contingencies in life. Ten years ago, I would have never dreamed I would be where I am today. Likewise, my life looks pretty different today than it looked just one year ago. Could you say the same?
Continue Reading 16 lessons learned from a digital nomad (249)


A slice is reserved for everyone who predicts the future of law.


Today is the debut of Anusia Gillespie’s monthly Q&A column on NewLaw Fundamentals.  See Post 243.  This post (241) is an explainer on why we are running Anusia’s series. One part of the explanation is practical.  A second part is deeply analytical and likely of more interest to regular Legal Evolution readers.  Both parts, however, are rooted in the value of humility.
Continue Reading Humble pie diet (241)