Welcome to The Dialogue

The Dialogue provides a forum for those invested in BigLaw firms to add their voices to the remaking conversation.

We encourage lawyers and others with a stake in the profession: clients, partners, and leaders of BigLaw firms, NewLaw participants, academics, law students, analysts, commentators, and others to join in.

There are no right or wrong views, diversity and differences are crucial to imagining the future.

Readers are invited to contribute their posts (subject to curation)  and comments.

Contact me at george.beaton@beatonglobal.com or call me +61 418 325 351.

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What real transformative change could look like

What real transformative change could look like is the sequel to Ken’s post on The Dialogue two days ago, Stagnation and the legal services industry. Ken does us all a great service by painting a concrete picture of his view of what the future might look like. He’s putting it out there for the rest of us to think about, test and challenge what real transformative change might look like. Let’s go to it!

I often write about radical transformation in the legal industry and how it has not arrived. That line of reasoning begs the question: what could radical transformation look like?

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Harbinger of the change affecting #BigLaw, courtesy of @ArtificialLawya

Harbinger of the change affecting #BigLaw, courtesy of @ArtificialLawya breaks with the pattern of The Dialogue: [1] I am publishing Richard Troman’s article as a news item [2] hours prior to the release of Ken Grady’s post on transformational change. This juxtaposition is a metaphor for what all BigLaw business model firms need to come to grips with, very quickly. Thank you Richard – and Ken.     

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Stagnation and the legal services industry

Real transformation has yet to arrive writes Ken Grady in his latest post Stagnation and the legal services industry. Welcome back Ken!  Readers can look forward to the sequel in a few days from now.

It is unpopular today to write something about the legal industry from a realist perspective. Optimism abounds among entrepreneurs, and among the old guard there exists the fantasy that the world is not as bad as everyone says it is. Unfortunately for me, I am a realist

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Classic: What I would do if I ran a 20th-century law firm in the 21st-century

John Chisholm returns as agent provocateur with this classic: What I would do if I ran a 20th-century law firm in the 21st-century. Many have commented that remaking a BigLaw business model law firm is like turning the Queen Mary or changing a 747 engine at 12,000 meters. Now – slowly – more and more of these traditional firms are taking remaking steps. John’s polemic post, first published in 2015, is at once humorous and deadly serious. Enjoy.

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Classic: Technology and the future of the law

Technology and the future of the law is published as a Classic on The Dialogue on Remaking Law Firms in early March to coincide with our 2018 Client Choice Awards. You may know that Neota Logic is the sponsor of the Law Firms category in the Awards.

I’ve designated Technology and the future of the law a Classic because Michael’s message and argument are so true as the passage of time is proving – and yet the evidence is that the large majority (perhaps as much as 85%, in Bill Henderson’s rendition of the innovation of diffusion curve below) of law firms are not listening.   

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Snapshot of the legal market, missing link, and mystery disconnect

In Snapshot of the legal market, missing link, and mystery disconnect Ron Friedmann draws on two recent US surveys, the Altman Weil 2017 Chief Legal Officer (CLO) Survey and the 2018 Report on the State of the Legal Market by The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at the Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute and Peer Monitor®, respectively, to construct a snapshot of the state of the legal market.

Ron builds on his analysis to argue there is a disconnect between anecdotal information that alternative services providers (aka NewLaw firms or law companies) are growing and taking share from BigLaw and the published data.

I have a sneaking explanation but will wait to make the first Comment on this thought-provoking thought. 

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Law departments and the foundation of law firm marketing bullshit

My friend John Grant made a mistake.

Many moons ago he was consulting on process improvement for a large law department. He surveyed in-house counsel on their biggest complaints about outside counsel. The response was that outside counsel:

  • Don’t understand my business
  • Can’t tell me how long anything will take
  • Overwork a problem/introduce complexity
  • Don’t give me output in a format I can use

Familiar enough. And so far so good.

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