Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

Legal Technology Big Change Through Small Revolution Guest post by BlueLine staff Investment in legal technology has moved at a staggering pace over the past few years. Tech start-ups promise to radically disrupt law practice by automating everything from document review to legal research, while Lex Machina and Judicata promise to empower lawyers with data-driven insights and analytics. Despite these revolutionary possibilities, myriad simple legal tasks, such as cite-checking, pulling cases, and reviewing quotes, still consume absurd lengths of time. We question whether the low hanging fruit is being left on the tree. The low hanging fruit has already been picked in practice management software. Lawyers are now familiar with digital time-entry, e-billing, and expense-tracking applications. There has been less interest in applications that are specifically designed to improve the tasks that lawyers can actually bill their clients for doing. Perhaps this is because lawyers focus on automation that speeds […]

Chris Wimmer graduated from Columbia Law School in 2005 and opened his own practice, Emergent Legal, in 2013. I spoke to him in March 2014. “A good lawyer has to have a genuine desire to relate to his clients in order to advance their interests.  He has to be genuinely interested in understanding who they are and what motivates them.” Tell me about the path that led you to start your own legal practice. I went to law school to be a human rights lawyer.  But I had a daughter not long after I graduated from law school, and I had to think about how to support a family. So after I finished my clerkship with Judge Jack B. Weinstein in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, I went to work in commercial litigation and white collar disputes, first at Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP and […]

How soon after graduating from law school can/should you start your own practice? I hear conflicting reports. On the one hand, I hear lawyers and entrepreneurs advising that you should not try to start a new business until you have worked in the field for several years, not only to build skills but also to build important contacts. On the other hand, I have heard attorneys say that it is harder to start a new practice if you have first worked the grind in a D.A.’s office or large firm because you pick up too many bad habits that need to be undone and because the skills you learn as a bottom-level associate are not really all that transferable to — well, to anything. (See my post here.) I don’t know which of these is “right” (perhaps both are true in some way), but I do know that I have personally spoken […]

Risk-taking

October 16th, 2012 by Briana Cummings

If there’s one thing that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and reformers have in common, it is an unusually high tolerance — or even appetite — for risk. For example, Jeff  Bezos says he makes decisions according to a “regret minimization framework.”  As in, do whatever it is you think will cause the least regret when you’re 80 years old and looking back at your life.  In his case, that meant taking a huge risk and starting Amazon. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good quote to steel up your resolve. So I’ve collected some here that have given me encouragement: Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain Security is mostly a […]

The gap in the middle The U.S. ranks last among peer nations in access to legal services. Despite a very crowded legal profession, millions of Americans — those who are too rich for subsidized legal services but too poor to afford a private attorney at market rates of around $200 to $350 an hour — lack access to high-quality, or any, legal assistance. As Jeanne Charn puts it, our legal system has had “a nearly exclusive focus on the very poor at the expense of middle income people who also cannot afford traditional market-rate lawyer services.” It guarantees help to those who have incomes of 125% above the poverty line but offers nothing to those whose incomes are at 150 or 200% of the poverty line, but who also cannot afford the legal assistance they need. As lawyers know, the law guarantees the right to a (government-subsidized) attorney if you are […]

During my last year of law school I learned about tech start-up incubators like Y Combinator – which provides seed money, guidance, and networking opportunities to new start-ups – from my friends in Silicon Valley, and I was intrigued about the potential for using this model to help lawyers who wanted to create their own “start-up” law practice. In late August, I learned about the existence of law school incubators (the first of which was created only two years after Y Combinator) and booked a flight to see one of these incubators in person: the Access to Justice Initiative, affiliated with California Western School of Law. (For background on law school incubators, including the Access to Justice Initiative, see my recent post here.) In the upscale office space that houses the Access to Justice Initiative, looking out over a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling view of airplanes flying low over the city and onto the tarmac […]

Although “quitting” a failing project or business is often seen as a sign of failure, it is really a perfectly normal part of the creation-destruction process, and a necessary step in responding effectively to new knowledge and changing circumstances. Much has been written about the ossification of education – from K-12 up through graduate and professional schools – which in most major ways looks strikingly similar to the outdated education models that were created a century ago, if not earlier. As described in a 2008 McKinsey Quarterly article, resistance to change – and staying with a failing and/or outdated model – is a common problem in business too. A number of studies indicate that executives tend to stick with a losing project, business, or industry when clear signs indicate they should get out. I’ve outlined some of these finding below because these lessons apply as much to building and running a law […]

In his book The Global Achievement Gap, educator Tony Wagner identifies the core competencies everyone should master by the end of high school: Critical thinking and problem solving (the ability to ask the right questions) Collaboration across networks and leading by influence Agility and adaptability Initiative and entrepreneurialism Accessing and analyzing information Effective written and oral communication Curiosity and imagination How to teach these competencies? Perhaps by following the mantra, “First do no harm.” In another book, Creating Innovators, Wagner identifies five ways in which current educational practices actively undermine the development of these competencies: By focusing on individual achievement (e.g., GPA), schools fail to promote collaboration skills. By rewarding specialization, which hinders innovation. Wagner says the director of talent at Google once told him, “If there’s one thing that educators need to understand, it’s that you can neither understand nor solve problems within the context and bright lines of subject content.” By penalizing mistakes, which makes students risk-averse. […]