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Ahead of the Curve

April 2017 

PURPOSE

The Professional Development Advisory Committee’s (PDAC) purpose in providing you this communication is to further its goal of periodically sharing topical information regarding the legal industry. Our hope is that one or more of the updates will provide a spark of insight to assist with your work on behalf of ALA as well as within your firm or legal department.


Past Issues

2017

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"ACC ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR LAW FIRM CYBERSECURITY MEASURES"

"The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global legal association representing more than 42,000 in-house counsel in 85 countries, today announced the release of safety guidelines for outside counsel who have access to sensitive company data as part of their engagements with corporate law departments. The guidelines, "Model Information Protection and Security Controls for Outside Counsel Possessing Company Confidential Information," will serve as a benchmark for law firm cybersecurity practices." Read more

Resource: Association of Corporate Counsel


"BEWARE THE W-2 PHISHING SCAM"

"As the tax filing season ramps up for 2017, we have already seen a number of successful attempts to obtain W-2 forms from unsuspecting employees." Read more.

Resource: Patrick H. Haggerty, Kathryn C. Mellinger


"BEYOND BUZZWORDS: THIS CIO SAYS TECH IS ABOUT MAKING YOUR LAW FIRM BETTER THAN OTHERS"

Bryan Cave's Katie DeBord credits her competitive nature for her leadership with technology at the firm. Read more.

Resource: Ian Lopez, Legaltech News


"CORPORATE PROCUREMENT IS INCREASINGLY LEVERAGING DATA & TECHNOLOGY IN SELECTING OUTSIDE COUNSEL"

"In-house legal departments and outside law firms are looking for ways to become more efficient and effective." Read more.

Resource: Amanda Ciccatelli


"MILLENNIALS: THE FUTURE WORKFORCE"

"Financially, the cost of hours of training new staff without work experience might seem to make hiring millennials a big a risk to undertake. Millennials are perceived as having advanced technological skills and find it easier than older generations to access information and transform it into new opportunities via technology.

College graduates are also less expensive to an organization when one compares the cost of their salaries and benefits to those of more experienced employees. They tend to have fewer family responsibilities and more time to invest in their work, career, and in the organization. In addition, recent graduates who lack prior work experience can be a blessing in disguise for two reasons: they don’t bring previously learned bad habits and they are willing to learn." Read more.

Resource: Maria Angela Marquez, HR Florida Review Magazine


"IS YOUR LAW FIRM RUNNING 'ENCRYPTION LIGHT?"

"Gone are the days of 14-year-old hackers. “This has turned into an organized enterprise,” Ruppert said. “These are now sophisticated, well-designed, targeted campaigns.” Before joining Schwab, Ruppert had a career in the FBI’s cybercrime division. He suggested that of the two billion emails sent every day, one in seven contains a phishing link. The profession continues to address this (cybersecurity) issue today. While the risk may in fact vary, the only reasonable action for lawyers is to communicate and collaborate with clients using encrypted transmission. If convenience determines the method of delivery, the most convenient method is to protect it all. Assuming the likelihood of risk of encroachment must be taken seriously." Read more.

Resource: Nina Cunningham, Altman Weil, Legaltech News


"LAW FIRMS EMBRACE MANUFACTURING PRINCIPLES"

"But can the techniques that have made production lines at factories and research labs more efficient work to modernize the bureaucratic ways of conventional law firms?" Twin Cities law firms embrace ideas from factories to lower costs, improve efficiency. Read more.

Resource: Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune   


"NEW APPROACH TO LAW FIRM MERGERS: LESSONS LEARNED FROM 15 YEARS OF CONSOLIDATION"

"Law firm mergers have had mixed results. By combining forces, firms have been able to accelerate growth, quickly penetrate new markets, and build some of the legal world’s most recognized brands. Transforming that new-found scale into stronger growth or greater profitability, however, has been more difficult than many firms anticipated." Read more.

Resource: Nicholas Bruch, Senior Analyst ALM Legal Intelligence 


"2017 REPORT IN THE STATE OF THE LEGAL MARKET"

"The past decade has seen unprecedented change and disruption in the legal market. Sparked by the Great Recession of 2008, the pressure on today's law firms is more intense than ever. As the market evolves over time, there will be winners and there will be losers. According to this year's report, here are four important areas to which your law firm should pay close attention:

► Unrelenting Focus on Profitability

► Focus on Expanding Your Leverage Model

► Clear Focus on Your Firm’s Core Practice Areas

► New Focus on Supply Chain Management 

As Charles Darwin observed in his theory of evolution, the species with the best chance of survival is not always the strongest and the smartest. They are the ones most adaptable to changes in the environment." Read more.

