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The legal profession’s commitment to diversity has a credibility problem.


Since the early 2000s, law departments and law firms have advanced ambitious public initiatives to diversify the legal profession. In law firm power centers, however, the disconnect between public proclamations and empirical reality is staggering.
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Probably not. Maybe Legal Evolution isn’t a blog.


Starting today, Legal Evolution will move to a biweekly Sunday publication schedule with occasional off-cycle posts connected to noteworthy developments. Then, over the summer of 2020–from Memorial Day to Labor Day–we’ll resume weekly publication. This is a publication schedule keyed to the academic year and the same as last year. See Post 065 (announcing 2018-2019 schedule).
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Our profession evolves through people. Some are stepping up.


Everyday, when I am paying attention, the world is nudging me to let go of something wrong and unhelpful. A friend of mine calls it “dropping the rock.”  The rock is an assumption about how the world operates that can’t be reconciled with an honest evaluation of facts and experience.
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Source: Randall Kiser, DecisionSet

American law firms are threatened by acute needs and limited capabilities in three domains: leadership, meaning, and service.


Media attention shifts rapidly from law firm profitability to gender bias and from technology to new lateral partners. Yet, if we pull back to conduct a deeper analysis, what we observe is a law firm sector grappling with three interrelated threats that are seldom the focus of sustained attention:  insufficient leadership, attorneys’ lack of meaning and purpose in their work, and client service. As shown in the above graphic, these three domains are the linchpins of law firm performance and sustainability.
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Culture. Character. Practices. Systems.


When it comes to empirical research on lawyers, we’re all lightweights compared to Randall Kiser.  Over the last decade, Kiser has authored books on lawyer decision making in the context of litigation, Beyond Right and Wrong (2010), the mindset and work habits of trial lawyers who consistently outperform their peers, How Leading Lawyers Think (2011), and an empirically grounded analysis of the skills and behaviors needed to build a successful legal career, Soft Skills for the Effective Lawyer (2017).
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Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

The last decade saw a sustained uptick in funding into the legal vertical. So what is all that capital accomplishing? Quite a lot, actually.


The legal industry is full of opinions – and so it is full of noise. In 2019, 🤦‍♂️ facepalming and 🙄 eyerolling at innovation hype is still very much in vogue, and so a lot of the noise is 😒 negative 😠 in tone.

Amidst all the noise, though, I see very clear signals of meaningful change.
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Source: Salesforce

Legal technology platforms, including PaaS, explained.


When you’re closing in on the end of your second decade doing something, as I am in the legal technology field, you’re going to experience many transformations.  And I think it’s safe to say that, in the field of technology, the pace of change is not dissimilar to the springtime waters of the Copper River in Alaska when salmon swim into the rushing rapids — a lot of effort to travel a short distance to achieve a critically important goal.
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A legal technologist who can write


In May, I published Post 092, which provided guidelines for guest contributors.  My primary goal — or more accurately, highest hope — was to find a few professionals who possessed the communication skills to explain very technical but important topics to Legal Evolution readers, particularly in areas related to legal technology.
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Marcus Arnold and Michael Lewis, © Capital Pictures

In this post, I tell an old Michael Lewis story that bears on the law. Remarkably, most of the insights come from a 15-year-old boy named Marcus Arnold, pictured above with Lewis circa 2001.  I then review the U.K.’s journey to market liberalization, including the repeal of the British version of Model Rule 5.4.  
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