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7.

7 Minutes of Highlights
For General Counsels and Law Firm Leaders
From

The End of Lawyers?


Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services
by Richard Susskind (2008)
Prepared By:
Jim Boeckman
Right-Tasking® Consulting & ADR Services


I
recommend
that
The
End
of
Lawyers
be
considered
for
the
summer
reading
list
of
all

senior
in­house
counsel
and
law
firm
managing
partners
who
want
to
stay
ahead
of,
or
be

vigilant
for,
the
“next
big
things”
in
the
provision
of
legal
services
to
the
business

community.

Although
this
book
was
originally
published
in
2008,
I
recently
came
across
it

and
believe
it
to
be
one
of
the
most
comprehensive
and
thought­provoking
works
on
how

businesses
use
and
source
legal
services,
and
the
business
of
practicing
law,
that
I
have

found.

For
those
who
may
not
be
familiar
with
the
book,
or
may
not
have
time
to
read
all

284
pages,
I
have
assembled
some
of
my
favorite
highlights.

My
own
commentary
appears

in
italics.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


The
legal
world
is
inefficiently
resourced
–
under‐resourced
for
consumers
and
over‐resourced
at
the
high
end.

(p.
3)

Lawyers
claim
to
be
something
else
(counselors,
confidantes,
dealmakers,
negotiators,
market
experts,

project
managers)
because
they
recognize
the
need
to
change
and
diversify.
(p.
5)

However,
in
order
to
really

carve
out
new
multi‐disciplinary
roles
to
deliver
new
value,
their
commitment
to
and
training
in
these
areas

must
be
deep.
(pp.
6‐7)

JB:

We
all
know
many
lawyers
who
effectively
operate
in
those
other
dimensions
–
so
this

isn’t
a
novel
concept
–
but
I’m
intrigued
by
Susskind’s
premise
that
“on
the
job
training”
to
do
these
other
things

will
not
be
enough
in
the
coming
years.


A
new
category
of
legal
professionals
‐
“legal
knowledge
engineers”
‐
will
be
highly
skilled
individuals
engaged

in
standardizing,
systematizing
and
packaging
the
law,
in
a
form
that
can
be
embodied
in
advanced
systems.


(p.

7)

JB:

The
hiring,
training,
development,
support
and
marketing
of
these
legal
knowledge
engineers
may
be
a
huge

business
opportunity
for
even
the
most
“bespoke”
(see
below)
of
law
firms
–
and
may
be
mandatory
for
any
firms

that
find
themselves
having
difficulty
differentiating
themselves
sufficiently
to
generate
the
same
profits­per­
partner
as
they
achieve
today.


General
Counsels
are
prepared
to
decompose
high
value,
big
ticket
deals
and
disputes
and
identify
parts
that

can
be
carried
out
more
efficiently.

Major
law
firms
are
not
beyond
the
scope
of
commoditization
and

systemization.
(p.
11)

JB:

This
is
much
bigger
than
simply
outsourcing
document
review
to
onshore
or
offshore

contract
lawyers
(part
of
what
is
sometimes
referred
to
as
“legal
process
outsourcing”).

General
Counsels
will
be

looking
at
any
repetitive
task,
no
matter
how
complex,
and
indeed
any
task
that
does
not
require
expert,

handcrafted
treatment,
in
order
to
determine
how
to
break
it
down
into
its
constituent
parts,
and
how
to
resource

each
step
in
the
underlying
process
in
the
most
effective
manner.

Likewise,
the
core
principles
of
Right­Tasking®


include
processes
for
fine­tuning
the
analysis
of
an
enterprise’s
demand
for
and
sourcing
of
legal
services.

See
also

the
discussion
of
“multi­sourcing”
below.


www.Right-Tasking.com

 2


Any
legal
job
or
category
of
work
can
be
decomposed
–
broken
down
into
constituent
tasks,
processes
and

activities,
using
a
systems
analyst’s
approach
to
creating
greater
efficiencies.

(pp.
43‐44)

Each
of
those

requirements
can
then
be
sourced
from
the
most
efficient
provider
–
“multi‐sourcing.”

(p.
57)

Project

management
techniques
will
be
central
to
multi‐sourcing,
in
supporting
the
allocation,
distribution,
status

checking
and
quality
control
of
the
work.

(p.
140)

Legal
tasks
may
also
be
de‐lawyered
–
handed
over
to
non‐
lawyers
with
the
support
of
standards
or
systems.

(p.
47)



The
shift
in
the
Legal
Paradigm
will
require,
among
other
things,
moving
from
one‐to‐one
to
one‐to‐many

services,
and
from
legal
problem
solving
to
legal
risk
management.
(p.
18)

JB:

I
believe
that
there
will
be
some

law
firms
that
will
become
incredibly
successful
by
investing
resources
in
packaging
their
experience
and

knowledge
in
new,
cost­effective
ways
that
will
help
their
law
department
clients
move
from
reactive
fire­fighting

to
proactive
risk
assessment
and
prevention.