Resource: Georgetown Law and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor


"2017 GLOBAL WORKPLACE TRENDS"

"Our intention is for our trends story to resonate with individuals and organizations across a spectrum of different workplaces. We want it to feed conversations that spur new thinking and dialogue around the way we live and work, the ways work is changing, and ultimately the environments and cultures that will define the workplace of the future." Read more.

Resource:  Sodexo


"ACCOUNTANTS AND TECH: A GAME CHANGER?"

"Technology is changing faster than business practice or education can keep up. New storage, data analysis, and cloud computing tools have facilitated the creation, collection, and use of Big Data. This shift has led employers, particularly in public accounting, to call for accountants to increase their understanding of current technologies and data analytics. As a result, companies are increasingly looking for people with expertise in Linux, OpenStack, NoSQL, Apache Hadoop, and Apache Spark. A solid understanding of these technologies would enable accountants to collect, transform, analyze, and visualize data." Read more.

Resource: Joshua G. Coyne, Emily M. Coyne and Kenton B. Walker, Strategic Finance


"BETTING ON BLOCKCHAIN"

"For anyone who has puzzled over the significance of bitcoin but has largely sidestepped any rigorous investigation of the technology behind it, a quick primer. A blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, meaning it is shared by many users over a peer-to-peer computer network. The ledger itself is made up of “blocks” of data, each of which has been assigned a unique digital identifier, or “hash.” Each block of hashed data is built on the block that came before it, ensuring a complete, highly transparent, auditable trail of information on an ever-growing “blockchain” that cannot be changed or altered." Read more.

Resource: Randy Myers, CFO Magazine


"HARVARD LAW SCHOOL TO START ACCEPTING GRE IN LIEU OF LSAT SCORES"

The legal profession remains the least diverse profession in America. Harvard will start accepting GRE scores in lieu of LSAT scores for law school admission to cast a broader economic net of applicants after a study with the ABA indicated both scores were an equal indicator of first year law school academic performance. Will more law schools follow suite to increase diversity in the profession? Read more.

Resource: Renwei Chung


"THE BLOCKCHAIN WILL DO TO THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM WHAT THE INTERNET DID TO MEDIA"

"The primary use and even the values of the people using new technologies and infrastructure tend to change drastically as these technologies mature. This will certainly be true for blockchain technology." Read more.

Resource: Joichi Ito, Neha Narula and Robleh Ali, Harvard Business Review


"HOW MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD REDUCES EMPLOYEE TURNOVER"

There has been powerful research in the past two years that demonstrate time after time, the number one important work motivator for Millennials is: Making an Impact. They want to know if they are making a difference in the world and if their work matters, both in and outside of the company. The legal industry, at least the for-profit sector, struggles with the practical aspects of community service implementation. This article is inspiring and perhaps a kick-starter to give way to why thinking bigger and doing better would serve firms better from not only an employee engagement factor but also a business development factor. As more and more Millennials begin to make the purchasing decisions for their companies, a law firm's commitment to the community and world, will make a difference to the bottom line. Read more.

Resources: Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick


"UNTANGLING THE MYSTERY OF CYBERSECURITY INSURANCE"

"There are more technology options available to protect businesses than ever before, and both the U.S. government and private industry have made great strides in combating common cyber threats." Read more.

Resource: Sean Cooney, Keesal Young & Logan, Legaltech News



ALA ThumbPROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Sharon Meit Abrahams, EdD — Foley & Lardner LLP

Jennifer Colwell, CLM, MBA — McGill, Gotsdinger, Workman, & Lepp

Kevin Costello — Holland & Knight LLP

Tammy Cowser, PHR, CP — Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

Lisa Dasher, CLM, CPA, CGMA — Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford P.A.

Rick Hellers — nQueue Billback LLC

Lana McGinnis, CLM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP — Sturgill Turner Barker& Moloney, PLLC

Paul Morton — Burns & Levinson LLP

Stephen Wolf, CLM — Deutsch Kerrigan & Stiles, LLP

ALA Board of Directors Liaison to Committee

James Cornell III — Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, PC

ALA Liaison to Committee

Patricia S. Carrera, JD, CKM, CPLP — ALA's Sr. Director, Member Experience

pcarrera@alanet.org; 847-267-1252