Law Firm Innovation—Erasing Boundaries

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 27, Number 1 (September/October 2022), pgs 14-16.

By Katherine M. Lowry, Director of Practice Services & Head of Incubaker, BakerHostetler

Reimagining the way legal services are provided at BakerHostetler.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then technology is a clear call to action for law firms to innovate. Innovation can take many forms. Here, let’s compare the distinction between optimizing processes inside of law firms and the rise of captive (in-house) alternative legal services providers (ALSPs)— often dubbed New Law. The latter is defined as the building of new legal service delivery models that provide a high degree of client value through process redesign, leveraged technology, and better use of data.

BakerHostetler’s Formation of IncuBaker™

My captive ALSP experience stems from co-founding IncuBaker as a legal tech research and development (R&D) team in 2015. By 2018, it evolved into a thriving legal tech consulting team—a captive ALSP. In the early stages, years before forming the team, we gathered data across a variety of industries and identified the tangible impact of emerging technology as an impending tidal wave of change headed straight for the legal industry. As we sought opportunities to engage with and evaluate technology vendors, we quickly identified a common theme: the importance of machine learning and using algorithms to predict outcomes across areas like research, contracts, client churn, and business development initiatives. Exploring solutions built on machine learning and building tactical expertise was key to us. We wanted to provide substantive and factual evidence on how technology was shaping the legal landscape. We aimed to be the voice of reason in the market—not simply another publicity-seeking company.

“Today, we are at the crest of the wave of erasing boundaries and approaching service delivery in unique ways. It is the ability to see things differently and not succumb to limitations of the status quo.”

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Susan Ryan at Seyfarth Shaw Mentioned in the AmLaw Litigation Daily

A recent AmLaw Litigation Daily article titled, “With California DAs Suing ADA Law Firms, a Broad National Dip in New Federal Filings,” references a Seyfarth Shaw blog post Susan Ryan co-authored with attorneys at the firm. See the full blog post here. “2022 ADA Title III Mid-Year Federal Lawsuit Filings Drop 22% Compared to 2021

Fastcase 50 Honorees Include 4 American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Members     

Congratulations to the four American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) members below who were named to the Fastcase 50 Class of 2022. Lindsey Carpino and Clanitra Stewart Nejdl are also members of the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) Special Interest Section.  Lindsey teamed up with Annie Mentkowski on the “Review-It” legal tech tool that won the 2021 AALL Innovation Showcase Awards in three categories.

Jean O’Grady, another AALL and PLLIP member, wrote about the Fastcase 50 class on her Dewey B. Strategic blog, https://www.deweybstrategic.com/2022/07/fastcase-50-announced-congratulations-to-class-of-2022.html.  Bob Ambrogi wrote about Lindsey and Annie’s Review-It tool on his LawSites blog in August 2021, https://www.lawnext.com/2021/08/one-project-sweeps-first-ever-aall-innovation-showcase-despite-my-participation.html.

Thanks to Fastcase for recognizing the efforts and achievements of these four dedicated individuals, and for Fastcase’s continual support of the law librarian and information professional community.

View the full Fastcase 50 Class of 2022: https://www.fastcase.com/fastcase50/

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Experience at AALL’s Course: Competitive Intelligence Strategies & Analysis

By Allison C. Reeve Davis, Senior Library Manager, Littler Mendelson, P.C. and Caren Luckie, Research Attorney, Jackson Walker LLP

Allison and Caren were both awardees of the PLLIP-SIS grant to attend the course and in this post share their experiences and “a-ha” moments.

On May 16-17, 2022, several legal information professionals gathered in Chicago for an immersive course on Competitive Intelligence (CI) in law firms. The small group of 11 comprised individuals from law firms of various size and included librarians and CI researchers alike. Facilitators Ben Brighoff (Foley & Lardner, L.L.P.) and Lynne Kilgore (Baker Botts, L.L.P.), along with additional speaker Nathalie Noel (Jenner & Block), led the group through several CI strategies, team development, stakeholder buy-in, working collaboratively with other departments, and other considerations. Attendees took away ideas and made connections with each other creating a larger network of colleagues working in this space. We have already seen members of the group reaching out with questions and sharing ideas.

Organizers of the course kept the attendee list intentionally small. This created an open environment in which all were encouraged to share their experiences, expertise, and ask questions in a welcoming environment. Learning that individuals came from various levels of experience or diverse groups of research settings lessened any intimidation of being in a room with only high-level experts. Quickly, the group felt comfortable asking questions and sharing their goals for further CI development on their home teams. We learned that many of us face the same problems, and that we were all searching for the right (or better) resources to help us provide enhanced competitive intelligence to our firms.

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The Great Resignation: Obstacle or Opportunity?

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 26, Number 5 (May/June 2022), pgs 20-22.

By John DiGilio, Firmwide Director of Library Services, Sidley Austin LLP and Courtney Toiaivao, Director of Research Services, Holland & Knight LLP

What the Great Resignation can teach us about desirable workplace culture and happiness.

Much has been made of the Great Resignation, the buzzy labor market phenomenon that has seen millions of Americans leave their jobs since spring 2021. The question on so many minds right now is simple: Why? Why are people suddenly hitting the bricks in such large numbers? While it is easy to blame the ongoing pandemic, the answers—and they are multiple—go much deeper and are far more complex. Take for instance the fact that U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that over two-thirds of people who left their jobs in 2021 did so voluntarily. Roughly 69 million Americans quit their jobs since 2021, which means that 47.8 million made up their own minds that it was time to go. (View the data at bit.ly/MJ22laborstats.) The numbers have staggered employers as they try to come up with ways to retain the talent they have, as well as replace the workers who have left. At the same time, a new world of considerations and opportunities has opened for those contemplating making a change.

What Is Causing the Great Resignation?

In many ways, the timing of the Great Resignation is a direct by-product of the pandemic. Parents (often women) left jobs to manage childcare needs; employees left the labor market due to COVID concerns; older employees retired early thanks to extra savings from being in quarantine or perhaps thanks to skyrocketing housing prices that enabled some to sell at profit; and across industries, countless employees left the workforce from a deep sense of burnout and dissatisfaction. This last reason is most distressing to employers and may embolden those pondering a dash for the door.

After anxious, stressful pandemic years, often with increased hours and blurred start and end times, employees saw the boundaries of home and work blend together. Beyond trying to keep children, partners, and pets from popping into Zoom windows, employees routinely found themselves working past the hours where they would have left for home. Time that was once dedicated to the commute was now being spent working. In short, productivity got a boost, but happiness did not. In a time of great work turmoil and with many employees working remotely for the first time, Americans found themselves questioning what they truly wanted from their lives and their work.

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