RuleThe race is on—in fact it is well underway. Somewhere, some lonely legal tech guru is sitting in his garage working on “the greatest thing since the invention of the hornbook.” Based on algorithms that would make most string theorists drool at their complexity, the new app will not tell you what the law is

FootballJordan Furlong (The Law21 Blog) posted an essay recently titled, “Playing the client’s game.” As usual, it is a well written and interesting piece and I agree with most of what he says. But the issues he talks about are very important and I don’t think most law firm partners and most

Educating

On October 10, 2016, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Sveriges Riskbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2016 to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström “for their contributions to contract theory.” The Nobel Prize has been awarded twice before to economists who focused on contract theory (Ronald Coase, 1991; Oliver

ValueNetworkPrior to World War II

During the Edo and Meiji Periods up until World War II, Japan’s economy was influenced and then dominated by zaibatsu. Eventually, four zaibatsu became the most powerful: Sumotomo, Mitsui, Mitsubishi, and Yasuda. Each zaibatsu was controlled by a family. The zaibatsu controlled significant portions of steel, banking, mining, and other

karateThe next time someone approaches you and suggests it is time to change, check your heartbeat. The simple mention of the word “change,” regardless of what follows, seems to evoke a reaction in each of us. Heart rates increase, breathing becomes faster and shallower, adrenaline starts pumping, and we get ready to fight or flee.

BoxersThis is not a robust defense of the embattled millionaires running today’s large law firms. I am not going to throw myself between the partners of those firms and the many (and growing) ranks of in-house lawyers taking free shots at them for failing to convert the money machines of big law into egalitarian not-for-profit

Cede2There is a movement underway with the goal of deciding the future of law. Technologists call it deciding the metes and bounds of what artificial intelligence and robots may do. The question is not what they can do, but what humans will allow them to do. Right now, technologists have appointed themselves the leaders of

Delegate

The legal profession is a closed system which leads to some, ahem, weird economic ideas played out in real life. I am not an economist, so I write this essay with apologies to those of you who are members of that distinguished tribe. I am sure there is a rational economic explanation for what

MoonshotIt takes an undergraduate degree, a law degree, and passing the bar exam to become a lawyer in the United States. In other countries, it takes less time in the classroom, but some time in the real world. The money and time invested in training a lawyer before he or she has practiced for a

OverhireWhat might be cause for cheers today is really another warning shot across the bow. The growth in law department hiring will be followed by a dark period as law departments shrink. General counsel can avoid some troubled times ahead if they don’t overhire and modernize their practices now.

Most lawyers believe they are mostly