Lawyers will give you any number of reasons why their win-loss rates in court are not accurate reflections of their legal skills. Yet a growing number of companies are evaluating lawyers by this standard – compiling and analysing lawyers’ litigation track records to help consumers and businesses make more-informed hiring decisions. The shortcomings of evaluating lawyers by win rates are many. Not least of them is that so few cases ever make it to a win or loss. Of equal concern is that, in the nuances of law practice, it is not always obvious what constitutes a win or a loss.
The ‘quality versus quantity’ discussion has been prevalent in conveyancing firms for as long as I can remember. Sacrifice one to achieve the other is the common perception – but should we really see these elements as mutually exclusive? According to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the UK lags behind the US and Germany by some 30 percentage points when it comes to productivity, meaning a German worker takes four days to produce what a British worker does in five.
Cyber-security has been the subject of repeated headline news over the past few years. It’s a stark warning about the enhanced threats to our IT infrastructures and the need for constant vigilance of IT usage in the workplace. Worryingly, despite its high-risk status, cyber-crime remains fairly low down law firms’ agendas. Let’s give cyber-crime the attention it deserves. After all, it really is better to be safe than sorry. To help you out, here are 10 top tips on desktop security to create a robust, reliable and secure cyber environment.
In 2005, after spending some 25 years in and around the law, I set about writing down what I had learned and valued most. What emerged as of central importance in my career and for the firm I created was relationships: with colleagues, clients and indeed anyone I dealt with in the course of practice and business. Professional, working, relationships are different to personal relationships, and perhaps a little simpler in some respects, and they deserve our deliberate attention.
I recently made my predictions for 2017, and one was that pundits and others in the legal industry would keep talking about artificial intelligence (AI) and law. Since I want to get 100% on my predictions, again, I thought I would start the New Year by ensuring I at least got this one right. So, I’ll talk about AI and law. I am going to focus on some questions that you do not hear discussed every day. They circle around an interesting question: are the emerging technologies, such as AI and smart contracts, about to make law more brittle?
We know that, for barristers, personal finance matters can often fall to the bottom of the pile, behind the focus on family and clients. We therefore offer our suggestions to get the New Year off to a good start. Investing a small amount of time in this now can save you lots more in the long term, as well as providing peace of mind and reducing the associated stress, so that you can do a better job for your clients.
If there are any lawyers out there who are starting to relax, believing that predictions of the demise of law as we have known it in the face of technological change have been exaggerated, they should think again as 2017 begins. A growing hum of activity by the sort of bright and industrious people who have transformed the world in many other respects is being heard in legal corridors hitherto largely undisturbed by the modern world. As their ideas achieve traction, they will disrupt the profession and perhaps even displace lawyers who imagined their careers were set to last a lifetime.
Experience of practice by digital support suggests that working practices will become much more informal and spontaneous, not requiring support by specific entities or even contractual arrangements. This is likely to be particularly true of the Bar, which is or should be a profession focusing on individuals. The future of the Bar is more likely to resemble a library as seen in Scotland and Ireland – albeit an electronic library – rather than the traditional chambers structure.
Outsourcing is a strategy increasingly adopted by law firms and alternative business structures eager to operate more efficiently and focus on their priorities of fee-earning and business management. But, before engaging an outsourcing provider, careful screening is recommended. To help you, we’ve compiled these essential questions.
While the large international law firms agonise over the possible impacts of Brexit, it’s fair to say that most SME practices, which are not active outside of our borders, feel less threatened, though they do understand that anything which affects the broader UK economy will filter through to them at some point. But whether in or out, there are real opportunities for all size of firms, and there are few that will not be asked by clients for help or recommendations for overseas or cross-border work at some stage.