Jordan Furlong on Collaboration (Part 1)

Regular Dialogue contributor, Jordan Furlong, penned two outstanding posts on collaboration in March 2019. I am pleased to give both more airtime given the shibboleths and taboos Jordan is outing. Jordan’s first is published on Dialogue today as Jordan Furlong on Collaboration (Part 1).

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Classic: The cause of, and solution to

George Meyer, producer and head writer of The Simpsons in its glory years, was once asked about his favourite line from the show’s run. He cited the closing scene from the Season 8 episode “Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment,” in which the town is celebrating the end of a brief period of Prohibition. Homer stands atop a pile of beer barrels, hoists a sudsy glass, and proposes a toast to the gathered crowd: “To alcohol! The cause of — and solution to — all of life’s problems.”

In a similar vein, I would like to propose, if not an actual toast, then an explanatory observation for the business of legal services: “To lawyers! The cause of — and solution to — all of law firms’ problems.”

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Compensation plans are wrecking law firms

The greatest threat to the survival and success of law firms today is not client empowerment, or Big 4 accountancies, or artificial intelligence, or even generational change. These and other trends will have a significant impact on law firms in the years to come — but none of them is actively working to undermine law firms’ productivity, hobble their strategic efforts, and compromise the health of their lawyers.

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Break the law firm business model

Today we re-publish Break the law firm business model, Jordan’s Furlong’s inaugural post on the blog of the ABA’s Center for Innovation, on the Advisory Board of which Jordan serves. He starts by quoting what is becoming an apocryphal statement by Neota Logic founder Michael Mills“Innovation destroys hours” and goes on to say those three words in a 2014 blog post summarize the fundamental challenge that every law firm faces today. They reflect two market realities that are inherently incompatible with each other.

Since I published Remaking Law Firms: Why & How in 2016 (ABA) the realisation that the business model of BigLaw firms is their Achilles heel has been gathering momentum. Jordan concludes this post by addressing BigLaw leaders and owners: “You’re going to have to change your law firm’s business model eventually”; read on to understand the logic of his argument.

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Navigating the multi-polar legal market

Georgetown Law School and the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute are ready to call it: the party’s officially over. The 2017 edition of their annual Report on the State of the Legal Market is unequivocal in its assessment of how completely the commercial legal services market has changed over the past decade.

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