Legal
services
will
generally
pass
through
five
steps
–
bespoke,
standardized,
systematized,
packaged
and

commoditized.
(p.
23)


• Bespoke:

traditional,
handcrafted,
one‐to‐one
consultative
professional
service.
(p.
29)

• Standardization:
of
process
and
substance;
delivered
in
a
highly
personalized
manner.
(p.
30)

• Systematized:

systems
designed
for
internal
use
within
a
legal
unit
(firm
or
law
department).
(p.
30)

• Packaged:

law
firm
systems
and
the
knowledge
embedded
in
them
are
packaged
for
client
use
as
a

crude
form
of
do‐it‐yourself
service.

This
also
includes
modules
that
can
be
incorporated
into
clients’

business
activities.

(p.
31)

• Commoditized:

an
electronic
or
online
offering
that
is
perceived
as
commonplace;
a
raw
material
that

can
be
sourced
from
various
suppliers.

(pp.
31‐32)


Law
firm
knowledge
systems
have
been
monolithic
and
inflexible,
and
fail
to
recognize
the
differing

requirements
of
bespoke
lawyers,
who
need
know‐how
systems,
flexible
research
tools,
and
stores
of
work

product,
on
the
one
hand,
and
systematized
lawyers,
who
need
intelligent
checklists,
workflow
systems,
and

document
assembly,
on
the
other
hand.

(p.
41)

JB:

The
same
points
may
apply
to
many
in­house
knowledge

systems
–
where
they
exist
at
all,
since
most
small­
and
medium­sized
law
departments
do
not
have
the
time
or

budget
to
create
them.


For
the
Facebook
Generation,
the
default
assumption
will
be
that
knowledge
services
(including
legal
advice)

will
be
handled
online
and
by
smart
systems,
and
that
only
in
exceptional
cases
will
the
special
expertise
of
and

contact
with
an
individual
lawyer
be
required.

(p.
88)

This
will
occur
despite
the
fact
that
most
practicing

lawyers
say
that
high
touch,
highly
personalized
human
interaction
(i.e.,
bespoke)
is
central
to
their
services.

(p.

91)

JB:

Some
of
the
finest
bespoke
lawyers
that
I
know
occasionally
use
Google
as
their
first
point
of
entry
into

analyzing
thorny
legal
issues
–
as
my
first
year
Torts
professor
was
fond
of
saying,
“who
woulda
thunk
it?”


Lawyers
will
increasingly
be
confronted
by
disruptive
technologies.
(p.
98)

For
example,

automated
document

assembly
(“mass‐customized”)
can
be
a
risk
mitigation
tool
as
well
as
an
efficiency
tool.

(pp.
103‐104)

Auctions

are
likely
to
be
focused
on
competition
within
pre‐selected
panels.

(p.
111)

IT‐based
or
human
intermediaries

will
help
clients
decompose
their
legal
needs
into
separate
tasks
and
identify
the
most
suitable
resource
for

each
task.

(p.
113)

Solutions
will
be
tailored,
but
not
bespoke.

(p.
113)

Online
mass‐collaborative

communities
of
legal
interest
may
emerge
(a
la
Wikipedia),
around
which
formidable
legal
insight
will
evolve.

(p.
128)

JB:

Legal
OnRamp
and
the
Practical
Law
Company
are
two
good
examples
of
some
of
these
phenomena.



“[H]ourly
billing
often
rewards
the
inefficient
practice
that
milks
the
work
given
to
it
and
penalizes
the
well
run

legal
business
whose
systems
and
processes
enable
it
to
conclude
matters
rapidly.”

(p.
151)

Clients
will
require

on‐line
workrooms
that
enable
them
not
only
to
monitor
the
creation
of
documents
but
also
the
amount
being

charged.

(p.
156)


www.Right-Tasking.com

 3

The
“Client
Grid”
is
a
way
to
visualize
law
departments,
their
resources
and
their
interactions
with
“the

business.”

(p.
161)

“Enlightened”
clients
will
work
on
integrating
internal
knowledge
systems
(which
are
often

insufficiently
resourced,
while
budgets
for
big
ticket
M&A
and
litigation
can
be
almost
unlimited
–
p.
178)
and

external
law
firm
knowledge
systems,
and
then
putting
that
knowledge
at
the
disposal
of
clients.
(p.
164)

JB:

I

wonder
if
there
is
a
law
firm
business
model
that
would
have
teams
of
“legal
knowledge
engineers”
(see
above)

assemble
these
systems
and
then
have
law
departments
distribute
them
as
internally
“branded”
resources.


