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Week in Review (October 15-19, 2012)

October 19, 2012

Another big week in the Blogosphere.  Here are the articles that I found informative and well worth the read.  As always, this list is not exhaustive and I encourage you to add other worthy contenders below.

  • Law 21’s “And the walls came down“:  Dang it!  This is the piece I wish I had written.  A must read, as Jordan succinctly:
    • “explain[s] the challenges facing the legal profession today and outline[s] the contours of the legal market of tomorrow.”
    • No need for a summary here, just click on the link above and follow John Wallbillich of WiredGC’s advice:  “1) read this 2) print this 3) read again, 4) read a 3rd time, taking notes.”  ‘Nuf said.
  • Dr. Silvia Hodges’Color Within the Lines When Dealing With Procurement“:  Discussing the rise of Procurement in sourcing legal services and providing guidance to law firms with this process.  I have recently provided “Cliff Notes” and client takeaways of this excellent article here (or just scroll one post down).
  • Adam Smith, Esq.’sGrowth is Dead:  Part 6“:  The latest in Bruce MacEwen’s highly followed series.  I previously summarized the first five parts here.  Part 6 posits that because of the “Great Reset” that hit the legal industry in 2008, BigLaw must fundamentally change the way we do things: we must, in other words, innovate.  Innovation necessarily involves failure, and MacEwen argues that lawyers, by their DNA, cannot tolerate failure:
    • “Other industries, and companies, learn through failure.  We bury our failures.  But this fault – and make no mistake, it’s a categorical fault – is in our nature as lawyers.  We cannot willingly enter into situations where failure comes with the territory.  We can’t weather the criticism, can’t risk the second-guessing, don’t have the emotional fortitude or resilience to explain why what we did was a thoughtfully calculated risk and one we’d do again.  I submit that our rigid intolerance for failure is so extreme and ultimately perverse that it disables us from being capable of sound decisionmaking.
    • Bruce sounds awfully pessimistic about BigLaw saving itself, but leaves us hanging – one more installment to follow.  I must respectfully disagree with Bruce’s focus on the above reasoning and his assessment that lawyers are:
    • “Statistically innumerate and implacable in our refusal to entertain probabilities, odds, reasoned judgments, and cost/benefit tradeoffs.”  I would argue that this is exactly what lawyers are supposed to do, but have not been doing because of the tyranny of the billable hour and the ascension of PPP as king.  Or to put it more bluntly – their unchecked greed.  Not only unchecked, but fueled by a self-regulated monopoly that (until very recently) excluded all but themselves to practice Law.  Okay, so maybe that wasn’t so “respectful” to Big Law, but I certainly mean no disrespect to Mr. MacEwen and his excellent series.  And from a client’s perspective, I don’t really need to know why you got into the problem, or whether you can get out.  I just need to know how the problem affects me, which is exactly what the “Growth is Dead” series has provided in spades in his earlier installments.

Whew.  That’s a wrap for this week.  Now back to paying the bills before another fabulous weekend…

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