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Ahead of the Curve

October 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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"CAN YOUR FIRM ANSWER THE TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY?"

Bitcoin and Blockchain technology bring a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace, and many law firms are working to be able to address client questions and concerns. This article highlights the fact that "No one wants an attorney or firm who is not well-versed in this space...” “Many of the financial institutions are acutely interested in it...” "Cooley partner Marco Santori, a blockchain expert who moved to the firm from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman last year, is chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation Regulatory Affairs Committee. In August, Baker & Hostetler, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe became part of a new group called the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium, which aims to set standards around the interoperability and security of blockchain systems."

"AS BANKERS BASH BITCOIN, THEIR LAWYERS SING A DIFFERENT TUNE"

Read more.

Resource: Miriam Rosen

"NEW LEGAL BLOCKCHAIN CONSORTIUM LOOKS TOWARD IDENTITY VERIFICATION, LEGAL TECH ECOSYSTEMS"

Read more.

Resource: Gabrielle Orum Hernandez


"IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO PLAN FOR MANAGEMENT TRANSITION"

"Navigating a transition in the management of a law firm can be daunting and troublesome, but it is an absolutely necessary endeavor for the long-term survival of the firm. While many firms have been in operation for 50-plus years, it is easy to rattle off a list of firms that have imploded or disintegrated after experiencing decades of success. Nothing lasts forever. As the Second Law of Thermodynamics says, entropy (disorder) is always increasing in an isolated system. That does not mean that one shouldn’t try to preserve a law firm that has strong name recognition and a good internal culture. It does mean, however, that doing so requires an investment of considerable effort and energy to keep it from following the natural tendency to splinter and dissolve."

Read more.

Resource: David R. Pierce, Law Practice Today


"NEWER TECHNOLOGIES WILL CHANGE THE WORLD OF WORK"

AI, chatbots will change workforce by 2021, researchers forecast.

Read more.

Resource: Aliah D. Wright, SHRM


"YOU MIGHT HAVE MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT, BUT DATA FLOW REMAINS A RISK"

A new report from Wandera reveals that securing employee mobile devices requires a balancing act between security protocols and mobility needs.

Read more.

Resource: Gabrielle Orum Hernandez, Legal Tech News


"9 TIPS FOR USING HR METRICS STRATEGICALLY"

"Metrics essentially give us a way of qualifying the health of our organization, and, to that end, HR metrics are now different,” says Ross Sparkman, head of strategic workforce planning for Facebook in Menlo Park, Calif. “They’re measuring how the HR function is doing as a whole and also how we’re leveraging the people in the organization to maximize the performance of the company."

Read more.

Resource: Mark Feffer, HR Magazine, SHRM


"LAW FIRMS, REGULATORS KEEP EYE ON BIG FOUR MOVE TO LEGAL SERVICES"

"The Big Four accounting firms’ moves into legal consulting services are capturing the attention of law firms wary of stronger competition and U.S. regulators keen to prevent such services from violating auditor independence rules." This is one more example of how the delivery of legal services is ever changing." 

Read more.

Resource: Steve Burkholder, Bloomberg BNA


"FOUR OPERATIONS METRICS TO REDUCE RISK"

"CFOs can begin to control continuous risks—those with both direct and indirect costs—by instituting four operational performance measures in their departments. These won’t require new technology, but they will require a persistent willingness to challenge the status quo. CFOs produce the instrumentation that populates the dashboards for management in the business units; it’s now time for them to comprehend the consequences and take full accountability for their related operations." 

Read more.

Resource: Christopher Wilds, Strategic Magazine 


"EYE TRACKING FOR BETTER REPORTS"

With the exponential growth in data and numerous ways in which to display this data the creator of a report needs to identify the best way to display the data. With the considerations of type of report, smartphones, tablets, and screen sizes report formatting has a new trend. "Eye tracking analyzes the eye movements (also called scanpaths) of people who are reading a report. These scanpaths make the visual perception of the report reader transparent and provide a method to objectively measure the effectiveness of different representation formats."  This article outlines the importance of identifying the right format and includes a case study related to utilizing this new trend of eye tracking. 

