Articles Posted in Alternatives to Status Quo in Legal Services


The Point

It’s the front-line people who know what’s going on, not the people with their feet up on the desks in their offices”. So writes Alan Weiss, the clearest thinker on professional services delivery I’ve ever met.

Yet, in the context of critical enterprise risk management, the odds are against one employee’s knowledge of incipient legal or regulatory danger coming to the attention of someone positioned to effectively nip that danger in the bud. Unless that one employee is either relatively senior, or visits with one of the company’s lawyers by happenstance.

This Matters to Your Business

With the early-stage legal and regulatory dangers that mutated into the Boeing 737 Max crashes, the General Motors ignition switch tragedy, and the Blue Bell Creamery listeria outbreaks, it was, as Alan Weiss would have put it, “the front-line people” who knew about those hazards well before any customer died. It was not the corporate law function (see post). Continue reading


The Point

Legal journalists like to say that in-house counsel are much better positioned than outside lawyers to adopt labor-saving and accuracy-enhancing workflow processes, and the technology to support them, since they don’t have to maximize hours billed.

Despite what one might expect, Thomson Reuters’ “State of the UK Legal Market 2022“, issued this month, demonstrates that in-house counsel are laggards in using the systems and software that can save lawyers’ time and catch their mistakes. Continue reading


Further to my post of February 16, one more insight conveyed by Microsoft’s Jason Barnwell in his keynote at the Strategic Knowledge & Innovation Summit for the legal industry on January 13:

Honestly, we need to get lawyers out of the middle of stuff when it’s a low-value thing“.

A corporate law function needs a lawyer’s knowledge for every service it delivers to the business. But it doesn’t need a lawyer’s personal involvement every time it performs a routine task. Continue reading


Three years after my posts describing Jason Barnwell‘s personal journey from MIT-trained enterprise software engineer to Assistant General Counsel of Microsoft (in three parts: here, here, and here), he gave the keynote (begins at 9:30 and ends at 40:20) January 13 at the Strategic Knowledge & Innovation Summit (SKILLS).

Barnwell, now General Manager for Digital Transformation of Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs at Microsoft, described how he got to Microsoft’s legal department from a large Silicon Valley law firm .

In his keynote, Barnwell recounted the experience that prompted him to leave the large law firm:

“A good engineer is a lazy engineer, which means that you don’t want waste. You don’t want to do extraneous work that doesn’t deliver value. And my experience in the law firm was not that.” Continue reading



Three and a half years after my earlier post describing their work, lawyers Nicole Auerbach and Patrick Lamb continue to transform pricing and service delivery for corporate clients at their law firm, ElevateNext.

Together with their affiliated law company, Elevate Services, they are making some history.

Here’s how Reuters put it on January 13:

“Elevate, which bills itself as a ‘law company’ serving legal department and law firm customers, said on Thursday the license from the Arizona Supreme Court unifies Elevate and its affiliated law firm …. Continue reading

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