Law Firm Technology

Ep 110 – Legal Tech & Access to Justice

We talk about technology and access to justice, and then we go deeper into the A2J forest with Baobab Connect founder, Guy Stern.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Does Technology Fit in Access to Justice?

Today’s Hot Take is from 2civility.org,“Where Does Technology Fit in Access to Justice?” by Mark C. Palmer. He writes:

“Many people don’t seek legal assistance because they simply don’t know that they need legal help. They don’t realize they have a legal problem that has a legal solution. This education gap is where the access to justice issue begins, but isn’t where it should end. Can technology help improve access to justice?”

To us, it seems that 10 years of tech was lawyer focused, but the next ten years should be client focused. If you look at what CLIO is doing as an example, client portal and all-in-one firm management solutions are where the focus is. But on the flipside, according to bar survey adoption rates – it ain’t there. Yet.

Equitable Service Across Demographics

Guy Stern is the CEO of Baobab Connect, a decentralized legal case management platform for lawyers and paralegals in South Africa, that provides legal aid and access to justice projects, a set of tools to track cases, manage teams, and measure impact at scale.

Guy got his bachelor of computer science degree from the university of Cape Town, has been CEO and founder of several other successful ventures in the legal tech space, and now, brings his full suite stack of skills to the LAWsome podcast.

Learn more about Guy Stern and Baobab Law HERE.

Get More Information About Legal Tech, Access to Justice,  the Future of Law and More.

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about how technology can help close the access to justice gap, and how innovators like Guy Stern are making it happen right now. If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

 

 

Ep 105 – E-Discovery & The Digital Law Firm

E-discovery and tech competence, then a chat with digital forensics mastermind Scott Green about data discovery in the digital age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethics Opinion Misses The Mark On Tech Competence

Today’s Hot Take is from AboveTheLaw.com,“Ethics Opinion Misses The Mark On Tech Competence,” by Bob Ambrogi. He writes:

“Louisiana issued some ethics opinion on tech competency for their lawyers but it misses the mark – The opinion presumes that using technology in law practice is optional and that a lawyer must be competent in technology only if the lawyer chooses to use technology.”

Bob is right on the money that it misses the mark, and it’s confusing because lawyers are unsure where tech and practice and client needs and business practices intersect.

“The technology that affects the practice of law is not just the technology used by lawyers. It is also the technology used by clients. Whether the lawyer is conducting discovery, handling a divorce, drafting a licensing agreement, or representing a criminal defendant, the client’s use of technology is likely to be implicated. A lawyer who lacks competence in technology cannot competently represent that client.”

If your client – or the opposition is doing stupid/implicating type stuff online or has left an electronic trail and you don’t understand the tech then you are in a spot.

The Biggest factor in digital security is EDUCATION

Scott Greene is the Senior Technology Examiner at Evidence Solutions, a premier forensics company that provides consulting, industry expert witness, and testimony services. Scott has spoken across the country at legal seminars on a variety of topics including e-discovery, data security, and it’s those topics and his love of all things digital that has brought him to the show today.

Learn more about Scott Greene and Evidence Solutions HERE

Get More Information About E-Discovery, Data, and the Digital Law Firm

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about how to use technology for e-discovery, data security in the law firm and more. If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

 

Ep 101 – A LAWsome Christmas Carol

When was the last time you were enchanted?

This holiday season, Consultwebs presents, a legal podcast experience unlike any you’ve ever heard; “A LAWsome Christmas Carol”

“A LAWsome Christmas Carol” brings Dickens’ famous cautionary tale to the world of legal marketing & technology in a festive and unforgettable way. A lawyer stuck in the past is taken on a voyage by time-traveling spirits, and along the journey, learns the true meaning of the law firm.

Featuring:

  • Classic performances by lawyers, legal professionals, teachers, and industry leaders
  • Timeless advice on legal marketing, tech, & law firm development
  • An original musical score, haunting sound design, tacos, and so much more!

