Legal Mosaic Legal Business Consulting – Clients Need Legal Services But Not Necessarily Lawyers

 Rebecca Sandefur, a sociologist whose career has focused on studying lawyers […] published an article making the case that lawyers are not required to resolve many common legal issues. 

Sandefur is acutely aware of and unencumbered by the legal profession’s cultural biases—a self-selecting, self-perpetuating guild that is insular, homogeneous, protectionist, and monopolistic. Lawyers have long determined what is “legal” and have created language, rules, regulatory schemes, and economic models designed to reinforce the myth of legal exceptionalism. 

There is growing evidence that the marketplace is receptive to Ms. Sandefur’s call for a paradigm shift, and consumers are increasingly indifferent to stiff resistance from the legal profession.

To date, the focus has been on preserving the traditional partnership model and elevating profit-per-partner. As Ms. Sandefur says, the problem is “bigger than law and lawyers.” Most lawyers continue to resist ‘non-lawyer’ efforts to infringe upon what they regard as their professional territorial imperative and economic model. In the age of the consumer, lawyer hubris and self-regulation might slow, but not reverse, the paradigmatic shift already underway in the emerging global legal industry.

Several new-model legal service providers in the retail and corporate sectors have replaced law’s brute force, labor intensive lawyer-does-all model with data-driven, customer-centric, automated, corporatized, scalable, collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and well capitalized service models.  These providers are often managed by business professionals and entrepreneurs, not licensed attorneys. The new providers in each market segment, albeit in different ways, are focused on meeting consumer challenges, not preserving anachronistic lawyer delivery paradigms.

“Legal problems” have become “business challenges that raise legal issues.” The complexity, speed, and new risk factors impacting business—together with the impact of the global financial crisis, technological advances, and globalization—have changed the legal buy/sell dynamic. Law is undergoing a gradual, systemic transition from a labor-intensive, provincial-by-design, lawyer-centric “practice” model to a tech and process-enabled, capitalized, global, scalable, efficient, multidisciplinary delivery model aligned with consumer needs and expectations. Lawyers are an integral element of that process, but they are not always “the straw that stirs the drink.” That’s because managing the delivery of legal delivery requires skills that relatively few lawyers presently have—notably business and technological.

Three Geeks and a Law Blog – Data Doesn’t Make Decisions

People are still central to decision making, data in its various forms and all the ranges of analysis from SWOT (simple) to AI algorithms (complex) still does require human intelligence and interaction to get at the nuance and understand sometimes complex emotional context.

Information is Quick, Intelligence Takes Time. The hardest part of information analysis is not the collection, but making sense of it all, discerning the patterns (even with computers) and then turning it into something usable. That takes time, and often the amount of data you need to collect, the tags you need to apply and the taxonomy you need to define can in turn require its own dedicated time. 

Bottom line, data doesn’t make decisions, people do and we need to better equip ourselves, especially in law firms with the right mix of technology, artificial intelligence, and legal research or knowledge tools to make decisions

Corporate Counsel – Platforms for Freelance Attorneys Make Their Way to the Mainstream

Corporations and their legal departments are under pressure to cut costs and find ways to maintain a high-quality level of work. The solution going forward may be to use platforms that connect corporate legal departments with freelance attorneys for more of the time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

“You have to explain to them that it is someone who used to sit in a big building downtown or they used to be doing all of this work at a much higher rate. And through the use of some software tools, we’ve been able to connect you guys in a way that makes things go much faster,” Levi explained.

“Our goal as a company is to provide value to both clients and to attorneys. On the client side, we think that our model that adds technology to a platform of freelance workers means that we are able to offer clients a way to do this work faster, better and cheaper,” Levi said. “On the attorney side, we really want to provide attorneys an alternative way to do legal work or to practice in a way that makes sense for them.”