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Ahead of the Curve

April 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.


    

"SMALL LAW FIRM DIVERSITY SURVEY"

"To better understand the solo and small law firm community's perspective on diversity and inclusion we fielded a survey on the following topics (among others):

  • Whether all law firms, regardless of size, should consider issues of diversity in recruiting, hiring, and staffing decisions.
  • Whether diversity is a competitive advantage for small law firms.
  • Is it inappropriate for potential clients to consider a small law firm’s diversity when making hiring decisions?

Our findings reveal a very widespread sentiment in favor of the ideas that law firms should consider a diverse candidate pool in recruiting and that diversity is a competitive advantage for small law firms. However, not everyone agrees, and skeptical points of view are included in our Report as well."

Read more.

Resource: Above the Law (enter email to get copy of the comprehensive report)


"WHERE ARE WE NOW? REVEALING THE LATEST TRENDS IN LEGAL MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT"

In this 2018 joint survey from the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and Bloomberg Law, we look at whether law firms are investing in marketing, shifts in legal marketer* roles and responsibilities, their relationships with attorneys and the increasing role of technology in marketing and business development. We take a pulse on the current state and analyze trends since our 2016 survey. With responses from 190 marketers and 135 attorneys, the results highlight where their perspectives align and where they differ. Overall, it’s clear that the pace of investment in marketing/business development and emphasis on these functions at firms of all sizes does not seem to be slowing down. And, this knowledgeable group of professionals continue to gain traction, voice and influence. 

Read more.

Resource: Bloomberg Law and Legal Marketing Association


"POGUE PANELISTS ADDRESS CHANGING ROLES OF BIG LAW FIRM ASSOCIATES"

Michigan Law school hosted a panel to give insight to students about future careers in Big Law. At this year’s Pogue Panel, Professor Hirshon posed the questions he’s most frequently asked by students to alumni who live Big Law life on a daily business: Michael Fayhee, ’73, Patricia Refo, ’83, and George Vincent, ’82. The trio took the opportunity to set the audience of law students straight about what it is like to work in Big Law, and discussed the changing roles of new associates. 

Read more.

Resource: Jordan Poll


"CYBERSECURITY VENDORS AND LAW FIRMS PARTNER UP, BUT CAUTION STILL ADVISED"

"While partnerships between cybersecurity companies and law firms are on the rise, “there is a lot of potential for conflicts of interest,” said one partner at an Am Law 100 firm."

Read more.

Resource: Miriam Rozen, Legal Tech News


"DO LAWYERS HAVE AN ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY TO USE AI?"

"Lawyers are well aware of their ethical responsibilities. Those responsibilities permeate relationships with clients and extend to every aspect of lawyers’ professional lives — including the technology they use."

Read more.

Resource: Laura van Wyngaardenn, Daily Dispatch, Legal Technology


"IS HR READY FOR BLOCKCHAIN?"

"Recruiters would be thrilled to find a more efficient way to verify job candidates’ credentials, including education, certifications, work experience and skills. And payroll managers would welcome a technology that makes their jobs less complex and costly, allowing for timelier payments to global employees. Those are just two of the potential applications of blockchain that are likely to impact HR soon, experts say. Best known as the backbone technology for the digital currency bitcoin, blockchain is an encrypted digital ledger of public records organized into groups of data called blocks and distributed over networks. In other words, it is a decentralized digital database that allows everyone in a “chain” to see and verify the details of every record in the network, says Kevin Wheeler, founder and president of Global Learning Resources, a talent strategy consulting firm in Fremont, Calif."

Read more.

Resource: Dave Zielinski, HR Magazine


"HR MUST GET TO GRIPS WITH BLOCKCHAIN"

HR professionals need to learn about how blockchain will affect their companies and their employees. "A platform such as this enables the exchange of services as well as currency, he highlighted, which could fundamentally change the way we do business. “Blockchain will drive completely different business models,” said Jones. He reassured the HR professional audience members that “we’ve been here before and made our way through”, in terms of getting to grips with radically new technology."

Read more.

Resource: Jenny Roper, HR Magazine UK


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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