A. Quote of the Week

Legal tech is not going to save us. There is an issue with culture and resistance to change. Legal’s challenge with tech has nothing to do with tech.” (Eva Bruch)

B. Excuse of the Week

“Until this point, prospects for the timely submission of the opposition memo were excellent,” King wrote. “But the emotional effect of an eventual Jazz loss (which began at approximately 10 p.m.) was, to say the least, dispiriting. The pallor cast on counsel’s mind eventually led to submission of a written product that was twice as long and half as strong as it would have been had the Jazz emerged victorious. As well as 18 minutes tardy.”

If you suffered through any of the Raptors’ painful losses to Cleveland and missed a court deadline as a result, this is the supporting case that you’ve been searching for.

C. Articles to Read

1. Diversity in the Legal Profession – Looking Beyond Lawyers

Can Non-Lawyers Bring More Benefit to the Legal Profession Than Lawyers (Brett Burney)

Key Quote:

A phrase that both Moon and Bridgesmith are fond of using is “cognitive diversity.” They define this as not based on race or religion or gender, but rather on experiential learning. As they stated, if there are five lawyers around a table, they’re all going to look at a problem like lawyers. But why not bring in a software programmer? Or an engineer? Or someone else with a different background that can bring a fresh perspective to solving a problem?” 

Why it Matters:

One of my key observations from my secondment at Diligen was the need for increased diversity in the legal services industry. At Diligen, almost every important decision involved the input of lawyers and other professionals, and the diversity of the team’s backgrounds (professional experience, education, demographics, etc.) was remarkable. The result was a sharing of ideas and perspectives that would be challenging to achieve with a less-diverse group.

The legal profession is not known for its diversity. And while progress has been made in recent years, there is still a very long way to go as countless articles and studies have demonstrated. Add cognitive diversity to the list of diversity challenges facing legal service providers.

2. Factors Restricting Legal Innovation at Law Firms

Legal Change: Why Drip, Not Disruption? (Mark Cohen)

Key Quote:

“Lawyers—and legal culture—are the principal drag on legal innovation. That’s neither an indictment of the profession nor a slight on the efforts of those actively engaged in expanding legal access and improving delivery. Law’s access to justice crisis, self-regulation, gender pay gap, and low net promoter score reflect a purposeful tone deafness to customer sentiment.”

Why it Matters:

If you’re looking for a primer on changes in the legal services industry and why change has happened at a much slower rate than many people would have expected, then this Mark Cohen article is definitely worth a read.

As Mark points out, there are a number of factors that disincentivize change in law firms, including (i) our old friend the billable hour; (ii) the lack of financial incentives for more senior equity partners to support long-term investments; (iii) limited access to capital; (iv) a strong economy that is hiding some of the challenges lurking beneath the surface; and (v) aversion to risk amongst lawyers.