Ahead of the Curve
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.
Two forthcoming startups are looking to leverage Big Data to help attorneys and judges retain or critique expert witnesses. Read more.
Resource: Gabrielle Orum Hernández, Legaltech News
"After many attempts to get a client to pay a bill seriously in arrears, attorney Charles Krugel showed up at the client’s place of business and asked for the money." Read more.
Resource: Marc Davis, ABA Journal
"Unfortunately for lawyers and the public we serve, not enough lawyers are using social media. And the vast majority of lawyers using social media are doing a darn poor job of it." Read more.
Resource: Kevin O'Keefe, ABA Journal
Alternative fee arrangements provide great opportunities for law firms to partner with clients and strengthen relationships. However, not every matter may be appropriate for an alternative fee or in the law firm’s best interest. Read more.
"While I acknowledge the vital role that culture plays with respect to defining each law firm’s working environment, creating expected behaviors, and establishing a “glue” among the lawyers, I am increasingly seeing law firms where their cultures are not evolving with the times and needs of the firm." Read more.
"Employers don't have to accommodate any alcohol or illicit drug use in the workplace, but they must be careful not to discriminate against workers with a history of substance abuse who are no longer using." Read more.
Increasing numbers of Baby Boomers and the Great Recession have focused the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and private senior advocate organizations on the issue of age discrimination, especially in hiring practices." Read more.
"The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, prohibits treating someone unfavorably in the workplace because of a disability, a history of a disability, or because he or she is believed to have a disability. Like other anti-discrimination laws, the ADA forbids discrimination as to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, training, fringe benefits, and other terms of employment." Read more.
"My employee uses his personal smartphone for everything in his entire life, personal and work-related. Should I reimburse him in some manner?" Read more.
Resource: Risk Management Plus+ Online
The liabilities companies face due to vendor cybersecurity incidents can vary widely depending on the particular situation and the actions they take beforehand. Read more.
Resource: Rhys Dipshan, Legaltech News
Some employment lawyers have begun to encourage having hiring partners and direct managers walled off from their subordinates' social media accounts. Read more.
Resource: Miriam Rozen, The Am Law Daily
"It only takes minutes for [cybercriminals] to compromise your system, but it's taking days and days for you to determine you've been infiltrated. Basic security fundamentals is what wins the day including training staff on how to detect phishing emails, changing passwords frequently, implementing two-factor authentication, deploying widespread access management controls for in-house systems and data, and conducting periodic vulnerability assessments. You have to be right every time. [Cybercriminals] only have to be right once." Read more.
Resource: Rhys Dipshan, Legaltech News
"The challenges besetting Big Law are of its own making. The industry overshot the needs of its clients and overlooked the effect of growth on the intensity of competition. The really frightening part? Recent surveys show Big Law is doing nothing to mitigate the threats to its prosperity and much to exacerbate them. A change of course is needed. It will require today's leaders to bring more younger partners into leadership roles and to lead in a very different way." Read more.
The term AI may be exploited in legal in present, but AI technology can be part of a revolutionary future—if there are some fundamental shifts. Read more.
Resource: Adi Prakash, Yerra Solutions, Legaltech News
"Law firms are still practicing law and selling legal expertise, but that's a shrinking element of legal delivery. Legal operations teams are reinventing the way technology and process can be leveraged to streamline the delivery of legal services. Law firms had an opportunity to corner this market but elected to persist with a "brute force" approach that deploys high-priced labor to do "the best job possible" no matter its value rather than to deploy technology and process to streamline delivery. Elite corporate legal departments and service providers—have a different DNA than firms. It is corporate, client-centric, proactive, collaborative, efficient, cost-effective, knowledgeable of the customer's business, accessible, and result driven. They are a different species, well-adapted to a new legal ecosystem where clients, not providers, are calling the shots." Read more.
Resource: Mark A. Cohen, www.theamericanlawyer.com
"Experts predict that more independent-minded workers and the proliferation of technology will be the biggest factors in shaping the workplace of tomorrow. Everything we consume will be personalized—products, marketing, media—and data-driven, as accelerated by the pressures of globalization and technological innovations." This shift, says Link, will only further affect how and when workers want to work, "as they choose agile arrangements or alternative career paths." The challenge for employers and talent-management professionals will be to "adapt new methods for attracting, retaining and managing their workforce." Read more.
Resource: Judy Ward, PLANSPONSER magazine
"For senior executives, the main question about gender diversity is not whether but how. How can the company identify specific initiatives that offer the greatest payoff? How should the company allocate its resources—in time, managerial focus, and capital—to generate the biggest diversity gains?" Read more.
Resource: Jennifer Garcia-Alonso, Matt Krentz, Frances Brooks Taplett, Claire Tracey, Miki Tsusaka, www.bcg.com
"The human capital element (also known as employees) within organizations has traditionally been considered a soft cost, difficult to put a price on when it comes to tallying the bottom line. That’s why risk management historically has been viewed as monetizing nonhuman activities that run the gamut of policies, procedures, and planning.
But human beings are involved in all aspects of running a business. People, not processes, are at the core of enterprise risks, and human actions can have far-reaching financial implications and impact a company’s bottom line, market value, and future growth. Any employer whose people fail to follow the company’s policies and procedures knows the resulting havoc that can ensue." Read more.
Resource: Kelley Zanfardino, Strategic Finance
"There are many similarities between the professions. Attorneys and accountants, after all, offer the same core value proposition as other licensed professionals: built on rigorous educational and licensing requirements controlled by the professionals themselves, accountants and attorneys have long laid exclusive claim to critical, specialized knowledge and client representations in which that knowledge is brought to bear. As such, it’s reasonable to surmise that one may be able to see the future of the legal markets by looking at the disruption that’s already occurred in the tax industry." Read more.
Resource: Dean Sonderegger, www.abovethelaw.com
"Maybe it has been so incremental that you haven’t really noticed, but it’s likely that your business isn’t the same as it was just a few short years ago. Technology, which has played a huge role in shaping the world of work, is just one factor contributing to this change. The dynamic nature of 21st century organizations is another: They acquire other companies, expand to other parts of the world, shrink product offerings, outsource projects and so on. Through it all, though, the demand on the employees remains the same: They must adapt." Read more.
Resource: Shonna Waters, HR Magazine
"When the going gets tough, true leaders take action." Read more.
Resource: Justin Bariso, Inc.com
Positive actions yield positive results in diversity hiring. Read more.
Resource: Stephanie Russell-Kraft
Law firms are being targeted to use their IOLTA trust accounts to launder money. Most firms have no idea it is happening but can be held accountable. Read more.
If this can happen to DLA Piper, this can happen to your firm. A strong reminder to not take any aspect of cyber security and backups lightly. Read more.
Resource: Jeff John Roberts
"While the nation awaits the promised repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, most employer health-plan sponsors have their attention focused elsewhere: health-care costs for employees at large companies are still rising an average of 4% a year, and at this point it’s doubtful the 115th Congress will pass legislation that will curb medical cost inflation." Read more.
Resource: David McCann, CFO Magazine
"COURTS BOOST LGBT PROTECTIONS"
"Recent federal court rulings suggest it's only a matter of time before a new category of worker will be protected from discrimination under the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act: those who identify as gay or lesbian." Read more.
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