Stephen Embry

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“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain   So last week, I took my first business trip since March 2020. Venturing out in the brave new world to give a law practice management presentation to an industry group in Chicago. To be honest, I approached the event with excitement but…
The annual Law360 Pulse Diversity Snapshot was recently released, and the numbers are once again depressing. The fact is that the practice of law remains the province of white people. (The Survey did not look at how women are faring, although a coming Law360 Survey will. But I would guess it would be accurate to say the profession still belongs primarily, if not exclusive, to old white guys). I had a chance recently to talk to Kerry Benn, Director of Series, Surveys & Data at Law360, about the Survey.   Benn told me Law 360 has been doing the…
The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) will kick off its annual in-person Conference on August 22nd in Las Vegas. But it will be without the presence of many of the world’s leading legal tech journalists. ILTA has invited and waived registration fees for a select number of legal tech journalists to attend in person. The rest must attend virtually.     The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) will kick off its annual in-person and hybrid Conference on August 22nd in Las Vegas. But it will be without the presence of many of the world’s leading and most influential legal tech…
Instead of overthinking and overanalyzing associate return to office policies, why not let associates decide where and when they should work based on what needs to be done, the type of work they are doing and the needs and demands of the client and the partner with whom they are working?   Lots of chatter recently about how big law firms and, to a lesser extent, in-house legal departments should manage the return of their associates to the office as the pandemic ebbs. Should everyone be “strongly encouraged” to return to work every day (wink, wink, nod, nod)? Should the…
I was reminded through a couple of examples this week of the importance of listening to your customers if you are a product or service provider. It’s stating the obvious: if you want to sell something to someone, you ought to know what they think, Duh…   Yet, lots of lawyers seem to resist the notion of asking their clients what they think of the lawyer’s work, the lawyer, and the law firm. Like its somehow beneath the lawyer to ask what can be done better? What was done poorly?   So here are the examples that brought home the…
The more things change, the more they remain the same.   LexisNexis recently announced the release of its 2021 Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report. In its eighth year, the Trends Report, according to LexisNexis, is based on an analysis of more than $40 billion in legal spending, almost 8 million invoices, and more than one million matters.   This year’s report provides updates on its six critical billing related metrics. It is based on 2020 charges billed by outside counsel. And it includes an analysis of the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The report pulls from several granular subcategories…
Factor, one of the largest and more well known alternate legal service providers (ASLPs), recently announced the launch of something called the Legal Transaction Optimization service. Up to now, Factor has focused its offerings and products to in-house legal departments and law firm clients. But Legal Transaction Optimization is designed to provide law firms tech-enabled transaction management, due diligence, and documentation support to deal teams. In other words, Factor is asking law firms to buy services that would replace work that is being done by support staff and junior associates.   Ed Sohn, Factors Head of Solutions, recently…
In its recent decision in TransUnion v. Ramirez, the Supreme Court clarified the mere risk of future injury can not support standing without a separate concrete harm. This will have far reaching repercussions in data breach and privacy litigation. As I have discussed several times, there has been a glaring conflict among federal circuits concerning what is or is not standing in the data breach, virtual world.    Article III of the U.S. Constitution requires that a plaintiff suffers an injury in fact that is concrete and which the law recognizes, to maintain an action. Article III has been interpreted…
E-discovery providers are primed to make the shift from providing products designed for e-discovery to providing products for much more complex document analytics.   Casepoint is typically thought of as an e-discovery company, although it describes itself as a “leader in cloud-based legal technology solutions.” It recently announced a new iteration to its built-in AI and advanced analytics technology, called CaseAssist.   According to the Casepoint press release, the enhanced technology will “give users more insight and control over the analytics process with enhanced visualization capabilities and configuration templates.” Says Casepoint, the enhancements will provide a continuing learning…
The truth is law is just not a client service driven business. And it looks like the pandemic has done little to change that. Wolters Kluwer’s 3rd annual Future Ready Lawyer Survey came out this week. The Survey seeks to demonstrate how (or maybe how little) the legal profession is evolving. How ready (or how little) the profession is prepared for the future.   Lots of data and statistics that  pundits like Bob Ambrogi and Richard Tromans have studied and analyzed and provided their views of what the data all means.  What it shows, particularly in the legal tech and…
Meet the new bossSame as the old boss The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again. June 1971 Lots of speculation these days about what the new normal for law firms, especially larger ones, will look like. Will law firms continue to allow remote work? Or will they mandate a return to the office? Will they, as one firm has done ” strongly encourage” return (wink, wink, nod, nod)? Will they tell associates they can work at home…but if you want to be on the partner track….   Add to the mix law firm reluctance to change, the desire of younger lawyers…
Uber Preferred Counsel Program uses data, metrics and tough questions to determine outside counsels’ commitment to diversity.   Let’s be blunt: The legal profession in general and law firms, in particular, have an abysmal record of diversity and inclusion. I have written about this several times, but despite the urgings of those more influential and well-spoken than me, improvements, well, just haven’t happened. The most recent ABA Study of diversity progress (or better put, lack thereof) glaringly demonstrates the failures.   The improvement in quality of work and decision making of diverse teams—teams composed of those other than old (and…
Automated contract analysis and analytical tools are getting increasingly sophisticated, making transactional work more efficient and less lawyers centric. Thomson Reuters today announced the launch of HighQ Contract Analysis. The product is a contract review and analysis tool that uses machine learning to answer specific questions from legal professionals and then spit out an easy-to-read report. The tool lets you ask such things as “What are the landlord’s maintenance obligations ?” or “Is there a mutual right to break?”   The announcement came as part of the first-ever Thomson Reuters Legal SYNERGY conference, a virtual event that includes product…
Esquire eLitigate Helps Attorneys and Court Reporters Standardize and Optimize Virtual Deposition Processes.   Esquire Deposition Solutions, a national provider of remote and in-person court reporting and video, yesterday announced it is partnering with a remote deposition and exhibit management provider vTestify to provide a product called Esquire eLitigate. eLitigate is a technology platform that’s designed specifically for virtual depositions. Currently, in a pilot phase, Esquire eLitigate will be released commercially in August 2021.   Esquire and vTestify describe eLitigate as “a purpose-built, secure virtual deposition platform with all-in-one videoconferencing and exhibit management capabilities for attorneys and court…
When looked at as a whole, the 2020 financial performance of the AmLaw 200 looks great. But there are troubling issues for the AmLaw “2nd 100”. ALM recently released its financial summary for the AmLaw 200 for 2020. (The AmLaw 200 consists of the top 200 firms in gross dollar revenue). On the surface, the picture looks rosy for 2021. But a closer look reveals some clouds on the horizon for the second 100 law firms, which rank from 101-200 in gross revenues.   ALM summarized the results last week in a Webinar held by Gina Passarella, Editor…
The standard advice used to be for lawyers to model their client service after Starbucks. Make the experience and service fantastic. But if the current state of Starbucks service (and that offered by many other businesses) post-Covid is any indication, that’s the worst model for lawyers. A better model: double down on customer service and experience. I recently had the following exchange with Starbucks support:   Me: Up until a week or so ago, I could walk into Starbucks, order a grande Pike, and the person taking the order would turn around, fill a cup and hand it to me…