Well, I’m back

Since I took the title of my sign-off post 18 months ago from the last album by my favourite band, I figured I’d take the title of this return post from the last line of my favourite book. Because in times of great change and upheaval, it’s dated pop-culture references that will hold us all together.

Take the "Baggins" off the nameplate, Rosie. From now on, it's Gamgee LLP.

Take the “Baggins” off the nameplate, Rosie. From now on, it’s Gamgee LLP.

I’m sincerely glad to welcome you back to Law21 and to finally make my return to the blawgosphere. (Are we still calling it that?) I put this blog on hiatus back in December 2014, partly because I was edging towards burnout after six years of blogging, and partly because I wanted to write a book and I needed to clear the decks completely to make that happen.

I assumed, at the time, that since I wasn’t blogging, law firms wouldn’t call me about speaking engagements so often and I could devote enormous amounts of free time to writing. I also assumed that authoring a book was pretty straightforward, something I could knock off over the course of a few solid months. These turned out not to be the soundest assumptions I’ve ever made.

In the event, I’ve been kept busy over the past 18 months giving presentations (including to law firms, state bars, in-house lawyers, the ABA, CBA, LMA, NALP, and a few other groups) on the accelerating rate of change in the legal market. As well, I’m very happy to say, I’m close to completing the final draft of my book, and I anticipate a publication date sometime within the next few months. And as you’ve probably noticed, I’ve redesigned Law21 itself, expanding it from a blog to a full-scale platform for my business and a resource centre to which I’ll be adding free downloadable materials in the coming weeks. (A grateful shout-out to Rob Wilson of Stem Legal for the website build and to Mark Delbridge of Delbridge Design for Law21’s new logo).

I’ve also been fortunate to have had several report writing opportunities come my way over the last 18 months, and if you’re interested, you can find a selection below:

But what I’ve really missed during my lengthy sabbatical is the opportunity to write for you, here at Law21, about the changing legal market. So you can look for two new posts later this week and two more the week after that, because it sure seems like there’s a lot to talk about in the legal market right now. Just in the last few months, for example:

  • Artificial intelligence has taken over the legal profession (judging from breathless media reports, anyway),
  • Non-lawyer ownership of law firms has become radioactive (thanks so much for that, Slater & Gordon)
  • Gigantic accounting consultancies are about to consume the legal market (directed by Michael Bay, in theatres Friday),
  • Legal Ops are rewriting the entire in-house counsel playbook (directed by, I don’t know, let’s say M. Night Shyamalan)
  • Someone in New York thought it was a good idea to start paying first-year associates $180,000 a year (<eyeroll emoji>).

Human sacrifice! Third-party litigation financing!

The funny thing is, though, that while it might look like the apocalypse out here, it doesn’t really feel much like it — at least, not judging from the lawyers and law firms I’ve been speaking with recently. I don’t see nearly as much denial and detachment as I have in the past — lawyers clinging to the belief that these are all just “isolated incidents” or “temporary conditions” or whatever other coping mechanism they developed to deal with all this craziness.

Instead, I’m meeting more and more lawyers who’ve developed a remarkable degree of sangfroid about legal market change and an admirable readiness to just start dealing with it already. Law firms are still making questionable tactical decisions for nakedly self-serving reasons, of course, but that’s a more or less permanent condition of the species. What’s different, from my perspective, is that there’s a growing consensus within the profession that the market really has changed for good, and so we might as well just accept it and start moving forward. It looks to me like lawyers are finally treating legal market upheaval the best way they know how: as a problem to be understood, addressed, and solved.

Altogether, this just seems like an exceptionally timely and opportune moment to get back into blogging about the law. So I really hope you’ll join me, up here in the cheap seats where the ushers rarely venture, as we try to make some sense of it all in the months and years to come. And thanks, very much, for holding my seat until I got back.

…famous last words

And thus, at last, I fulfill a long-held goal of using an album title from my favourite band in a blog post.

You can always tell when a blog is nearing the end of its natural life: the author starts making apologies for not having posted in so long. I’ve seen enough defunct blogs in my time whose last post, after several quiet weeks, reads like the start of that letter to the distant cousin you met on the previous summer’s family vacation: “I’m sorry for the lengthy delay in writing back to you….” After that post comes the long silence, and inevitably, one day, the 404 message. I’ve always firmly intended to avoid that sort of outcome, which is why we’re here today.