“A LAWsome Christmas Carol” is sure to delight even the most humbug lawyer under your tree.

Starring: Mike Whelan, Erin Levine, Jess Birken, Michael Simon, Jared Correia, Cat Moon, David Kempston, Paul Julius, and Jacob Sanders.

Written, Scored, and Produced for Audio – Jacob Sanders

 

“Kempston’s Ghost” animatic by Neon Brown

geo-synchronus legislative cloud artificial intelligence

Special thanks to our sponsor, iLaw Worldwide

 

 

Ep 94 – Legal Research & AI in the Law Firm

We talk about bottom-up legal innovation from solos to the bigs, and then a chat with Thomas Hamilton from ROSS Intelligence about legal research, AI, and where law firms are headed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innovate – or DIE!

Today’s Hot Take comes to us from RossIntelligence.com “Legal Innovation Now: The Small-Firm Advantage,” by Stephen Mabey. He writes:

Lawyers at smaller firms are often better able to innovate than they think. Businesses prefer to work with smaller firms – innovation being one reason, and according to survey 2/3rd mentioned that customer services is better with smaller law firms.”

At first, it seems as if this is addressing a problem that is not on par with the issues the article states. Stephen says,” A recent survey in January entitled “Global Trends in Hiring Outside Counsel” found respondents were dissatisfied with larger law firms 19 percent of the time. For smaller firms, the dissatisfaction rate was only six percent.”

Right – so looking at it from a different viewpoint, that means at worst 80% of the time people were satisfied. So the question is – why should law firms invest significant time and expense on addressing something that is a fairly insignificant problem? 80% (or better) of the time people are good. So – what is to be gained from innovation?

Fortunately, this is a great article that approaches the same ideas – just be innovative – by saying that without a tool like ROSS, that shows you how innovation works in a specific area, it’s hard to catch on to the SPIRIT!

Look around – you’ll see plenty of “thought leaders” and “growth hackers”  saying it’s mindset that needs to happen first, but without a tool to show you, an icon to stand for, something to illustrate what innovation can lead to, then it’s hard to grab the mindset and innovate and lean into the future.

It is your right to do an “ostrich” should you choose, but, from our perspective, you either innovate or abdicate!

Stepping Away From SKYNET for a Quick Minute…

Thomas Hamilton is the Vice President of Strategy & Operations at ROSS Intelligence, a legal research platform powered by Artificial Intelligence – Thomas received law degrees from McGill University, worked as an attorney at one of the world’s largest law firm, Dentons, he’s worked as a policy analyst, he speaks three languages, and now he’s on the LAWsome podcast to talk about legal research and machines.

Learn more about ROSS Intelligence HERE

Get More Information About Legal Research Automation, Artificial Intelligence In Legal Tech and the Rise of the Machines

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about legal tech, research innovation for lawyers and how to bend computers to your will.  If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

Ep 93 – Legal Tech, Podcasts, and the Future Proof Law Firm

We talk haunted law firms, technology competence, startups, podcasting, and more with The Podfather himself, Bob Ambrogi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Can Lawyers Guarantee They’ve Reached the Required Level of  Technical Competence (Yes We Are Asking Seriously)?

Today’s Hot Take comes to us from AboveTheLaw.com,” OK, We Get Technology Competence, But How Do We Get Technologically Competent?” by Robert Ambrogi. In it, he writes:

“By now, you’ve probably heard of the duty of technology competence. As more and more states adopt it, more and more articles get written about it, and more and more CLEs get presented about it. But the focus of all this is largely on the nature and scope of the duty. One aspect we hear little about is how lawyers can get and remain technologically competent.”

So now that 37 state bars have adopted a tech competence aspect to the model rules for lawyers, how can lawyers guarantee that they’ve reached the required level?

