So I thought you might be interested in reading about what I’ve been up to lately outside of Law21 (seeing as how I sure haven’t been up to much here). I have a couple of new posts percolating for this month and next, and by mid-summer, I hope to announce what I think will be a very interesting new project I’ve been working on. Please consider this roundup of recent writings and appearances to be a down payment until then.
Back in February, at the request of the very good people at Lawyers On Demand in the UK, I published The New World of Legal Work, a white paper that explores the changing nature of law firm operations and legal talent demands (brief summary here). The report generated a great deal of interest, as well as media coverage in the Law Society Gazette, The Global Legal Post, Law Times, Legal Futures, and many lawyer blogs worldwide. As a companion piece to “The New World of Legal Work,” I also penned my first entry for the ABA Journal‘s Legal Rebels column, “The Rise of the Agile Lawyer.”
I’ve also been writing at Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy blog. Early in the year, I wrote about law firm brands in an online legal market, advising lawyers that your “brand” is very simply who you are, what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and what you’re like to deal with; your online presence is supposed to clarify, amplify, and support that brand. Later on, I talked about how lawyers can break down the most common barriers to blogging, suggesting five tactics that can remove the obstacles blocking lawyers from contributing content on a regular basis.
Other writing projects included contributing a chapter to Attorney At Work’s newest publication, New Math, New Money: A Lawyer’s Guide to the Changing Business of Law. My section was titled “Three Ways to Compete in the Coming Legal Market“: Owning the very narrow band of high-value lawyer-exclusive work, streamlining all your systems to compete for wide-access work, or creating new opportunities altogether. I also wrote a couple of articles for the Edge International Communique: “What ‘overcapacity’ really means” (it’s a self-deluding buzzword) and “Why would your best clients fire you?” (What are your most dangerous vulnerabilities with your top clients?)
I spoke with The Globe And Mail about the landmark interim report of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s ABS Task Force, which I think brings Ontario astonishingly close to approval of non-lawyer ownership of law firms within the next couple of years. I also talked with Law Times about the remarkable inroads that the Big 4 accounting firms are starting to make (evidently to little fanfare) in the Canadian legal market. I spoke at length with Lexpert magazine about how in-house counsel are and aren’t using social media. And just this week, I was interviewed by Law360 about how law firms can do a better job recruiting and retraining their non-lawyer staff (I suggested that not using the terms “non-lawyer” and “staff” would be a nice start).
And if you have lots of time and an unusual amount of interest in my views on the legal market of today and tomorrow, as well as an interest in my winding career path to date, you could read this extensive interview I conducted with Los Angeles law blogger Amy Wan.
At the tail end of last year, I sat down with my friends at the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine for a lengthy interview about the Canadian legal marketplace, what happened to it in 2013 and what 2014 should bring. More recently, following a presentation to the Chief Marketng Officer Summit at the annual conference of the Legal Marketing Association, I spoke with Colin O’Keefe of the LexBlog Network about what’s facing law firms right now and what firms need in order to respond to these challenges. (Mark Beese of Leadership For Lawyers in Denver attended that LMA CMO presentation, among others, and filed a report for Attorney At Work.)
I taught my first-ever law school class back in January, a one-week intersession course at Suffolk University Law School in Boston titled “21st-Century Lawyering.” (My chief takeaway: law students are a lot readier for the new legal market than most lawyers are.) In February, I delivered two presentations in Seattle: one to the Seattle Legal Technology and Innovation Meetup (highlights in the @LegaltechSEA Twitter feed) and one to the Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. And in March, I teamed up with Susan Hackett of Legal Executive Leadership to co-deliver a presentation about the legal marketplace to the OnRamp Fellowship, a non-profit organization helping women lawyers reintegrate into law firms after a period of time away. (See the sidebar on the home page for a list of my upcoming appearances.)
That’s all I’ve got for now — more posts to come as soon as I can manage them.
Jordan Furlong delivers dynamic and thought-provoking presentations to law firms and legal organizations throughout North America on how to survive and profit from the extraordinary changes underway in the legal services marketplace. He is a partner with Edge International and a senior consultant with Stem Legal Web Enterprises.