Be assured, I’m not shutting down Law21. But I am putting the blog on hiatus for the next several months, and when it returns, this site will look very different. If you’re a regular reader (and I truly am grateful if you are — especially if you were here back when the blog looked like this), you’ve surely noticed the drop in my posting frequency this year: this is just my 14th post of 2014, and it’s no exaggeration to say that in Law21’s earliest days, I sometimes wrote that many entries in a month.  My first post this year didn’t arrive until mid-April.

These long pauses and sporadic entries have surprised me as much as anyone, because I sure don’t feel like I’ve run out of things to say or interest in saying them. I’ve tried to figure out the causes for this, and in true Law21 fashion, I’ve ended up with neatly bulleted list.

  • Work keeps taking precedence. I didn’t start this blog so that people would ask me to come speak to them about the legal market; but that’s been the happy result, and now I’m travelling once or twice a month to meet with groups of lawyers, law students, or legal professionals somewhere out of town. Whenever I do find myself with enough breathing space to start crafting a new post, it’s usually 4 pm on a Friday and the kids are home from school. But that’s dangerously close to making excuses, to being the delinquent correspondent: you’re working hard too, and kids are always and forever coming home from school.
  • I’ve written a lot. I mean, a lot. I’m closing in on 450 posts and 400,000 written words here at Law21, not to mention dozens of articles and posts elsewhere, and I’m getting close to crossing that line where I’m repeating myself just for the sake of saying something. (You might be inclined here to channel Jed Bartlett telling CJ Cregg, when she asked him if she was crossing a line: “Look behind you.”) One of the standards I set for myself when I began blogging was that if I didn’t have something I felt was original or important that was worth your time to read, I wouldn’t post just for the sake of posting. I’ve really tried to stay true to that.
  • There are many more voices now. When I wrote my first Law21 post in January 2008, there weren’t many people talking about change in the legal marketplace. Today, market upheaval is on everyone’s agenda, and not only the blawgosphere, but also law firm conference rooms are now bursting with conversations about it (not to mention social media, which barely existed back then). I’m hardly claiming causation or even correlation; I’m just saying that my burning desire to spread the word about change and the need for lawyers to respond is now shared by many others, reducing the need for me to be always yapping away here.

I can feel the cumulative effect of these forces and others pulling me away more and more often from this space, to the point where I risk people no longer knowing whether or not Law21 is still a going concern. Hence this post, which is meant to make some assurances:

  1. Law21 is a going concern, because change in the legal services market is only just getting started, and I intend to hang around doing as much play-by-play and colour commentary about it as possible.
  2. Later in summer 2015, I’ll have a brand new website at this location, which will include a re-energized blog, downloadable slide decks, law school lesson plans, and yes, information about a full-length original book.
  3. I’ll still be an active participant (and will lead whenever I can) in conversations about the legal market, principally on Twitter, at Edge International, at Stem Legal, and in your local legal periodicals.

I usually end each year at Law21 with a summary of where market change has taken us in the last 12 months and where we can expect to go next. Given the circumstances, I’d rather end this year, and this stage of Law21’s evolution, with the following thoughts for the legal profession:

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-conceptualize what it means to be a lawyer. The underlying fundamentals of the legal market — clients, competitors, tools, regulations — are changing so quickly that a new climate now surrounds us, a new landscape has emerged under our feet, and even greater upheaval is on the way. In the very near future, we will find that we’ve adapted how we run our businesses, how we deal with our clients, and how we feel about being lawyers. That’s the end game, regardless of how happily or willingly we get there.

The only real question is whether these adaptations will be forced on us, involuntarily and painfully, or whether we will start the adaptation process ourselves, and thereby maintain some degree of influence over the lawyers we will become and the market in which we will practise. I urge lawyers, as I’ve urged so many times here in the past, to take the second path.

It might feel like we’re powerless in the face of change, but that’s simply not true: we have the ability, and the unprecedented opportunity, to redefine the contours of lawyering, before impersonal market forces do it for us, and to us. Take control of your professional destiny, by accepting the things we cannot change and moving swiftly in the direction of those we can.