A new tech certificate from Suffolk Law with an online course is an answer maybe – schools adopting tech indexes tracking how firms are adopting tech, prototyping tech courses in schools, and people like  Michele DeStefano with EvolveTheLaw prove that there is no shortage of ideas here.

“We distinguish between the study of legal-service delivery innovation and technology , on the one hand, and the study of law where it intersects with technology (i.e., law applied to technology, what we call ‘law and [technology]’ courses), on the other hand.”

Tech for work – tech for life – tech for calendar – tech for marketing – tech for clients – the end result isn’t being able to use all the tech, but to adapt and enhance your problem solving toolkit to include tech and innovation – knowing it’s possible…..competence is the point, and seems like Bob feels the same way.

This article is encouraging. We have heard the “lawyers are slow to adapt” lament from various sources, but there seems to be little to no follow-up with regards to solutions. While certifications may not be the end-all method, at least it is a starting point – in the digital marketing /internet arena, there are many certificates that both address a minimum competency level as well as ensure people are up to date by requiring recertification. It’s a good model, and if it gets some credibility and or endorsement from larger organizations/legal providers / schools it’s a great foundation to build on.

To quote Daniel Linna Director of The Center for Legal Services Innovation at Michigan State University College of Law:

“We should be teaching lawyers about the business of law, process management, how to use data, and how to be entrepreneurial,” “We want to give law schools a roadmap for how to do this.”

Who’s the Cat That Won’t Cop Out When There’s Danger All About?

Who’s the lawyer, consultant, author, podcaster, covering the intersection between legal and tech for well over 20 years? Besides multiple books, award-winning podcasts, and prominent blogs, who makes appearances at legal tech events the world over? Who’s been an editor, a fellow, a president, a founder, and who’s been recognized as one of the law’s smartest, and most courageous innovators? We are of course speaking of the PodFather himself, Mr. Bob Ambrogi, who was generous enough to join us on the show today, for which we are truly honored and can now cross one of the top items off the podcast bucket list.

Learn more about Bob Ambrogi HERE

Get More Information About Technical Competence, Tech Innovation for Law Firms and Being A Podcasting Badass

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about legal tech competence, tech innovation and the ABA Tech show as well as some amazing commentary from an epic guest.  If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

Ep 90 – FrankenFirm: Piecing Together Innovation & Legal Tech

We talk legal innovation, tech adaptation, and how lawyers are piecing together solutions, and then we chat with lawyer, consultant, and legal tech mad scientist Jess Birken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Seen On:


“Halloween-Themed Legal Tech Podcast in Case That’s Exactly What You Need for The Holiday”

Legal Innovation in Tech: Why, How and What For?

Today’s Hot Take is from AboveTheLaw.com “Innovation In Legal Services: A Pipe Dream Or A Necessity?” by favorite of the show Nicole Black.  This is her write up of  a book by Michele DeStefano, author and Professor of Law at the University of Miami, “Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in the Law,” She writes:

“These days there’s a lot of talk about innovation in the legal profession. Debates abound on whether the legal industry is immune from the disruptive influences of technology. Legal futurists and their ilk assert that the answer is a resounding “no;” the practice of law is already undergoing a dramatic transformation. Meanwhile, many lawyers steadfastly disagree, all the while digging in their heels and practicing law as they’ve always done, insisting that analytical thought and legal guidance simply can’t be replaced by machines.”

We’ve had Michele on the show and she discussed innovating and solving problems in innovative ways at a law firm. But there’s also problems – from Michele’s workshop description:

“We give the teams big crates… full of tools — things to play with during our exercise (e.g., LEGOs, crayons, and spaghetti). And we play. We play with markers and crayons because it inspires us. We play music because it moves us. We play improvisation games because they change us. And we laugh hard.”

Nicole writes,” In all honesty, this entire scenario sounds horribly uncomfortable to me. I can’t imagine interacting in this way with my professional colleagues, and I’m not sure I’d even enjoy this type of activity on my own time with family or friends. And I can’t imagine that most of my lawyer colleagues would feel any different.”

