One sure way to put a damper on blog posting is to spend a month in Venice, Italy, which I had the pleasure of doing this June and never thought once about Law 2050. But now it’s back to reality and a top priority is planning and scheduling the third offering of my Law 2050 class this fall semester here at Vanderbilt Law School. We already have great speakers lined up with more to be scheduled.
As I was putting the schedule together today and thinking about new ideas for the class, serendipity struck in the form of an email from Perry Brandt, a Vandy Law alum and managing partner of the Kansas City office of Bryan Cave (and a speaker in this fall’s class). He sent a link to a Chicago Lawyer story about one of the most innovative initiatives I have seen any major law firm take to embrace the Post-Normal times: They flew 100 associates from around their offices to a two-day boot camp in which they tasked their pool of future partners to redesign the firm for the future. I encourage you to read the full story so won’t try to summarize it here other than to offer this snippet to give you the gist:
The firm’s message was clear: These young associates are entering a business on the brink of profound change brought on by technology and shifting economics. The future depends on their ability to adapt. And partners need to learn to listen and empower them. Toward that end, the firm held a “hack-a-thon” in which associate groups presented ideas for technologies that would aid their practice. The firm promised to spend $10,000 developing the winning idea.
Against a backdrop of illustrations from the two-day conference, associates applaud a group’s hack-a-thon pitch. One illustration reads: “Rise of the MACHINE. ” Nearby, an associate daydreams at his desk: “What business are we actually in?” Photo by Karen Elshout.
There was much more than that to the event, including a presentation by Bruce MacEwen, the New York-based law firm consultant who writes the blog Adam Smith, Esq., titled “The Rise of the Machine,” and what appears to have been meaningful interaction between firm leaders and the assembled associates.
Kudos to Bryan Cave for not just “getting it,” but doing something meaningful about it by investing in and empowering their young attorneys. I’m planning on adapting the idea to my Law 2050 class.
And with that, Round III of Law 2050 is off and running. More posts to follow!