Here’s the three-part process I recommend to get us there. Make three columns on a piece of paper or a computer screen, and do the following:

1. In the first column, make a list of everything you love about being a lawyer: what inspires you, excites you, interests you, gets you out of bed and into your office every day because you look forward to the opportunity to do it. This is the best of being a lawyer: it’s also, very probably, the parts of a legal career least susceptible to automation and outsourcing, the parts most closely associated with actual people and actual service.

2. In the second column, make a list of everything you really don’t like about being a lawyer: what bores you, discourages you, upsets you, gets put off or rushed through because the thought of facing it makes you question your career choice. This is the worst of being a lawyer, and while some of it might be unavoidable, much of it is not. And I’ll bet that a great deal of it really is amenable to change, systematization or outsourcing to more appropriate providers.

3. In the third column, make a list of everything you wish you could do as a lawyer, but that circumstances seem to prevent: the help you’d really like to provide, the people you really wish you could serve, the insights and assistance and improvements you would love to be able to facilitate. These are the new possibilities of being a lawyer, and for the first time, these possibilities can be translated into reality. Change is fluid and dynamic, and it can flow from all directions, including from you.

Take the first and third columns, synthesize them, and make the resulting integrated activities and characteristics the foundation of a different and better legal career for you and your colleagues. Take the second column and look for ways to move these items off your desk and ideally, out of your practice altogether, into the waiting arms of a growing array of specialists who will do them for you, and do them better than you.

This process — call it reinvention, re-engineering, reconfiguration, reconceptualization, or any similar concept with a “re”- prefix attached to it — would not have been possible 30 years ago, or 15 years ago, or even 10. It was just barely possible in January 2008, when I started blogging here; but not only is it possible today, it’s also necessary: it’s the key to a viable, worthwhile, meaningful legal practice. Take this post home over the holidays and tinker with these ideas. Bring back your three columns in the new year and show them to both your work partners and your life partners, and see what they think.

Make 2015 the year you decide not only to accept the things you cannot change, but to be the driver of the kind of change you actually want to see in your own practice and your own world. This is your opportunity, and this is your time. Make it happen.

Jordan Furlong says, quite simply, thank you very much.

 

Me again

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.

1. Writing

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?)

 2. Interviews

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.  

 3. Videos

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.)

4. Presentations

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.  

Book No. 2: Evolutionary Road

And now, presenting …. my second book! I’m the sole author of this one, but it’s not a solo effort by any means — it’s a co-production with my great friends at Attorney At Work: Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, Joan Feldman and Mark Feldman. I’m very proud to announce the publication today of Evolutionary Road: A Strategic Guide To Your Law Firm’s Future.                                                              Print

This 40-page electronic book, based on a series of posts here at Law21 last fall, lays out the future of the legal marketplace through the year 2020 and beyond, in the context of what lawyers and law firms must do today to prepare for what’s coming. Here’s how Attorney At Work describes it:

In this new ebook from Attorney at Work, Furlong envisions and details five distinct stages of development for the legal profession:

  • The Closed Market
  • The Breached Market
  • The Fully Open Market
  • The Expanded Market
  • The Multi-Dimensional Market

He teams discussion of the evolutionary timeline with essays on Regulation, Law School, Competition and Pricing to deliver the mind-bending whole in the context of an easy-to-use Strategic Discussion Guide. Smart law firms large and small will use this 40-page downloadable book to tee up effective strategic planning and market innovation. 

Evolutionary Road is an ideal blueprint for annual retreats and partnership planning meetings. The book includes specific facilitation exercises and discussion starters prepared in collaboration with Attorney at Work.

As the foregoing implies, Evolutionary Road goes beyond my original blog post series. New features exclusive to this book include:

  • Standalone analyses of changes in legal education, legal regulation, competition, pricing, and law firms themselves.
  • A Top 10 list of steps law firms can take today to begin transforming themselves for the coming legal market.
  • A blueprint for using this guide to plan a strategic retreat at which your law firm can chart its own future.
  • Brainstorming and challenge questions to galvanize your strategic retreat and produce actionable outcomes by your partners.

All this, plus handsome custom illustrations by Rob Johannsen — and the price is just $19. Visit Attorney At Work’s bookstore to learn more and to purchase your downloadable copy today (and while you’re there, check out the many other great legal publications AAW has made available).

