We will conduct the 21st Annual Law Firm Leaders Forum at the Pierre Hotel in New York City on October 6 & 7. It promises to be the most timely, lively and informative program in our long series.
For starters, I will be joined by two new co-chairs, who bring refreshing and diverse perspectives: Jami Wintz McKeon, the Firm Chair of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the largest law firm in the U.S. as measured by number of lawyers, and Beau Grenier, the Chairman of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, one the country’s most outstanding regional firms. This event’s new leadership assures that we have a program for law firms of all strategies and dimensions.
In addition to our annual reviews of trends and financial performance among law firms, we have several particularly exciting sessions this year, including:
ABA Call for Regulatory Reform & Other Innovations
We have a remarkable session set for Thursday afternoon that will explore the recently-released, groundbreaking findings and recommendations of the American Bar Association’s (ABA’s) Commission of the Future of Legal Services. (I explored these findings and recommendations myself in a previous blog post.) Among other proposals, the Commission called on state supreme courts to reconsider regulations governing legal service, specifically focusing on expanding the range of permissible roles for “non-lawyers” and continuing the study of outside investment in law firms.
The panel will include the leaders of the Commission (Commission Chair Judy Perry Martinez and ABA Past President William Hubbard), observers who think the Commission could have gone further (Eddie Hartman of LegalZoom) and those who think the Commission may have gone too far (Glenn Lau-Kee, former 117th President of the New York State Bar Association).
Other esteemed panelist include the leaders of pro bono legal services which were at the center of many of the Commission’s findings (Lisa Foster, the Director of the Office for Access to Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Jim Sandman, President of Legal Services Corp.) And perhaps most significant, a sitting state supreme court chief justice to whom responsibility for acting on the Commission’s recommendations for regulatory reform will fall (Chief Justice Mark Martin of the North Carolina Supreme Court).
Deep Dive in Legal Technology
The ABA session on innovation will be followed by a concrete look at the ways 21st century technology now enables law firms to really do things differently. Most panels on legal technology are long on theory and short on specifics. This one will deliver the goods.
We have assembled a group of six companies with meaningful track records enabling innovation: Modria, the leading provider of on line dispute resolution; Neota Logic, the pioneer in enabling firms to create tailored apps that facilitate efficient client service; Ravel Law, which has been breaking new ground in visualized research and data analytics, having entered a unique arrangement with Harvard Law School to digitize its entire law library; Allegory Law, a unique platform that streamlines and synchronizes the work of humans and machines on complex matters; Everlaw, which offers innovative application of computer science that enables document review to capture the full legal significance of the data and populate all relevant documents with its learning; and Hotshot, which brings creativity and high production value to delivering essential training to all associates online and on-demand.
Each company will describe what if offers law firms and then be “interrogated” by a panel of legal technology experts — Prof. Dan Katz, innovative leader now at the Chicago Kent Law School; Ron Dolin, a Google “first 100” computer scientist and Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Law Center on the Legal Profession; Sanjay Kamlani, co-founder of Pangea3 and serial entrepreneur; and me — in a “Shark Tank” format. It will be lively and specific.
Presidential Election Keynote
Since the program takes place just one month before the extraordinary 2016 presidential election, we chose as our keynote speakers two journalists with keen insights on what is unfolding: William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist from The Washington Post. Bringing distinctly different perspectives to bear, these two are sure to provide a provocative exchange. Attendees will have an opportunity to engage with the speakers, as well.
Welcome Dinner at La Grenouille
On the evening before the program, October 5, we invite all attendees to join us for a reception and dinner at the iconic restaurant La Grenouille, on East 52nd Street. The event will offer an opportunity for casual conversation with the faculty and other attendees, not to mention outstanding French cuisine.
I hope to see you in New York City on October 5, 6 & 7.