Saturday, December 6, 2008
Harvard Law School's Program on the Legal Profession has put up a useful webpage organizing sessions and materials presented at its intensive Nov. 21 conference. Links to conference materials are included, and for several sessions you can view their presentations (see their webpage near the bottom for these links). Also linked and credited (twice) is Jeff Lipshaw's own live blogging of the event, all as organized at a final post Jeff helpfully provided. [Alan Childress]
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
Unfortunately, my posts from the Harvard Law School Program on the Globalization of the Legal Profession had to end at about 1:00 p.m. I could not stay for the lunch talks by Detlev Vagts, Elena Kagan, and Ben Heineman, nor the after-lunch program moderated by David Wilkins on outsourcing of legal work to India.
As a follow-up of sorts, the New York Times has a long piece today on U.S. associates in big firms going overseas.
Here are links back to the live blogging from Friday, November 21:
Friday, November 21, 2008
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
The next panel is on Lawyer Qualification and Professional Responsibility in the Global Setting.
U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns (D. Mass.) is speaking, and talking about the fact that he carries a diplomatic passport. Russia had a pre-Revolution jury system based on the English system, abolished by Lenin in 1917, and reconstituted in the 1991 constitution. He was involved in helping the Russian Federation with that effort.
He's also been involved with the international regimes for border security and WMD, using traditional judicial institutions. Everything changed with 9/11. Impulses to reject any international regime, spurred on recent economic problems - rise of nationalism and protectionism.
What does this have to do with lawyer regulation? The question is whether the international legal regime will survive at all.
[UPDATE: All Jeff's posts on live-blogged sessions are collected and linked at a final post. This later-session post continues after the jump.]
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
We're back and in the second panel on the regulatory framework in which the globalized legal profession operates. We are getting background on the WTO and GATS from Todd Nissen, who is the Director, Services Trade Negotiations, Office of the US Trade Representative.
Bottom line: there isn't much progress in developing "open markets" in legal services (from a regulatory standpoint). Nor has there been much progress on cross-border transparency of domestic regulation of legal services.
- Services more complicated than goods.
- Goods can all jump together; services want "proper sequencing."
- Limited leverage over the markets.
- Wide range of legal traditions
- Territorially defined regulation
- Independence of the judiciary
- Classification issues
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
Peter Kalis, of K&L Gates. Interesting. Very similar to my own beginnings. Kirkpatrick & Lockhart was a 80 person firm in Pittsburgh; my firm Dykema was a 100 person firm in Detroit in the late 1970s. K&L Gates is now 1,700 lawyers in 28 countries.
He's talking about how odd law firm management and leadership is. Leaders of the firm kind of accede to their positions. Mature profession/industry; "elevator assets;" the differentiators are people, brand, technology, and management. Scale and scope matter.
In financial performance among big law firms, bigger is better. If you want to run with the big dog, you have to be in London, Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong. Top 50 firms have more offices there than in Los Angeles.
The mother ship and satellite model is changing. US firms really have a three continent strategy; not clear that the UK firms do (with their limited number of US outposts). The percentage of work originated in one office and performed in another is increasing and that's what drives innovation.
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
Trevor Faure now speaking; he's the European GC for Tyco. He's a British barrister but not wearing his wig and gown.
Like most in-house lawyers in my experience, me included, he's taking a business approach that may or may not resonate with the audience here: law is a commodity that is bought and sold around the world all in the pursuit of return on invested capital that may come from anywhere in the world. Ivy covered walls, whether in the Inns of Court or the HLS (actually there's no ivy here), are NOT the driver of globalized big law.
He's showing an organizational chart that puts law as one small part of operating a business. Yup. He's also showing a three-legged stool as it were of legal coverage versus how much it costs to have it netted against how much it costs not to have it. Consistent with my own experience: e.g. if it is a contract for less than $X, and it is terminable in less than a year, YOYO (you're on your own).
Really good model of the problem of balancing (or optimizing) coverage versus head count versus consequence. He's using a lot of business management tools, polarity matrices, Six Sigma gap analysis, things about which our young lawyers, not to mention many long time big law partners, have no clue.
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
The first panel is an overview of law firm globalization with James Jones of Hildebrandt, Trevor Faure, the European GC for Tyco International, and Peter Kalis, the managing partner of K&L Gates.