I’m really proud of Evolutionary Road — it represents my complete vision of the evolving legal market and what I see as the imperative for lawyers to adapt their practices while retaining their professionalism and value(s). In my 5+ years at Law21, this is the first product I’ve ever developed solo for sale, and I’m hoping that it will find an audience with which it truly resonates. My sincere thanks to Merrilyn, Joan and Mark for helping make this vision a reality.

Available now! My first two published books: Content Marketing and Publishing Strategies for Law Firms (co-authored with Steve Matthews, published by The Ark Group) and Evolutionary Road (e-book published by Attorney At Work). Click the links to learn more and order your copies today.

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.  

Law21 3.0

If you’re reading this post at Law21, then you already know about this. But if you’re subscribing via email or RSS, you might like to come see the new look and feel we’ve created today.  In our first re-design in nearly four years, we’ve given Law21 a cleaner, cooler, and sharper design, with a new colour scheme, improved navigation, and additional features. Here are some of the highlights:

  •  Access to more posts from the front page, thanks to an automatic “Read More” feature
  •  More detailed and updated content about me and the work I do in “About,” “Appearances” and “Consulting
  •  Easier access to all my previous Law21 articles in the new “Archived Posts” section
  •  Links to more than 50 of my best original articles in other periodicals in “Published Works
  •  A great new dashboard at the bottom of each page, including “Subscription” information; and
  •  A new photo, just because.

All the credit for this tremendous new look goes to my web design professionals: Jesse Collins of Moxy Webworks in Mississauga, Ontario, who also brought you Law21 2.0 and keeps this site humming along at top speed, and my longtime collaborator Tony Delitala of Delitala Design in Oakville, Ontario, who also brings you National magazine and the Edge International Review. My sincere appreciation to, and strongest recommendation of, both of these amazing talents.

I hope you like our new look, and I hope you’ll continue to come by and read my ongoing dispatches from a legal profession that is, more than five years after Law21 first launched, still very much on the brink.

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.

Writing on the road

It’s been a few months since I last posted one of these roundups, so I thought I’d pull one together today. Here’s a series of articles I’ve written elsewhere or interviews I’ve given to various print and online periodicals. As usual, I’ve been busiest at Stem Legal‘s “Law Firm Web Strategy” blog, but I’ve also been working with several other sites and publications. As always, my thanks to the publishers for giving me the opportunity to address these topics — I hope you find them interesting and worth your time.

1. Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy

Where’s your fingerprint? Making your online profile unique

The 4 most frequent flaws of law firm content

How CLE providers can use social media

Crafting standout practice group descriptions

Big-picture thinking from a social media guide

Linkable content: The backbone of social media marketing

In our private universe: Being yourself on social media

2. Edge International Communiqué

Why are you recruiting? Time to rethink your approach to new lawyers

Managing partners: Stop fighting the last talent war

3. Attorney At Work

The do’s and don’ts of conference tweeting

Client-driven recruitment

Would you hire yourself?

4. ABA Law Practice Magazine

Lawyers and social media: Can legal advice be crowdsourced?

5. The Lawyer (UK)

Disenfranchising the turkeys: The decline of partner power

6. The Lawyers Weekly (Canada)

How David fights Goliath with social media

Rethinking legal ethics in a wi-fi world

7. Slaw

CPD and the presumption of competence

I was also fortunate enough to be interviewed for or mentioned in a number of articles published in other media, including:

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.

Seen and (on one occasion) heard

Before launching into a roundup of what I’ve written elsewhere, I wanted to let you know that I’ll be in Chicago next week for a series of meetings, in particular the College of Law Practice Management‘s 2011 Futures Conference at the University of Chicago-Kent College of Law. In addition to presiding over the 2011 InnovAction Awards ceremony, I’ll be moderating a panel titled “Law Practice Without Borders,” with Simon Chester, BeiBei Que and my Edge International partner, Pam Woldow. If you’re in Chicago October 28-29, you should make time to attend the whole conference: it’s an extraordinary lineup of speakers and topics that you won’t find anywhere else.

On to the roundup: here’s a list of the articles I’ve written (and in one case, the conversation for which I was recorded) in the last several weeks.

Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy Blog:

Slaw:

The Lawyers Weekly:

Attorney At Work:

The Lawyer (UK):

CBA PracticeLink:

Freedom is The New Rich:

Edge International Review (Co-authored):

As always, I hope you enjoy reading these entries as much as I enjoyed writing them.

On the road and on the Net

Before providing a series of links to articles I’ve recently published elsewhere, I want to bring your attention to my next two public speaking appearances and encourage you to come check them out.

First, I’ll be in Toronto this Friday, August 5, at the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association. I’m honoured to be appearing on a Presidential CLE Panel sponsored by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems. “eAttorney, MiAttorney: How Technology Has Changed Communication and Collaboration With Clients” runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, Room 716B, 700 Level, South Building. My fellow panelists are the real draw: Dennis Kennedy, Daniel Schwartz and Michael Downey will join me to discuss the impact of technology on the lawyer-client relationship, legal ethics, and the legal marketplace generally.

Secondly, I’ll be in Nashville on Monday, August 22, at the International Legal Technology Association’s 2011 Rev-elation Conference. I’m greatly looking forward to moderating the panel “Offshoring and Outsourcing: What It Means for Your Firm and Your Job” at 1:00 pm in the Governor’s C Ballroom at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. I’ll be joined by two high-profile experts in this field, Toby Brown and Kevin Colangelo, in a session introduced by V. Mary Abraham. We’ll be discussing the impact of outsourcing on lawyers, clients, and law firms’ operations, technology, infrastructure, while forecasting where the future will lead us in  this area.

If you expect to be at the ABA or ILTA conferences, please drop me a line and let me know.

With those two stops noted, here’s my regular roundup of work published elsewhere.

1. Two entries at Law Firm Web Strategy, the Stem Legal blog:

(a) “Politeness, please: Etiquette for LinkedIn and Facebook connections” — Avoiding the “Hey, you!” approach to online networking.

(b) “Law firm branding, social media and strategy” — First you get a brand, then you take it online: putting the horse before the cart.

2. Two articles from Edge International’s monthly newsletter Communiqué:

(a) “The myth of the two-tiered associate track” — In which I try to deflate a popular but misleading buzzword.

(b) “The purpose-driven law firm” — What is the point, from the market’s perspective, of your law firm? Think carefully before you answer.

3. Two columns for The Lawyers Weekly:

(a) “Pricing risk in the legal process” — Risk can be quantified, and lawyers can (and will) prove this as we get better at pricing our services.

(b) “The truth about (online) branding: it’s all about the client experience” — The original column on which the previous Stem post was based.

4. Two posts for Attorney At Work:

(a) “Be the world’s most client-accessible lawyer” — Meet your clients at their times, on their turf, and on their terms.

(b) “Shall I compare thee to a summary judgment?”– I really enjoyed writing this one: poetry as an exercise in lawyer clarity.

5.  Two columns for Small-Firm Innovation:

(a) “When it comes to marketing, small is powerful” — I really think solo and small-firm lawyers are poised for a marketing breakthrough.

(b) “Will your client someday say: You’re Dead2Me?” — Excellent client service is a legitimate competitive advantage. Really.

6. And for a change of pace, one regular column at Slaw:

(a) “Articling: back to basics“– Wherein I take a good, long look at Canada’s articling student system and ask some hard questions.

7. Finally, I’m always pleasantly surprised to hear from the media and happy to give them my time. Here’s where I’ve shown up recently:

(a) “Ontario attorney makes the case for (legal) poetry in motion— Montreal Gazette (re: my Attorney At Work post)

(b) “Outsourcing pioneer blazes a new trail: bringing work back from India” — National Law Journal (re: the repatriation of outsourcing)

(c) “Half off: Nevada lawyer bets on discount model” — ABA Journal (re: the coming rise of low-priced legal services)

That’s about enough links for one post. Again, please drop me a line if you’ll be at the ABA or ILTA meetings this month — I’m always very happy to meet my much-appreciated readers.

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.

What I’ve said and where I’ll be

Time for my regular roundup of what I’ve written in other locations recently, along with a quick itinerary of my upcoming speaking appearances.

