Skip to Main Content

Ahead of the Curve

March 2018

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.


    

"CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER — THE NEW STAR ON LEGAL TEAMS"

"Over the past few years, forward-thinking law firms have expanded their talent pools to include a chief innovation officer, whose responsibilities include spearheading the implementation of technology. Such a move is a smart one, and the right CINO can be a star player on most law firms’ teams."

Read more. (requires free subscription)

Resource: Mark Williamson, Law360.com


"QUANTUM COMPUTING AND BLOCKCHAIN AS A TEAM SPORT"

What jet fuel is to a rail dragster, Quantum computing will be to Blockchain and AI! IBM is doubling down on these technologies with Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, leading the charge (you go, girl!). IBM Quantum computing will lead to New Collar job opportunities (jobs where people work with technology in everything they do). And, blockchain (a team sport because you have to have a team of players in order to make a blockchain work ... and, the more players, especially with Quantum computing, the better) is already being developed by some of the country's largest companies ... IBM, WalMart and Maersk. Heads up!

Read more.

Resource: Jason Bloomberg, Forbes


"IN 2018, LAW FIRMS WILL FACE GREATER CHALLENGES THAN SLOW GROWTH"

"A new report by Citi Private Bank's Law Firm Group finds that a slow-growth market for legal services will not abate in 2018. That's just one of several issues facing managing partners as their partnerships continue to age and more competitors squeeze onto their turf."

Read more. (requires free subscription)

Resource: Roy Strom, The American Lawyer


"THE MOST EXPENSIVE MISTAKE LEADERS CAN MAKE"

"Traditional performance management systems consume an enormous amount of an organization's time and money. Based on various estimates, the cost of lost time due to traditional performance evaluations ranges from $2.4 million to $35 million per year for companies with 10,000 employees.

And yet the evidence is clear — the impact of these review programs has been dismal. What's more, many of these review processes have been found to actually hurt organizations rather than help. According to Gallup analytics, only 14% of employees strongly agree that the performance reviews they receive inspire them to improve.

For leaders, this is not merely a question about your front line — it's about how you develop future managers and leaders.

Failing to develop leaders is the single most expensive mistake a leader can make."

Read more.

Resource: Simon Cooper and Jim Harter, Gallup


"WHAT MARKETING TRENDS DOES YOUR FIRM NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2018?"

"With 2018 sure to be another interesting year — both in terms of the internet marketing world and the world at large — we’re thrilled to present our annual law firm marketing trends report. Each year we prepare this report as a touchstone for the state of the industry and where we see it headed."

Read more.

Resource: The Black Fin Team


"STAGNATION AND THE LEGAL INDUSTRY (PART 2): WHAT REAL TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE COULD LOOK LIKE"

"...radical transformation isn’t just about tweaking how legal services are delivered, it is about re-thinking legal services at a fundamental level. Many will find this unsettling. The law, they believe, is well-settled in many areas and should not be disturbed. But, if that law does not fit today’s reality, why should we tie ourselves to it? From a client’s perspective, why rely on laws that are out of date and can’t address modern legal problems, just because they represent “settled legal precedent.” Would you expect your doctor to stick with early 20th century notions of medicine just because they were well-settled? Would you want your doctor to seek out data on modern treatments? Why should the rules that govern the relationships between and among people be any different?"

Read more.

Resource: Ken Grady, The Algorithmic Society


"WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?"

The rapid surge in the price of Bitcoin has brought discussion on cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) into the mainstream. But why all the hype? Before diving into such topics, it is important to have a foundation on the technology behind cryptocurrencies: blockchain.

Blockchain is shorthand for a whole suite of a distributed ledger technologies that can be programmed to record and track anything of value, from financial transactions, medical records or land titles.

This video is an accessible introduction to blockchain technology: how it tracks and stores data, how it fosters trust, and how it facilitates peer-to-peer transactions without the involving middlemen like bankers or lawyers.

Blockchain’s potential for underpinning online interaction is limitless. But, much like the rise of the internet, this new technology brings with it complex questions around governance, international law, security, and economics.

Read more.

Resource: Centre for International Governance Innovation


"BIG IDEAS: HAS THE TIME ARRIVED FOR A NEW WAVE OF RETIREMENT PLAN REFORMS?"

