Jordan Furlong is a strategic consultant and analyst who forecasts the impact of the changing legal market on lawyers, law firms and legal organizations.

The Brink

What leadership really means

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Filed under: Leadership, Purpose

I recently had the opportunity to speak with John Kain, managing partner of Kain C + C Lawyers in Adelaide, Australia. John’s company (it’s an incorporated legal practice, not a firm), which specializes in high-end corporate, commercial and M&A work, is one of the more progressive and innovative legal service providers that I’ve come across in… Read more »

Partner compensation: Start making sense

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Filed under: Compensation

I was chatting recently with a U.S. law firm managing partner, who asked me about the Canadian health-care system and how I’d compare it to its American counterpart. Stepping carefully around that minefield, I did allow that health-care regimes worldwide are like partner compensation schemes in law firms: there’s at least one thing seriously wrong with every version, but so long… Read more »

Don’t think like a lawyer

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Filed under: Careers, New Lawyers, Purpose

This article was just published in the “I Wish I’d Known” column in the October 2014 issue of Student Lawyer, a terrific publication of the ABA’s Law Student Division. My thanks to Marilyn Cavicchia and Darhiana Mateo Téllez of the ABA for the invitation and opportunity. “You’re going to learn to think like a lawyer,” said one of… Read more »

BigLaw levels up

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Filed under: Big Firms, Innovation

My older brother used to give my teenaged self (with some justification) a hard time about playing Dungeons & Dragons. I eventually grew tired of the cracks about wasting time in a fantasy world, though, and I assembled what I considered a strong defence of the game. “D&D helps you build a lot of skills,” I said. “You… Read more »

Why law firms need R&D investment

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Filed under: Innovation, Management, Research

Lawyers hardly ever talk about research and development. We might be the only major industry or professional sector that fails to do so. Last year, total spending on R&D by the world’s 1,000 largest companies was about $638 billion, according to the Strategy& 2013 Global Innovation 1000 Study. The 10 companies that spent the most on R&D (from Volkswagen… Read more »

Watershed: The CBA Futures Report

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Filed under: Governance, Innovation

This morning, the Canadian Bar Association released the widely anticipated Final Report of its CBA Legal Futures Initiative, “Futures: Transforming The Delivery Of Legal Services In Canada.” I had the benefit of receiving an advance copy a few days ago, so I’ve had time to review the report and prepare some thoughts. My primary thought is this: The… Read more »

Who’s your biggest competitor?

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Filed under: Clients, Competition, Uncategorized

That’s a question I sometimes like to ask when visiting a law firm or speaking to an audience of lawyers: “Who is your biggest competitor?” I usually let the respondent decide what “biggest” means — sometimes they interpret it to mean the competitor who poses the greatest threat to their book of business, or who… Read more »

A word in Spanish

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Filed under: Careers, New Lawyers, Technology

Earlier this summer, I was asked by Mario Ferrer of Responsea, an online lawyer platform in Spain,  if I could answer a few questions for their readers, especially those who are just starting off in the law or grappling with the onslaught of technology. My brief replies sound much better and more elegant when translated into Spanish, as the resulting… Read more »

The failure of legal innovation

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Filed under: Innovation, Technology

Okay, I admit: that was a pure linkbait headline. Not quite as bad as 17 Heartwarming Photos That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity, but still, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to draw in people who might be thinking (hoping?) that I’d given up on innovation in the legal market. But the headline isn’t a complete fraud…. Read more »

An incomplete inventory of NewLaw

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Filed under: Innovation, Technology

So I was asked to give a presentation about “NewLaw.” No problem at all — aside from the minor, niggling detail of figuring out what “NewLaw” is supposed to be. Like other terms in vogue within the legal profession (cf. “non-lawyer”), we seem to understand better what “NewLaw” isn’t than what it is. George Beaton of Australia, who has written more… Read more »

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