Read more.

Resource: Heimo Losbichler and Nina Michels-Kim, CMA, Strategic Finance Magazine


"3 REASONS GOOGLE IS YOUR NEW HOME PAGE"

This article gives compelling reason why your “Google” info needs to be complete and super strong ... 35% of Google searches for businesses are getting no further clicks. This means someone is only going to Google you to call you, check your hours, check your reviews, etc. 

Read more.

Resource: Mike Ramsey


"WHY ARE LAW FIRMS FALLING BEHIND?"

"Attorneys are losing their once-revered position as a business’ most-trusted advisor. Other professionals are edging them out, especially accountants and consultants. Something of a parallel might be found in what happened to the American auto industry in the 1970s when Japanese and European manufacturers made their first serious inroads into Detroit’s dominant market position. Several years later, Lee Iacocca — who saved Chrysler from near collapse and liquidation — was asked by the CBS News show Sunday Morning how the Big Three could have allowed this to happen. His answer was blunt and accurate: “Nothing is more vulnerable than entrenched success.” A similar earthquake is shaking up the business of law. As recently as 10 years ago, often a lawyer was the most-reliable and easily-available source of advice to executives, managers and business owners." 

Read more.

Resource: Jim Blywis


"THAT LAW FIRM'S WEBSITE MIGHT NOT BE FOR A REAL LAW FIRM"

A new white paper examines a growing trend of fraudsters posing as attorneys or legal consultants online to exploit those seeking legal services. 

Read more.

Resource: Gabrielle Orum Hernández, Legaltech News


"WILL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ELIMINATE MY JOB?"

Where is AI taking us? "The internet has a wealth of knowledge to help us with this through professional associations and specialized university programs offered both online and at brick-and-mortar locations. No, it isn’t easy keeping a job in the 21st Century, but it can be rewarding if we’re aware of the trends and continue learning to stay ahead of them. May you successfully automate and “eliminate your job” many times during your career! 

Read more.

Resource: Rod Koch, CMA, PMA Strategic Finance


"WHEN MANAGERS MAKE EMOTIONAL BUSINESS DECISIONS"

"This research has provided several important takeaways for companies that want to know more about how managers respond in certain emotionally charged situations. First, evidence from brain activity confirmed that emotions actually are important drivers of decisions, and it doesn’t matter how employees are compensated—that regularity persists. Emotional responses are hardwired into every person’s brain, so there may be ramifications to companies whose workplace environments heighten employees’ emotional reactions or that pit colleagues against one another."

Read more.

Resource: Cindy Mitchell and Eileen Whitaker, Peer to Peer Magazine, ILTA


"DO YOU HAVE A CHIEF DATA SCIENTIST AT YOUR FIRM?"

There are a host of new technologies available to help solve legal problems: artificial intelligence, machine learning, practice management technology, automated document assembly, predictive coding and mapping technology. They are getting much attention in the corporate world and filtering into the legal industry.  Orrick has built a data analytics team that is incorporating technology and legal knowledge in innovative ways.  This article looks at the people and skills needed to make legal work more efficient via technology and data.

Read more.

Resource: Wendy Butler Curtis and Kate Orr, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Legal Technology News


"WE'RE NOT THERE YET, NOT EVEN CLOSE"

"The lack of success in climbing the professional ladder (for women), such as in law, medicine, and Dr. Yellen’s field, economics, can be attributed, to a certain extent, to what is required in these careers: longer workweeks and penalties for taking time off, whether it be for vacation, child care, elder care, or the broad range of non-work responsibilities that fall to women. In our profession, failure to meet billable hours results in damage, both direct monetary loss and collateral reputational risk.

Dr. Yellen’s speech quoted Malala Yousafzai, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” Couple that with the NAWL 2017 survey results. There is still a lot of “holding back.” Whether dinosaurial or millennial or anywhere in between, women lawyers know all too well what Malala is talking about. It’s like being on that interminable road trip pestering our parents with “are we there yet?” Nope, we’re not even close."

Read more.

Resource: Jill Switzer, Above the Law


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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