Jones starts with an overview of globalization generally, and making the point that it impacts all law firms of any size, even though the program is on large firms that have themselves globalized.
The trend started with outpost "ex-pat" offices in Europe, mainly Brussels, but today US and other firms have become truly global, with the primary form being national offices staffed by nationals, not US ex-pats doing US law.
Pretty stable number of US firms with international offices over the last ten years, but huge increase in the numbers of offices per firm and the number of lawyers.
[UPDATE: All Jeff's posts on live-blogged sessions are collected and linked at a final post. This first-session post continues after the jump.]
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
I am sitting in the Ropes & Gray Room in Pound Hall at Harvard Law School, next to Bill Henderson, attending a day-long program on the globalization of the legal profession. Right now, Dr. David Nersessian, the executive director of the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession is giving an overview of the day, which will include a keynote address from Ben Heineman, the former GC of GE, and talks by David Wilkins, Elena Kagan, and other luminaries. Bill just said, hey, why don't you live blog? And that's what I'm going to.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
[by Bill Henderson, crossposted to the ELS Blog]
For anyone interested in the economic and political forces that are reshaping the legal profession, here is an event that you need to attend. On Friday, November 21, the Harvard Law School Program on the Legal Profession and the American Society of International Law are sponsoring a conference entitled "The Globalization of the Legal Profession." Conference registration is free, but space is limited. Details are online here.
Back in April, the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at GULC put on a conference entitled the "Future of the Global Law Firm." Similar to upcoming program at Harvard, speakers included academics, practitioners, clients, and allied professionals. The shared sense of rapid and major structural change was palpable. I consider the upcoming program an important extension of that conversation.
Further, as I reflect on the proliferation of so-called "global law schools" in China and India, which are being set up to serve major US and UK legal employers (and a topic at the HLS event), I am convinced that globalization will eventually reshape the American legal education system. Now is the time to plan; in ten years, the majority of law schools could be in the uneviable position of reacting to a major structure change.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
My colleague and suite-mate, Mike Rustad, is co-chairing "Successful Strategies for Jury Trials," a day-long conference to be held at the Suffolk University Law School here in the heart of downtown Boston on Friday, October 24, 2008. The panels will include state and federal judges, distinguished trial lawyers, and two of the leading academics in jury research, Professor Valerie Hans (left) of the Cornell Law School, and Neil Vidmar (right) of the Duke Law School. Take a look at the brochure: the topics will include how to conduct pretrial jury management in light of empirical research, the best trial strategies, insights into how juries make decisions, how juries perceive experts, and the role of jury consultants.
Highly recommended. Enroll while it's hot!
Monday, July 7, 2008
[posted by Bill Henderson]
During the upcoming academic year, the Georgetown Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics will be co-hosting a symposium on current trends and issues confronting lawyers and law firms. The organizers are particularly interested in work that provides insight into the dynamics of modern practice through the use of qualitative or quantitative empirical research methods. In the spring of 2009, the papers will be presented to a combined academic and practitioner audience at Georgetown University Law Center (travel and lodging paid for by symposium organizers). Researchers interested in participating should submit a working title of the proposed paper/study to Professor Mitt Regan (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Editor-in-Chief Matt Smith (email@example.com) by August 1, 2008. A draft of accepted papers will be due by October 30th; completed drafts will be due by November 30th. Please contact the symposium organizers with any additional questions.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
[Posted by Bill Henderson]
The International Journal on the Legal Profession has issued a call for papers on the topic "Impact of Legal Change on Legal Practitioners." Here are the details:
Journal of the Legal Profession invites submissions for a symposium on how
legal changes impact the day-to-day work of legal practitioners. The types of
issues that would be appropriate for articles includes how legal change impacts
such things as the market for specialized legal practices, lawyers’ decision
making practices about which cases to pursue, the way lawyers handle specific
types of cases, or how lawyers work with experts; these topics are meant to be
suggestive not exhaustive. More specific examples in the
The symposium editor will be Professor Herbert Kritzer, William Mitchell College of Law (firstname.lastname@example.org). Authors who have questions about whether their work would be appropriate for the symposium should contact Professor Kritzer.
More information after the jump:
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
[posted by Bill Henderson]
Last week, I attended the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) Solo & Small Firm Conference. I first started attending this event back in 2004 when I was preparing to teach my course on The Law Firm as a Business Organization. (In fact, the first year I attended the "boot camp" for lawyers who want to open their own practice.)