So my take is, and what we find out later with Jess, is the desire to want to adopt the small fixes that will get you to the goal, is more important than the tech – a resilience and a willing to test and sew together different solutions towards a bigger goal.

Hack Your Practice

Jess Birken is the owner of Birken Law Office, where she helps nonprofits solve problems so they can quit worrying and get back to the mission. She got her JD from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, got her Masters in Nonprofit Management from there as well – she has a Bachelors in Sociology she’s a Certified Transformative Mediator and so she’s probably reading our minds right now….with a track record that impressive and a Twitter presence impressiver, we’re so thankful that Jess is haunting our hallways on this very special episode of LAWsome.

Learn more about Jess Birken HERE.

Get More Information About Innovation, Management and Tech for Law Firms

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about innovation, finding tech solutions for your law firm – and how to implement them the right way – and more.  If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

 

 

 

 

Ep 88- Data Security in the Law Firm

We’re talking cyber security, ransomware, and data recovery with an article from Above The Law, and then we are joined by the cyber security good guys Nathan Little and Christopher Gerg of Gillware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Data Security & Cyber Security In Law Firms: How Good Is It?

Today’s Hot Take comes to us from AboveTheLaw, “Lawyers And Cybersecurity In 2019: How Does Your Firm Compare?” by Nicole Black, who is awesome. She writes:

“In 2019, cybersecurity is an issue that is — or should be — on the minds of lawyers in firms big and small. This is because lawyers have an ethical obligation to preserve the confidentiality of client information. And as lawyers increasingly move their data into digital format, that obligation necessarily shifts to the firm’s data stored online.”

According to the most recent ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, the types of security measures used vary greatly from firm to firm. Ideally, effective network and data security should include the following at minimum:

Password-protect all devices
Physical protections for firm hardware
Password managers
Secure computing in the cloud
Security assessments

“How does your law firm compare? Are you doing everything that you can — and should — be doing to secure your law firm’s data and systems? If not, there’s no better time than now to increase your firm’s security by performing a security audit and establishing additional security procedures for your firm.”

The Cyber Security Good Guys

Gillware offers digital forensics, incident response, and ediscovery to businesses ranging from large to small, as well as law firms across the country.

Nathan Little is the VP of Digital Forensics & Incident Response – Nathan joined as an engineer writing custom software, and has since helped to develop Gillware’s proprietary data recovery tools.

Christopher Gerg is VP of Cyber Risk Management, and a technical lead with over 15 years of information security experience. Chris has worked in numerous roles building, testing and breaking into information architecture at high-level corporations, he’s also authored the book “Managing Network Security with Snort and IDS Tools”

And if all that wasn’t enough – Chris and Nathan have decided to break into our podcast, give us their data, and record this interview.

Learn More About Gillware HERE

Get More Information About Law Firm Data Security, Network Protection, CyberSecurity For Law Firms and  More

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about keeping your online data safe, keeping your office free from cybercriminals and ensuring your law firm doesn’t get snagged by the latest ransomware because Chip in the research department opens every email attachment he gets no matter how many times you talk to him about not doing that.  If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

Ep 84 – Expert Testimony & Trial Marketing

We talk about the love/hate relationship lawyers and expert witnesses have with an article from the ABA and then we talk about accident reconstruction, forensic engineering, and expert trial prep, with Justin Holderness from Kineticorp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Love/Hate Relationship Lawyers Have With Experts

Today’s Hot Take is from the AmericanBar.org “Expert Witnesses – You Can’t’ Try a Big Case Without Them, and You Can’t Kill Them,” by Ross Laguzza. Ross writes:

“Do you love your experts? Not me. I don’t like them. Not even a little. Why not? First, this is nothing personal. I have met and worked with many expert witnesses over the years and have found some to be quite personable and fascinating people. Yet, as necessary a part of litigation as they are, I find them to be a burden. Here are a few of my top reasons why, and tips to help mitigate them.

