Home » Law 2050 Initiative » Law 2050 Law Firm and In-House Leader Panels Offer Insights to My Students

Law 2050 Law Firm and In-House Leader Panels Offer Insights to My Students

My Law 2050 class is off to a fast start. The highlight to kick off the class each year has been two panels, one of law firm leaders followed by the other of in-house leaders, to open a deep discussion of the legal services industry in these post-normal times. As in years past, this year’s panels hit on many themes of the class. Some of the memorable comments and responses from panelists follow below. By now anyone working this space will find these self-explanatory, insightful, and real. Many thanks to my panelists for taking time out of their busy schedules to share these with the students.

Law Firm Leaders: Perry Brandt of Bryan Cave, Matt Burnstein of Waller Lansden, and Andrea Farley of Troutman Sanders

  • We are never going back to the way it was
  • Law firms need to double-down on technology and innovation
  • Develop expertise in emerging areas
  • These forces affect different firms in different ways
  • Comparison is the thief of joy
  • Partner mobility has changed the culture
  • The bigger the client, the more they want to see legal project management
  • We no longer hold the keys to the kingdom
  • BigLaw is a work in progress
  • BigLaw is not easy

In-house Leaders: Julie Ortmeier of Carfax, Wade Turner of Academy Sports, and Leslie Zmugg of Caterpillar Financial

  • Success is a business result, not a lawyering result. Attorneys who say they get that but don’t are a dime a dozen
  • I don’t want a memo; I want an answer
  • The make-or-buy environment is changing
  • I have yet to find an alternative fee arrangement that saves me money
  • The majority of law firms’ future clients are their present associates
  • Law firms need to develop a business model so that 1st and 2nd year associates don’t feel billing pressure
  • I am no longer hesitant to jump firms if I am not happy
  • In litigation, e-discovery costs drive the fight-or-settle decision far more than lawyer costs
  • It’s not always easy to outsource. There is no universal playbook, and the core of a matter often cannot be outsourced
  • The amount of lawyering that is truly unique is about 10 percent. There is room for the computer scientists to move in on the rest

And last but not least–

  • We are ripe for disruption


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