It is often said by practicing lawyers that law school does not prepare students to practice law. Within the law school environment, this is commonly interpreted as lack of practical skills training. Thus, externships, clinics and skills courses are often cited as the solution. Yet, my regular attendance at the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference has given me a different gauge to understand where we come up short. And frankly, I think the gap between law school and practice is often about something much more fundamental and human.
For example, this year (like every year), some touchstones of success included:
- Listening to clients--it is amazing (a) how unnatural this skill is for most lawyers and (b) how it can revolutionize your career if you learn how to do it.
- Updating your client monthly with a (free) status
report--well-informed clients are usually more satisfied, less likely to
complain, more likely to pay the bill, and more likely to refer business.
- Leveraging technology to increase office efficiency, including the importance of paying for high-quality training--few people are more tech-savvy than the solo and small firm crowd. Why? It is really a matter of financial survival.
- Learning to say "no" to matters outside your area of competency or to a client who has unrealistic expectations--which is extremely hard to do when you are experiencing cash flow problems. Yet, in small firm practice, poor judgment has serious and potentially irreversible financial consequences.
- The importance of networking, reputation, and not being a jerk--the most successful small firm lawyers enjoy relationships with people as an end in themselves. And from these relationships flow tremendous referral business.
None of these "skills" are taught or even signaled as important in law school. Indeed, with the
large tilt in law schools toward professors with large law firm
experience--and virtually all as associates rather than equity
partners--it is likely that we law professors undervalue the importance
of commonsense and practical judgment in building a successful
career. (How many of us could meet a payroll twice a month? What a daunting prospect!) Law schools supposedly teach students how to think like a lawyer,
but this often takes the form of an appellate lawyer who manipulates
the law under a fixed set of facts--with the most proficient having a shot at becoming a law professor.
But in my observation, this is a extremely truncated view of how
lawyers add value to clients and ultimately earn a living.
In sum, I want to go on record with my admiration of many solo & small firm lawyers who juggle a wide array of difficult client problems with such good humor and grace. They also provide concrete evidence that professionalism and integrity are the cornerstones of successful and happy careers. That is a message I hope to convey to my students. I am immensely grateful to the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference for once again giving me the opportunity to learn more about the lives of lawyers.
Monday, June 2, 2008
The Spring 2008 edition of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics is now available. Included are articles and a transcript of the Journal's 2007 symposium on corporate counsel. The articles are authored by Sarah Helene Duggin, Sung Hui Kim and Tanina Rostain. There are also articles from Dzeinkowski & Peroni on lawyer referrals to non-lawyer conflicts of interest, Lebovits, Curtin & Solomon on ethical judicial opinion writing, and (near and dear to me) an article on New Jersey's permanent disbarment rule by James R. Zazzali, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Special kudos to my former student and Journal Editor-in-Chief Tonio D. DeSorrento and Geoffrey R. Thompson for their conversation on derivatives-based innovation in the legal profession and capital markets. (Mike Frisch)
Thursday, May 22, 2008
There will be many good panels on the legal profession and ethics that are set to appear at Law & Society Montreal next week, about which Legal Ethics Forum posted extensive guiding comments, including John Steele's talk on retainer agreements. Also look for a paper to be presented May 29 by William T. Gallagher (Golden Gate, shown left as Clark Kent), reporting "the results of a study of the everyday lawyering practices of attorneys who enforce intellectual property rights in copyright and trademark cases." ..."perhaps over-enforce." Such devices as SLAPP suits and cease and desist letters will be considered. The presentation is Strategic Intellectual Property Litigation in Copyright and Trademark Cases.
Bill's panel on culture and IP practice also features the always-fascinating Susan Scafidi (SMU, visiting Fordham, shown right in always-apt pearls), whose blogging on culture and fashion including knock-offs [Counterfeit Chic] is widely read by both lawyers and fashionistas (Vogue-pawers and even accounting types who follow the big business of fashion production, marketing, and insignia). Scafidi authored the book Who Owns Culture? I wonder what her chic blog would say about my sister-in-law's dress design being knocked off by Forever 21...