Online
Dispute
Resolution
(ODR),
as
contrasted
with
IT‐enabled
dispute
resolution,
means
that
the
process
of

resolving
a
dispute,
especially
the
formulation
of
a
solution,
is
entirely
or
largely
conducted
by
or
through
the

Internet.

(p.
219)

Could
“common
sense
judgments,
untrammeled
by
legal
niceties”
be
efficiently
obtained
by

assembling
on‐line
panels
of
1,000
lay
volunteers
to
adjudicate
disputes
on
the
basis
of
pleadings
submitted

over
the
Internet?

(p.
222)

JB:

This
kind
of
“crowd­sourcing”
is
currently
being
applied
in
a
variety
of
ways,

including
ventures
such
as
Innocentive
(www.Innocentive.com),
which
brings
together
companies
with
specific

R&D
needs
(called
seekers)
and
scientists
dispersed
all
over
the
world
(called
solvers).


There
will
be
five
types
of
lawyers
in
the
future:
the
expert
trusted
adviser
‐
the
purveyor
of
bespoke
services
–
something
that
will
be
a
luxury
that
clients
will
generally
not
be
able
to
afford,
or
will
not
choose
to
pay
for;
the

enhanced
practitioner,
who
will
use
legal
skills
and
knowledge,
combined
with
modern
techniques,
to

supported
the
delivery
of
standardized,
systematized
and
(when
in‐house)
packaged
legal
services;
the
legal

knowledge
engineer,
for
whom
there
will
be
a
much
greater
need
–
outstanding
lawyers
(rather
than
junior

associates)
will
be
needed
to
design
and
develop
standards
and
systems,
and
to
analyze
and
decompose
legal

work
so
that
it
can
be
effectively
and
responsibly
multi‐sourced;
the
legal
risk
manager,
who
will
use
new

methods,
tools
and
systems
to
review,
identify,
quantify
and
control
legal
risks;
and
the
legal
hybrid
–
lawyers

who
are
formally
trained
and
genuinely
expert
in
neighboring
disciplines,
such
as
project
management
and

strategy.

The
number
of
expert
trusted
advisers
and
enhanced
practitioners,
who
look
much
like
today’s

lawyers,
will
be
greatly
reduced.

(pp.
271‐273)

JB:

The
SEC’s
recent
expansion
of
the
proxy
disclosure

requirements
regarding
the
Board’s
role
in
managing
risk
will
make
the
legal
risk
manager
function
ever
more

important
for
public
company
legal
departments.


Medium‐sized
law
firms
may
merge
to
achieve
a
critical
mass
of
experts,
while
divesting
themselves
of
junior

lawyers.

Some
very
expert
senior
lawyers
will
leave
large
firms
to
set
up
niche
practices,
based
on
their
strong

market
reputation,
modest
leverage,
and
very
high
hourly
rates
or
fixed
fees.


(p.
279)

JB:

Both
of
these

phenomena
have
been
occurring
to
some
degree
for
several
decades
–
but
they
are
likely
to
tremendously

accelerate
based
on
the
market
forces
discussed
in
the
book.


“Clients
prefer
to
have
a
fence
at
the
top
of
a
cliff
rather
than
an
ambulance
at
the
bottom.”

(p.
224)

Proactive

legal
risk
management
requires
structured
formal
techniques
and
processes,
similar
to
those
already
used
by

strategy
consultants,
professional
risk
managers
and
tax
specialists.

(p.
225)

Tools
for
“legal
risk
review”
and

“legal
risk
control”
should
be
developed
and
implemented
–
for
example,
tools
for
embedding
legal
content
into

the
standard
project
and
business
life
cycles
of
client
organizations,
as
well
as
novel
ways
of
structuring
and

prioritizing
the
work
of
in‐house
lawyers.

(p.
225)

JB:

These
principles
are
some
of
the
core
themes
of
Right­
Tasking®.

For
example,
should
legal
departments
require
the
firms
that
handle
major
litigation
to
reinvest
a

portion
of
their
fees
in
risk
avoidance
processes?

Should
law
firms
improve
their
cross­selling
by
having
“legal

knowledge
engineers”
who
can
assist
litigation
clients
in
designing
risk
prevention
systems,
based
on
the
lessons

learned
from
litigation
matters?


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Jim
Boeckman
is
a
consultant
and
business
lawyer
in
Austin,
Texas.

He
has
practiced
at
major
law
firms
in

Austin
and
Dallas,
and
as
in‐house
counsel
at
high‐tech
companies
in
Austin,
Dallas
and
Australia.

Boeckman

consults
with
enterprises
to
help
them
optimize
their
legal
functions
and
expenses,
using
his
proprietary
Right‐
Tasking®
methodology.




For
more
information,
go
to
www.Right‐Tasking.com.

Jim
Boeckman
can
be
reached
at
512‐777‐2727,
or

Jim@Right‐Tasking.com.


www.Right-Tasking.com