1. I’ve been especially busy at Law Firm Web Strategy, the blog of Stem Legal, with three recent posts on social media:

2. My most recent column for The Lawyers Weekly sparked a lot of feedback: Do what you do best and outsource everything else kind of sums up my assessment of the current legal marketplace and how firms should respond to it.

3. My latest column at Slaw looked at a different question: why are some of the most influential people in law firms also the least pleasant to deal with? The importance of being nice makes the case that collegiality has a business purpose.

4. My newest entry for Attorney At Work reached back to law school to discuss the potential benefits of private knowledge management: Revive your law school study group.

5. My first entry for Small Firm Innovation, a dynamic new blog sponsored by Clio, won’t appear until early next month, but I’m proud to be both a contributor and a member of the advisory board. Check out SFI today for practical first-hand accounts of small-firm success.

In terms of my travel plans, here’s where you’ll find me over the next several weeks.

These and other engagements will take me through the summer, so I’m now booking appearances for the fall. If your law firm or practice group is organizing a retreat or your organization is hosting a conference and you’d like to learn more about my presentation packages, please drop me a line. Look for more information about retreats and presentations in an upcoming Law21 redesign as well!

Finally, I want to make one last pitch for your firm, department or organization to submit an entry to the 2011 InnovAction Awards, sponsored by the College of Law Practice Management. The deadline for entries is now just one week away, and based on inquiries and entries already received, I’m anticipating a banner year for submissions; yours should be among them.

Jordan Furlong speaks 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.

I get around

Time for another roundup of articles I’ve recently published elsewhere — a bit more extensive than usual — with the thought that you might find some of them interesting.

I’d like to start with a link to the newest edition of the Edge International Review, a semi-annual collection of articles from my partners in Edge. I served as editor of this issue and contributed an article titled: “The talent portfolio: where, how and by whom your work is done.” The Review will be mailed out this week to thousands of subscribers; if you’d like to be added to the subscriber list (or to receive Edge’s free e-newsletter, containing more exclusive articles by Edge partners), please drop me a line.

For the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine, I wrote a cover story on the most recent round of mergers in the Canadian law firm marketplace. “Merger mania” featured lengthy interviews with the managing partners of Norton Rose, Ogilvy Renault, Miller Thomson and McMillan LLP. I think you’ll find their perspectives on the rapidly evolving law firm landscape to be illuminating.

For the CBA’s PracticeLink online periodical, I wrote an article titled: “How to use old media to access new media,” which talks about how social networks can help you raise your profile in the mainstream and legal press. I followed that up with a complementary post at Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy blog that added more pointers for joining old and new media in your marketing efforts.

Also for the Law Firm Web Strategy Blog, I welcomed new Stem client Harrison Pensa of London, Ontario, to the fold, and later highlighted the firm’s innovative new privacy policy generator. In addition, responding to a trend I’m seeing among law firms struggling to create original content, I wrote a primer titled: “Reluctant publishers: helping lawyers generate content.

For The Lawyers Weekly newspaper, I published two columns: one on the strategic management of legal talent, and the other on a subject I wish would get more serious attention in the legal profession. “Law firm diversity beyond the platitudes” cites the example of Nixon Peabody’s diversity initiative, which is the most demanding and the most pragmatic I’ve yet seen.

My regular column for Slaw, “Exploding some law school myths,” generated a remarkably large and intense amount of feedback. Read the article and review the provocative comments to get a sense of popular feelings about law school these days.

For Attorney At Work, I wrote two articles: “Create legal annual reports for your clients” received a very positive response to its idea of preparing yearly reviews and previews of clients’ legal health, while “Demographic business development” talked about generational change from clients’, rather than the lawyer’s, perspective.

Susan Cartier Liebel and her great team at Solo Practice University were kind enough to interview me for a two-part webinar on the future of the legal profession. (Note: if you haven’t heard about my SPU scholarship contest, check it out here.)

Finally, I was honoured to be interviewed or republished by some leading media outlets over the last couple of months.

A last couple of notes: April 1 finds me in Quebec City addressing the spring meeting of the Chambre des Notaires, the governing body of Quebec’s notaries, while April 4 brings me to Orlando to open the MasterMinds session at the 25th annual conference of the Legal Marketing Association. If you’re attending either of these events, please send me an email and let me know.

Jordan Furlong speaks 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.