Resolutions for 2018: A Short List for Legal Practitioners from the Legal Executive Institute

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Resolutions are, by and large, promises to ourselves that we don’t intend to keep. At least that’s the common joke around the annual practice of personal goal-setting. Life quickly gets in the way of these aspirations, and this is no less true of resolutions we set for our businesses.

Even so, people return to the ritual each January with optimism and a commitment to continual improvement. In that spirit, we at the Legal Executive Institute wanted to offer our own list of proposed resolutions for the coming year. But with a bit of a twist. You see, these are not one-and-done suggestions. Rather, each forms the basis of much of the commentary and analysis you will see on this blog and in our Legal Executive Institute live events throughout the year.

In the coming months, you will find insightful articles from our own stable of authors, guest posts from industry experts, and world-class coverage of our live events that will help you dive deeper into the broad topics introduced below, with practical examples about how to implement them in your own practice.

So, without further ado, our suggested resolutions for 2018:

  1. Re-examine how you deliver and consume legal services — In today’s environment, legal organizations must be bold, innovative and willing to adapt. Winning approaches will balance profitability for law firms and other service providers with value and predictable pricing for clients.
  2. Diversify your workforce — There are two steps to creating diversity: acknowledgement and action. Part 1 is done: there is broad acknowledgment of the need for – and value of — greater diversity within legal profession. Now it’s time for organizations to identify specific steps required to put that knowledge into action.
  3. Make decisions based on actionable intelligence — Truly strategic decision-making requires accurate and timely intelligence. Understanding the types of data your practice creates and then learning what that data can teach you can pay huge dividends. Letting data guide your decision-making can make the discernment process easier, faster and more defensible.
  4. Envision a practice that doesn’t look like “business as usual” — Be deliberate about innovation. Many legal execs are laying the groundwork for future success by examining workflows, embracing efficiency, designing new roles and exploring new avenues to continued productivity improvement and value enhancement.
  5. Become familiar with the realities of AI — Grow your understanding of what artificial intelligence can do to help you create value. AI is already an integral part of many of the tools we use every day, and it has broad implications for the business and practice of law going forward. Avoid the hype and develop a clearer understanding of the pragmatic application of artificial intelligence in the law.
  6. Understand the burdens of compliance — Risk and compliance concerns place huge burdens on corporate legal departments. For risk and compliance managers, as well as in-house counsel, that means a growing awareness of emerging legal issues around such key areas as following proper anti-money-laundering (AML) rules; utilizing robust Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures to battle the rising cost of e-commerce fraud; and understanding the importance of overall fraud detection and how that can impact the broader business. For law firms, it means developing ways to help clients address these and other challenges before they become problems.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of the issues that will compete for your attention in the coming year. But they are among the issues that will warrant deeper consideration and attention from all legal practitioners seeking success in 2018 and beyond.

Watch this space in the coming weeks and months for more commentary, analysis and expert insight to help you guide your practice successfully forward. And Happy New Year!

  • Gina Scialabba

    Great post, Bill.