Legal Business

    • 9 Feb 2012

    “Data Driven”: In a Car, Is the Driver a Bug… or a Feature?

    Driver: Bug or Feature? "The fact that you're still driving is a bug," [Google's Anthony] Levandowski says, "not a feature." I'm sure there'll be the inevitable responses about computer crashes vs. auto crashes, but Levandowski has a point. Read the sentence again, not as "the driver is a bug" but as "the fact that you still have to drive is a bug." ...
    • 9 Feb 2012

    Facebook IPO | A Take-away Idea for Law Firm Strategy

    Potential buyers got their first look at Facebook financials yesterday, which showed the company produced a $1 billion profit last year from $3.71 billion in revenues. The company derives 85% of those revenues from advertising, with the rest from social gaming and other fees. The initial public offering could value the social network between $75 billion and $100 billion, putting the company on track for one of the biggest...
    • 23 Jan 2012

    Required Viewing: Paddy Ashdown on the “Global Power Shift”

    My colleagues at Walker Clark and I frequently stress the critical importance of informed strategic planning. Part of that information should include an in-depth understanding of the major trends that are shaping our changing world. Although global in scope, such forces have powerful effects on national and local law firms, even on those who do not currently have a single "international" client. I highly...
    • 23 Jan 2012

    Project Leadership and Motivation

    What does science know about motivating employees that businesses too often ignore? That's the topic of an 18-minute talk by (nonpracticing) lawyer Dan Pink . He frames it as an argument to the jury of the audience. In this 2009 talk, he describes the science of motivation, which is fairly well known. He reports that for professional or knowledge-work task, intrinsic motivators work better than extrinsic motivators...
    • 17 Jan 2012

    Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

    Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy. Did you say pricing? Now go and read or at least skim the article, and then consider BigLaw as it stands today as...
    • 17 Jan 2012

    "2012 CFO Outlook" - A survey by Merrill Lynch and Bank of America - What does this mean for law firms?

    Now that the holidays are behind us, let's get down to some serious business - and some prognosticating about what law firms' business and financial lives might be like this year. The bottom line is that the CFO respondents (600 of them from corporate America) are concerned and have low confidence in the economy - in spite of their prediction that corporate revenues and hiring will increase. A post on the BofA...
    • 17 Jan 2012

    Inspiration for the New Year | Bringing great projects to life

    There are two fatal errors that keep great projects from coming to life: Not finishing Not starting -Buddha A DEEP BREATH OF LIFE Early last year I took a yoga class at Florida Keys Community College. While I was far from a good student, having missed more than half the classes, the small investment I made paid off in a BIG way. At the end of each class the instructor read from a book, which I eventually...
    • 8 Nov 2011

    A Lesson in Leadership from Aon’s Litigation Counsel

    Mark Herrmann, Chief Litigation Counsel for Aon, writes about his first 360 review here . A 360 review is common in many corporations for mid-level and senior managers. An HR consultant (usually) helps you map your self-assessed strengths and weaknesses against those defined by your manager(s), your team, and those on other teams who are your client/customer or with whom you partner. (Don't confuse a 360 with...
    • 2 Nov 2011

    The Hobgoblin of Foolish Consistency

    (I should have posted this yesterday, when hobgoblins were out and about in the neighborhoods. And the first half wanders far afield before returning to project leadership concepts. You can skip the intro and jump right to that point .) I was working on some slides when I noticed that PowerPoint breaks a "rule" maintained by (I think) all other Microsoft applications. The rule is honored, in fact, by...
    • 26 Oct 2011

    “Dead files” — but do they need to smell bad?

    One of the best sources of entertainment about professional ethics is the monthly newsletter of the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania (USA) Supreme Court. Because I cannot begin to approach the wittiness of their writers, I beg their pardon for quoting this month's example of bizarre professional responsibility issues. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' Files The legal profession owes a debt of gratitude...
    • 19 Oct 2011

    Everything you need to know about legal business development (in seven words)

    A few years ago, I wrote a blog post called "Everything you need to know about legal marketing and sales, in nine words." (The nine words were: identify prospects, get meetings, listen, get advances, don't stop.) But lawyers don't have time for nine words, so I then cut it to seven: meet the right people, advance the relationships. Think first about the clients you already have. These are the...
    • 18 Oct 2011

    Steve Jobs, Teamwork, and Legal Project Management

    Jonah Lehrer writes in Wired and The New Yorker about Steve Jobs using architecture to inculcate teamwork when he took over Pixar. He insisted that Pixar's headquarters be designed so that disparate groups of employees were forced to come together for certain functions. He insisted on a large central atrium, in which he placed the mailboxes, and alongside which he located the meeting rooms, the cafeteria...
    • 10 Oct 2011

    Everyone’s Trying to Get in on the Act

    I saw an ad today for a university-sponsored legal project management 1 course for in-house counsel. I checked out the instructors, figuring that a reputable university would of course engage one of the specialists in this area. In this case I assumed it would be one of my colleague-competitors, since the course was news to me. I have great respect for a number of my colleagues in this area. While of course...
    • 6 Oct 2011

    The Steve Jobs of Law?

