Skip to Main Content

Ahead of the Curve

May 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.


    

"WE NEED AN OPEN DIALOGUE ON MENTAL HEALTH IN THE LAW"

Heartbreaking to hear that 89% of those responding to this survey said they are not aware of anything their law firm is doing or their law firm is not doing enough to support these mental health needs. We have to change this! It starts with us!

Read more. (requires free subscription)

Resource: Jason Tashea, The American Lawyer


"HALF OF FIRMS MISS BILLING GOALS AND MAJORITY OF PARTNERS RESIST CHANGE, SAYS NEW SURVEY"

A new survey highlights failure to embrace the marketplace resulting in under-performance and under-utilization.

Read more.

Resource: Jason Tashea, ABA Journal


"WHY COMPANIES SHOULD STAY CONNECTED WITH EX-EMPLOYEES

With employees changing positions on a more frequent basis staying in touch with ex-employees is now more important than ever. "... companies use terms like “boomerang employees,” “alumni” or “comeback colleagues.” Such language is a far cry from the days when former employees were referred to only in the past tense. But now a growing number of organizations are understanding the value of keeping the bond between employer and employee strong long after the two have parted. It’s a smart strategy for managing talent as company leaders grapple with the tightest job market in more than 15 years."

Read more.

Resource: Geri Tucker, HR Magazine


"DIGITIZING CULTURE: ARE YOU DOING IT WRONG?

Today's workgroups are increasingly flexible — matrixed across projects, managers and time zones and collaborating between in-office and remote workers as well as full-time and contract workers. According to Gallup's most recent State of the American Workplace report, 31% of employees say they work remotely 80% to 100% of the time.

It's no wonder then that employee interactions &mdah; and therefore workplace culture -- are shaped via email, Skype or Slack rather than at the proverbial water cooler of decades past.

And there are many benefits of a digital culture. It allows for a consistent experience across different offices and teams. It also allows for scalability; organizations can flex and grow while maintaining the hallmarks of their identity.

Many organizations are discovering how to take their existing culture and deliver aspects of it digitally. However, other organizations find that this transition isn't as easy as they expected.

Read more.

Resource: Gallup.com


"SMART CONTRACTS: THE FUTURE OF CONTRACTS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BLOCKCHAIN"

"Smart contracts are a transformative new technology that can revolutionize the way businesses process deals. If you’ve been following this series on blockchain, you now know blockchain’s disruption beyond bitcoin, how that disruption is affecting different industries, and how to get yourself ready for that cross-industry disruption. Now, it’s time to delve into another exciting application of blockchain: smart contracts. Smart contracts are a transformative new technology that can revolutionize the way businesses process deals."

Read more.

Resource: Olga V. Mack, Above the Law


"HYBRID PARALEGAL ROLES ARE ON THE RISE AT LAW FIRMS, IN-HOUSE

The latest trend in hiring for law firms and in-house legal departments? Hybrid paralegals—these positions bring the greatest value and are in demand. As clients seek legal services at lower costs, the need for multifaceted support staff grows."

Read more. (requires free subscription)

Resource: Debra Frank Montero, Law.com


"AUDIENCE POLLING RESULTS FROM MANAGING PARTNERS FORUM 2018 BY THE REMSEN GROUP"

"Each year, we ask participants at The MPF Leadership Conference a series of questions about how their firms are evolving and adapting to the changing legal profession. We ask a question, the managing partners vote, the answers appear, and we discuss what it means. Think “Ask the Audience” on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” It’s a great way to start the day and provides participants timely information to share back home. Here are a few findings:

  • Forty-five percent (45%) of firm leaders are dissatisfied with their firm’s current culture.
  • Sixty-four percent (64%) report “mixed success” with lateral hiring.
  • Ten percent (10%) say they use psychological testing as part of their hiring process.
  • “Succession planning” tops the list of biggest challenges, leap-frogging “Marketing” for the first time.

How would you answer the polling questions for your firm?"

Read more.

Resource: The Remsen Group


"10 LESSONS FROM THE EVOLVE LAW SUMMIT"

"Last week in Chicago, Above the Law hosted the second annual Evolve Law Summit, a legal technology conference dedicated to investors and strategic partners. There is no question that activity in the legal technology and innovation space is accelerating. In just the first four months of 2018, Internet Brands acquired Avvo; Consillio and Advanced Discovery merged; the Global Legal Hackathon launched in 40 cities; five law schools hosted innovation events; Fastcase acquired Docket Alarm; Logikcull raised $25 million..."

Read more.

Resource: Hsiaolei Miller, Above the Law


"THE AI TECH THAT'S SAVING WALMART'S IN-HOUSE LAWYERS TIME"

Is this the tip of the iceberg?  Clients' response?  YES!

"Walmart Inc.’s litigators have found a way to reduce the time spent on answers and initial discovery dramatically—by about 60 to 80 percent."

"Walmart said the technology is automated to create first drafts of answers to litigation and to draft the initial round of discovery requests, each in about two minutes. This could equate to shaving off 10 hours of attorney time on each lawsuit, according to LegalMation’s estimates."

Read more.

Resource: Stephanie Forshee, Corporate Counsel


ALA Thumb

    

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

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

Kevin Costello — Holland & Knight LLP

Tammy Cowser, PHR, CP — Foley & Lardner LLP

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

Rick Hellers — nQueue Billback LLC

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

Teresa Reiner, CLM — Gislason & Hunter LLP

Teresa Walker — Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP

Stephen Wolf, CLM, CPA — Deutsch Kerrigan, LLP

ALA Board of Directors Liaison to Committee

Michael Bumgarner, CLM, CPA, CGMA — Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC

ALA Liaison to Committee

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

pcarrera@alanet.org; 847-267-1252