Jurors Don’t Care about Experts
Experts Forget Who Their Audience Is
Experts Are Often a Bit Less Than Scintillating
Experts Can Be Introverts
Trial Lawyers Over-Identify with the Experts”

Paul: I really like this – “During practice question-and-answer sessions, it’s like a non-player listening to two experienced gamers talking about Dungeons & Dragons. The gamers know what they are talking about, but the rest of us will be left in the dark if somebody doesn’t intervene. That somebody often is somebody like me, but it can be anyone on your team tasked with making sure you don’t forget your audience.”

Jake – Paul likes to say that poker isn’t a card game played by people it’s a people game played through cards – It’s all about humans interpreting humans – the roles of experts in trials and even well-before the case gets to court, is to help lawyers and jurors and judges to perceive the problem better – it’s all about narrative and sometimes it’s best to have someone else do the heavy lifting in convincing.

“The most important thing is not to assume that just because someone is a credentialed expert or has had successful testifying experiences that person will be effective in your case. I find that there is no shortcut. You have to start at the beginning in each case and help the witness craft his or her message and develop effective communication strategies.”

Forensic Visualization, Accident Reconstruction and the Strength of Conclusions in the Face of Cross-Examination

Justin Holderness is the Director of Expert Relations at Kineticorp, an accident reconstruction firm based out of Denver. After receiving his Bachelors in Business from Northern Arizona University, Justin established his career in legal marketing with Network Affiliates, a nationally recognized ad agency that represents personal injury law firms. Justin is an avid blogger, content creator and speaker and brings all that, and a bag of crisps to the LAWsome podcast today

Learn more about Justin Holderness and Kineticorp HERE

Get More Information About Forensic Investigation, Accident Reconstruction & Animation and Trial Preparation for Lawyers

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about accident reconstruction, the proper preparation and utilization of experts as well as a side road off into the land of legal marketing.  If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

 

 

 

Ep 79 – The DIY Law Firm

Why Legal Tech Remains the Domain of the Legal Elite, where the opportunities are for those who are making them, and then a talk with lawyer, marketer and legal tech DIYer, Justie Nicol.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Is Legal Tech Actually For?

Today’s Hot Take is from myshingle.com, “The Reason Why Legal Tech Remains the Domain of the Legal Elite: It’s All About The Money,” by Carolyn Elefant. It’s a response/comment on an article by PodFather Bob Ambrogi, where he points out that most of the legal tech currently being developed is aimed at big law. She writes:

“Bob expressed disappointment that last week’s Legal Week and Inspire.Legal conferences both focused on technology and innovation primarily at big law to the exclusion of notably “the roughly 90 percent of lawyers who practice outside the large firm/large corporation ecosystem” as well as “those the legal system is failing.” Spoiler alert: no surprise here. The truth is that if you want to find the big money, you find it at big law.

— The buffet of solutions for 10% of big firm market, while 80% of the market get’s nothing or has to pay out the nose for it? Courage to run a solo law firm – the ability to switch into a new plan – new strategies – new tech – at scale, at larger firms it just does not work – so most folks are left listening to self-help podcasts and accepting the information to apply to their unique problems –

Bob’s post about the recent legal tech conference and its echo chamber is spot on – the question is, will things ever change? Technology alone hasn’t been enough – so far – to make a dent in the A2J problem – though to be fair, technology has made solo and small firm practice more viable and opened the doors for women by giving them more options for work/life balance. Yet at the end of the day, history has shown that time and again, money and power can buy justice. Tech alone isn’t going to change the course of history unless we change our priorities.