It took 30 years for major pension reform to happen in 2006. While there have been minor changes in the law since that time, no major changes in concepts have developed. There are a few bills circulating in Congress regarding changes in pension reform. The latest discussions focuses on forcing all employers (with over 10 employees) to have a plan in place or the potential of utilizing a multiple employer plan (MEP). A multiple employer plan would allow small employers to join into a larger plan. 

Read more. (requires a free subscripton)

Resource: John Manganaro, Plan Adviser Magazine


"AN AI ‘SPELL-CHECK FOR LAWYERS,’ BUT WILL THEY TRUST IT?"

Numerous studies show that although frequent culture shifts and restructurings have become the norm at most organizations, many leaders still haven't gotten change initiatives right. 

Read more. (requires free subscription)

Resource: Roy Strom, originally published in The American Lawyer


"ORGANIZATIONS NEED TO PROVE THEY VALUE WOMEN"

Jane Miller hits it on the mark every single time she writes an article regarding women in the workplace. Recently, I was speaking with a rising star millennial about how misunderstood women's goals can be in the workplace. As a female leader and mother, I am just as guilty as my male counterparts in trying to assume what working women want and how or where they should spend their time. Lindsay reminded me that women want flexibility and leadership support, but it's up to them to call the shots on how and when they get their work done — not their boss.

Read more.

Resource: Jane Miller, Gallup


"10 WAYS TO SPOT A TRULY EXCEPTIONAL EMPLOYEE"

"A recent international study surveyed more than 500 business leaders and asked them what sets great employees apart. The researchers wanted to know why some people are more successful than others at work, and the answers were surprising; leaders chose “personality” as the leading reason." 

Read more.

Resource: Travis Bradberry, Contributor, Forbes


"ADAPTING FOR DIGITAL SURVIVAL"

"The digital revolution has changed the way we all do business, but it also changes how we live our lives on a daily basis, including how we buy our goods and spend our time. For financial executives, this influences the way their businesses operate and their daily activities in performing their own professional services. And for those financial executives who are slow to update their skills and knowledge or are slow to change company financial structure and systems, the coming changes will likely cause great harm to their careers and their companies’ success." 

This article focuses on corporate environments, but reading through and learning about the game-changing technologies we all need to understand these technologies will ultimately affect our firms in some fashion or another.

Read more.

Resource: Marc J. Epstein, Strategic Finance


"NO EXCUSE FOR FIDUCIARY IGNORANCE"

"It is amazing that almost 44 years after ERISA became law, 38 years after 401(k) plans appeared, and 20 years after 401(k)s surpassed defined benefit plans as the most common form of retirement plan for the private sector, approximately half of defined contribution plan executives do not consider themselves fiduciaries."

Plan executives need to review their fiduciary responsibilities and understand the range of items under their control. The biggest responsibility is understanding their role in monitoring the daily work. If plan executives do not understand these responsibilities, they are leaving the plan and themselves open to fiduciary breach lawsuits.

Read more. (requires a free subscription)

Resource: Editorial, Pensions & Investments Magazine


"10 THINGS WE’VE LEARNED IN 10 YEARS (CLIO)"

This is a great article that looks at where cloud-based software has come in ten years and where it's going. Cloud-based time and billing platforms such as Clio have really shaken up the legal software space, in a good way. While this article is somewhat self-promoting, it is very well written and insightful.

"Over the past 10 years, Clio co-founders Jack Newton and Rian Gauvreau have grown Clio from two to 250 employees, and from a new product to something that’s used by 150,000 legal professionals in 90 different countries. Along the way, they’ve learned a lot — about lawyers, technology, and themselves.

Here, Jack and Rian speak about the 10 most important things they’ve learned over the past 10 years."

Read more.

Resource: Clio, Above the Law


"DEPRECIATION CHANGES UNDER TAX REFORM"

Take note of dramatic changes to depreciation under the new tax and plan your large purchases accordingly.

Read more.

Resource: Tony Nitti, Forbes.com


"MEALS & ENTERTAINMENT CHANGES FOR 2018"

Tax reform will change or eliminate many deductions law firms currently enjoy for entertaining their clients. This article explains the changes.

Read more.

Resource: Allen Toben and Howard M. Wagner, Crowe Horwath


ALA Thumb

    

PROFESSIONAL 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