    Larry Ribstein has a great short post over at Truth on the Market reflecting on the future of law, titled Waiting for the Steve Jobs of Law . He notes, "Law is waiting for its Steve Jobs (or Bill Gates)." Actually, the computer market needed both Steve and Bill. They goaded each other and yet supported each other. Both Apple and Microsoft were stronger for the other's presence. Imagine a legal...
    • 6 Oct 2011

    Steve Jobs

    I knew the day was coming, and I knew it would come for him sooner than for most of us, it's still a shock to hear of the death of Steve Jobs. Apple was a love-it-or-hate-it company, and within the technology world there are many who fall into the latter camp. Still, even those most frustrated with some of the things Apple did remained in awe of Jobs himself - his vision, his insistence on visual elegance...
    • 5 Oct 2011

    Can Project Managers Win by Being Annoying?

    Some project managers lead successful projects by working well with the members of their team, their business partners/clients, and so on. Actually, most successful project managers are successful because they know how to work with people. Sometimes, in difficult situations and get-us-out-of-this-mess projects, they can succeed even when they're brusque. But downright abrasive? Self-righteous? I suppose...
    • 5 Oct 2011

    Specifications Failure!

    Here's a picture of the field from Sunday's Jaguars-Saints football game, from NFL.com: Look at the directional arrows painted on the field next to the yard markers. Compare the arrow on the 10-yard line at the top of the picture with that at the bottom. (They're supposed to point to the nearest end zone. The bottom set is wrong.) This points out an interesting (apparent) paradox of project...
    • 14 Sep 2011

    Why sorry is the hardest word

    I had a very interesting conversation with a colleague yesterday around a workshop he was facilitating for a fairly sizeable group of lawyers. As part of the discussion he asked the question "how many of you have ever been the subject of a client complaint". Our subsequent discussion centered around the fact that the solitary hand that was raised did not seem representative of the either the statistical...
    • 14 Sep 2011

    An introduction to legal project management (Part 3 of 3)

    This series of posts is a slightly extended version of an article that appeared in the July 2011 issue of Managing Partner magazine . To download a PDF of the published version of my article, click here. Firms that are looking for more affordable solutions sometimes start by focusing on the role of non-lawyer project managers. Many law firms already have project managers in-house in IT and other departments...
    • 8 Sep 2011

    Legal Project Management by another Name

    Jay Shepard has an interesting post today at Above the Law where he talks about the need for partners to teach associates to be future partners . He lists seven things a teaching partner should do to strengthen the firm for the future: Be consistent. Share the whole picture. Provide client contact. Give the associate a chance to "think on his feet" where it matters. Teach legal writing...
    • 7 Sep 2011

    Intellectual Property Considerations For Online Business Owners, Part 2

    By Susan Radde, Assistant General Counsel for True Value Company If you're a small online business owner and you're working with a service provider to develop new ideas, characters or other "fuzzy" types of concepts along those lines, you need to be very careful about your intellectual property rights. The key is to make sure that you own all of these concepts and ideas so that the service...
    • 7 Sep 2011

    Intellectual Property Considerations For Online Business Owners, Part 1

    By Susan Radde, Assistant General Counsel for True Value Company If you are a new company launching an online business, the look and feel of your website is crucial to your success. If you are a small business, unfortunately you might not have the internal resources to create the necessary content and images to launch a successful website. You need to ask, how do you get this content and who's going to own...
    • 7 Sep 2011

    Essential Considerations When Drafting Your Website’s Terms of Use Policy

    By David A. Wheeler , Greenberg Traurig One of the questions that I often hear from online business owners is "why can't I just copy someone else's terms of use off their website and use it on mine?" My answer is, why would you want to invite someone else's liability into your own front yard? It's just not a good practice. It's not something I would ever advise doing. What you...
    • 7 Sep 2011

    A Terms Of Use Policy Is Essential For All Online Business Owners

    By David A. Wheeler , Greenberg Traurig, LLP For online business owners, there really are no exceptions, in my view, as to whether or not you should have a website terms of use. You want it to protect your intellectual property, you want it to protect your proprietary information and you want to use it as a shield from liability. You want to make sure to lay out that there are certain limited warranties with regard...
    • 1 Sep 2011

    How Dumb Is the Pointy-Haired Boss?

    Scott Adams and Dilbert regularly ridicule management, usually represented by the pointy-haired boss, or PHB. Over the many years Adams has been drawing the strip, he's certainly found plenty of targets for ridicule. Many of them have struck home with workers and bosses alike. I thought today's strip was interesting for a slightly different approach: Often we see Dilbert wrestling with the limited...