Make It Yourself, Or Make Do Without

Justie Nicol is a feisty, nerdy, dog & toddler mom with a variety of legal experience who’s actually a person (human first, then attorney) helping her clients seek the legal advice they deserve. Justie got her JD from University of Denver, worked as deputy district attorney in the 18th judicial district, is founder and co-owner of the Nickle Gersh Law Firm, a criminal law firm based out of Colorado, she’s a fantastic follow on Twitter and friend of the pod and we’re delighted to have here her today.

Learn more about Justie Nicol HERE

Get More Information About Law Firm Management, DIY Tech for Lawyers

Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for information and conversation about making what you need yourself (it’s easier than you think!), business development, law firm growth and more.  If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—

 

 

Ep 65 – Legal Upheaval

Buzzword-laden legal tech articles that miss the point, and a chat with Michele Destefano that hits every point! What does it take to innovate, understand, and upheave the legal services industry?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Your Law Firm On The Blockchain Yet?

There are two articles we discuss in today’s Hot Take, both dealing with the idea of “new tech” for law firms:

https://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2018/07/3-technologies-transforming-legal/
Three Technologies Transforming the Legal Field By Bruce Orcutt – Is your law firm using analytics, OCR, or blockchain yet? A fine leap from text analysis of PDFs to blockchain – which is confused here with automation of smart contracts….Bruce is a product marketer for ABBYY, which is a legal tech vendor.

https://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2018/07/the-future-of-the-legal-services-industry/
NewLaw New Rules: A Conversation About the Future of the Legal Services Industry By Brett Chalmers – talking about this new law lingo – but he is ALSO a product marketer for a company that does data management for law firms.

The thought here is – and it echos Paul’s thoughts about ABA TechShow in February, which is that there are a lot of people making things that not many people need or will use. We’re not getting down on legal tech or the ABA or anything, but the very real issue is that if you make a product that serves few people, you will cap your market and that’s it. Or as Greg Garman from LawClerkLegal said on our show – “more folks on a small slice of a pie that needs big, fundamental change”

Unfortunately the fallout from a lot of this misguided dev work, earnest or well intentioned as some of it may be – is these tech vendors who just barnacle themselves onto existing paradigms, and aren’t pushing for a full change, or even any change at all beyond “help us move a couple more units.” You can see it at these software companies, none of which do ANYTHING with blockchain, or at least, we can’t see that touted on their site…. as we discuss later with Michelle, innovation isn’t a quick fix otr a one-size-fits-all solution. Not saying it has to be difficult and drawn out in every situation, but there is a difference between pushing for breakthroughs as opposed to trying to force the latest shiny object on your office staff.

Moving Lawyers, Moving Law

Recognized by the ABA as a Legal Rebel, Michele Destefano is a professor of law at the University of Miami, Guest Faculty at Harvard Law School, and the founder of LawWithoutWalls, a multi-disciplinary, international think-tank of over 1000 lawyers, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and law and business students that collaborate to hone new skill sets and mindsets and create innovations at the intersection of law, business, and technology.

Her new bestselling book, Legal Upheaval – focuses on collaboration and innovation in the law – and it’s this book and her amazing work on social media and within legal tech that brought her to the attention of the show, and we couldn’t be more honored to have Michele on LAWsome today.

http://www.movelaw.com

“There may be no “i” in team, but there’s two “i’s” in innovation.”

In this excerpt from the podcast Jake and Paul talk with Michele about having an “aha moment” and how learning how to find problems is more important in some cases than learning how to solve problems, which most lawyers are already good at: 

Jake: …I’m curious, when you say that the law firm owners or the practicing lawyers were the ones that got the most out of it, meaning in a business sense or a problem-solving sense or just like a different way? You know, we talked about an “aha moment” before. I mean, can you see like a light bulb go on over these people and, you know, they suddenly realize there’s a different way to think about practicing law or…? I’m just interested what you were leaning towards there?