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Posted by Jeff LIpshaw
Suffolk University Law School is hosting "Limited Liability Companies at 20: Cutting Edge Issues," an all-day program on Friday, June 13, 2008, featuring such LLC luminaries as Larry Ribstein (Illinois, right - doesn't he look like the actor James Rebhorn, left?), Robert Keatinge (who graced Suffolk with a year-long visit in 2007-08), Daniel Kleinberger (William Mitchell), and Suffolk's own Carter Bishop.
If the idea of traveling, even to Suffolk's incomparable facility in the heart of downtown Boston, on Friday the 13th gives you the willies, you can still participate via webcast, courtesy of Suffolk's peripatetic Advanced Legal Studies office. Check it out!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"The Third International Legal Ethics Conference will be held on Australia's beautiful Gold Coast on 13-16 July 2008. ... The primary aim of the conference is to provide a forum for informed and lively debate within the various conference themes." Detailed Information, speakers, and a call for papers are linked here. Our prior link here to the colorful and printable conference schedule.
Notably for LPB readers:
The conference will be designed to cater for both scholars and legal practitioners, with a designated "practitioners’ day" which will include papers, presentations and discussions of particular relevance to practising lawyers.
The conference themes embrace international perspectives, and will provide delegates from Australia and abroad with opportunities to hear and share ideas and arguments that have implications for "lawyering" across jurisdictions.
Posted by Alan Childress
Speaking of Suffolk and Legal Ethics Forum (intersected in this previous post), their own Andy Perlman has posted this generous invite to a Thurs. May 29 dinner in a Boston restaurant. It is for interested bloggers and friends who are in town as part of the ABA meeting in Boston May 28-31. That is the 34th National Conference on Professional Responsibility. The conference is to be held at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. You can approach him by face (<---) at the conference.
I wish I could join him then, especially since dinner is discounted via using LEF ad revenues. One of the ironies of the google ad sense algorithm that generates some funds for LEF is that slogans for ads can appear randomly and incongrously right next to their substantive posts. I note that right now displayed next to Andy's post on this dinner are the large words, "Best Kept Secret?" But anyway that week is also the Law and Society Association's annual meeting; this year it is in Montreal, with several panels on lawyers and the profession. I will be there and hope to meet some readers and old friends (dutch).
But, seriously, this is actually very nice of Andy and we salute him. I hope Jeff goes and blogs on it.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Posted by Alan Childress
The annual meeting of the Law & Society Association, this year in conjunction with the Canadian Law & Society Association, will be held in Montreal, Canada, from May 29-June 1, 2008 (with some events, particularly of the Canadian group, a few days after). Here is program and hotel information, and a guide to the many interesting panels proposed: Download prog_4_10.doc. Some of them deal with issues of legal business and practice, including trends in big firms and problems of prosecutorial misconduct. One I look forward to is hearing Marc Galanter and Bill Henderson on "the [new, elastic] tournament of lawyers" and their study forthcoming in Stanford Law Review, as noted on at Legal Ethics Forum here, with a link to the SSRN version of their important paper.
UPDATE: Other Law & Society panels on the legal profession, law firms, and global practice are listed in comments to this post at LEF, including a May 29 presentation (on biglaw engagement agreements) by one of its editors, John Steele. That panel goes on my to-do list too.
Call for Papers - 2009 AALS Annual Meeting - Joint Program of the Professional Responsibility and Clinical Sections
CALL FOR AALS ANNUAL MEETING PRESENTATION PROPOSALS Joint Professional Responsibility and Clinical Sections 2009 AALS Annual Meeting Program, Jan.7-10, 2009; Session Commemorating the Fortieth Anniversary of the Council on Legal Education for Professional Responsibility (CLEPR).
The Planning Committee for the 2009 AALS Annual Meeting Joint Program of the Professional Responsibility and Clinical Sections is seeking innovative proposals for presentations or posters related to the teaching of ethical reflection in law practice and related topics for possible inclusion in the 2009 annual meeting program. Preference will be given to proposals involving interactive presentations. Potential presentation topics might include: innovative methods of teaching reflective learning about professional values and goals through case rounds, simulations, case studies, or externship seminars; teaching of legal ethics and professionalism values through the pervasive method and/or by integrating ethics and professional reflection into substantive law courses and subjects; and assessment in course components addressed to the development of reflective, ethics and professionalism skills.
The Planning Committee will consider proposals for possible oral or poster presentations. Please submit proposals describing anticipated presentation, along with any supporting materials, to Susan Carle at email@example.com, by June 15, 2008.