“I would write a shorter sermon, but once I start I get too lazy to stop.”
Today in the Prism Legal blog, I read an article titled “Rule against Outside Investment in Law Firms Stifles Innovation.” In the article, the author asserts that the “dangers” of allowing non-lawyer ownership in law firms are largely theoretical, but the “harm” in refusing non-lawyer ownership is “concrete and immediate,” including:
- Legal costs remain higher than they otherwise would be
- Lawyers cannot pursue professionally rewarding paths
- Investors miss an opportunity to earn a return
- Society continues to pay more for law that is possible or necessary
- Innovations these firms create cannot “trickle down” to conventionally owned law firm.
The author then suggests that those who support upholding the prohibition on non-lawyer ownership should bear the burden to provide justification as to why the prohibition on non-lawyer ownership prohibition should stand. Basically, he argues: “We should change. If you can’t give me good reasons why we shouldn’t change, I win.”
I accept his challenge, but with a caveat. I believe that the burden is on the party seeking change to demonstrate why it’s necessary. Neither his article, nor any of the other articles arguing from the similar position, provide logical arguments for change. As was reported in the Lawyerist: “I don’t see the advantage to law firms, unless something about law firms makes them incapable of changing their business models without non-lawyer investment and control. That’s a scary concept without a strong justification.”
I also believe that to allow non-lawyer ownership would fundamentally and irrevocably change the way legal services are provided (which, for many, is the real purpose behind deregulation). It is my position that the negative aspects of such a change have been largely ignored by those arguing for deregulation, and dramatically outweigh any potential benefits. More…
The prospect of taking on a case where eDiscovery is likely can be a daunting task, even for seasoned litigators. Just how daunting? Well, eDiscovery is the reason for the contentious debates about modifying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding discovery in general. Many seasoned litigators will turn a case down simply because it will involve eDiscovery.
There are dozens of apps and hundreds of companies whose sole purpose is to provide all the eDiscovery assistance a firm can handle (or can afford). However, those companies have no interest in making sure you only buy the services you need – they’re selling services, after all. No, what you need before you even call your first eDiscovery contractor is a guide, a detailed walkthrough of the whole process.
Plenty of new apps were released or updated in November. While you were eating Thanksgiving dinner, I was… well, probably eating Thanksgiving dinner. But afterwards, I put together the Best New Apps for Lawyers from November 2013 for both iOS and Android. More…
I’m a visual person. My office includes two large white boards that I constantly fill with my thoughts, take a quick photo to upload to Evernote, then wipe clean just so that I can fill it right up again. To me, it’s part of the brainstorming process – new ideas emerge as part of being able to see what ideas I already have.
I never thought much about mind-mapping apps, though, until someone recommended that I try out iThoughtsHD. It was an absolute revelation. The ability to track my thoughts and ideas in a visual thought tree was so much more helpful than any note taking app had ever been. I’ve used my mind-mapping apps for deposition notes, trial preparation, eDiscovery organization, and, most importantly, organizing my thoughts for this blog.
For those lawyers who, like me, prefer to be able to visualize your brainstorming or notes, here are 7 Excellent Mind-Mapping Apps for Lawyers: More…
Last week I attended an all-day CLE on depositions. I’m an experienced litigator, and have taken or defended over 100 depositions in my career, including depositions of parties, witnesses, and experts. I’ve participated in depositions in federal and state court cases, representing plaintiffs, defendants, and third-party witnesses. My hope was that this CLE would offer some interesting tips and hints about depositions from attorneys with styles different from my own. I was wrong.
However, what baffled me most was the presentation’s nearly complete omission of information about the use of new technology in depositions. (To view my discussion of excellent iPad apps for depositions, click here) The only technology discussed was the use of video, but even its well-known advantages were barely mentioned. No time was dedicated at all to discussing benefits or uses that we may not have thought of yet.
So I decided to supplement their offering, based on my own experience. Here are 4 Routinely Ignored Benefits of Video Depositions: More…