Michele: Yeah, so probably, I would say two things. First, it’s not about problem solving. Because we teach lawyers how to problem solve, and research shows that lawyers are off the charts great at complex problem solving. What we aren’t as strong at is problems finding. So Tina Seelig and Daniel Pink, both authors who I admire and read everything they write, both of them talk about how the best problem solvers are the best problem finders. And what problem finders do is they spend more time on the problem up front, so that they don’t end up solving a symptom or rushing to solve and missing the mark. So they ask more questions. And it’s not that lawyers aren’t inquisitive. But in LawWithoutWalls, you learn how to do the 5 Whys, and you learn how to sit back and problem find for a lot longer, almost so long that you’re uncomfortable. And that is the difference.

Lots and lots of law firm partners will say to me at the end of it, that their team back at their firm, not the LawWithoutWalls team they’re working with, but their team back at the firm will say, “Oh, my gosh, what have you done with Craig?” Meaning, not “I’ve disappeared with this team,” but, “I approach meetings differently. I approach how I lead differently. I approach teaming and collaboration differently. And most importantly, I approach collaborative problem solving differently.” And it’s that, yeah, different approach that makes the difference and is the aha moment.

Jake: I’m having a little bit more of an aha moment, maybe a side dish, to the aha entrée. The Promethean kind of idea of going and getting the fire and bringing the fire of knowledge back to your tribe. You know, there is this egoic plucking of the string that doesn’t really comport with the actual work that needs to get done. And, I think, a lot of people quest for self-betterment and mastery to make themselves better and not a law firm and not a model and not for their people.

And it seems like this project is helping because there’s people who are hustling, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, you know, all these people, you know, “You gotta hustle. You gotta lead. You know, you gotta be a general,” you know, and all these things. But it’s actually not that. The real work, the real innovation is not this leading military strategic thing. It’s actually this collaborative, working together, finding problems. And I just think for some people who are questing for mastery, how do you help break their ego from it…do you deal with that?

Michelle: Yes.

Jake: Is this ancillary aha thing or what?

Michele: Well, I mean, so Chris Avery wrote this book years ago, 15 years ago. And I mean, the title, it’s one of those situations where, “Yes, it’s a great book. Yet the title says it all. And his title is, “Teamwork is An Individual Skill.” And this is something that people often forget. And we have to work on ourselves first. So we talk a lot in LawWithoutWalls about the fact that there may be no “i” in team, but there’s two “i’s” in innovation.

And those two “i’s” are one, the identity of the lawyer as a lawyer. And how immediately when we put our little lawyer robe on, we act a little bit differently and perform to that role. I mean, granted, it’s true. Oftentimes, lawyers are the most educated people in the room in terms of the number of years that they’ve been in school. So there’s this lawyerly role. And then the other “i” is the lawyer as the individual.

And Carlos Valdes-Dapena, in his recent book, “Lessons from Mars.” And he doesn’t mean like out of this world. He means the candy bar company, although I’m sure they don’t want to be called the candy bar company, because they do a lot more candy bars.

Jake: Sure, sure, sure.

Michele: Anyway, he talks about this as well. And he talks about how this other “i” is the individual. Look, we’re all born to only focus on ourselves, right? If you’ve ever played with any three-year-olds or four-year-olds, it’s, “Me, me, me, me, me.” And so you take the combination of the lawyer identity and our role and that individual intrinsic motivation that’s just natural to self-preservation, and we’ve got some problems. And so we actually, everybody at our kickoff, we talk about the lawyer’s mindset, the lawyer’s temperament, and the lawyer’s training and how that, actually, creates two crutches for us and prevents us from being collaborative. And so we try to break down that I at the same time recognizing that if you’re not gonna commit as an individual to working on your own issues with collaboration, we’re not going to get anywhere.

So we try really hard to strip that ego down. So I mean, and there’s tons of…if you think about training programs, where you go to them to become a better leader or become a better mentor, or whatever it may be, and it’s a week and you get inspired, and maybe you leave home with a couple things. But after another week goes by, and then another week goes by, another week goes by, how much do you really keep a hold of in terms of change?

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