I’m a legal sector analyst who’s deeply invested in a better future for the legal profession and the society it serves.
I’ve spent the past 20 years studying critical new developments and discerning emerging patterns in the legal services ecosystem. I use these insights to advise legal organizations on how to plan their strategies and achieve their goals.
My work is currently focused on three areas:
- Lawyer Formation, encompassing the growth of lawyers from law school through bar admission and their continuing competence and professional development thereafter.
- Legal Regulation, encompassing the governance of lawyers, the regulation of legal services providers, and the reform of legal regulatory systems.
- Legal Industry Change, encompassing the rise of new competitive forces, the emergence of new legal business models, and the role of the lawyer in the 21st century.
Here’s a brief overview of my 30 years in the legal profession.
- In 1990, I enrolled at Queen’s University Faculty of Law in Kingston, Ontario, graduating in 1993. I completed my articles at Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto in 1994, and I was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1995. I practised law just long enough to conclude that I was cut out for a different line of work — but I was committed to staying within the legal sector.
- In 1996, I began a lengthy career as a legal journalist. After two-and-a-half years as a writer and editor with The Lawyers Weekly newspaper, I was appointed editor of National, the Canadian Bar Association’s magazine, in 1999. During my decade at the helm of National, the magazine won several national awards and consistently earned the highest satisfaction and relevance ratings from CBA members. During this time, I also helped start the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s own magazine.
- In 2007, I launched my own blog, Law21: Dispatches From a Legal Profession On The Brink, which eventually transformed into this website and is where I continue to write about the law to this day. I also author a regular column about the legal services world at Slaw, Canada’s leading legal sector website, and I contribute dozens of articles to top legal periodicals worldwide.
- From 2010 to 2020, I worked as an independent consultant, author, and speaker, specializing in the marketplace for legal services and the evolution of law firm culture and business models. I delivered keynote addresses to thousands of legal professionals on four different continents throughout that time, and I wrote hundreds of blog posts about how lawyers and the legal profession could adapt to a rapidly evolving legal world.
- In 2017, I wrote my first full-length book, Law Is a Buyer’s Market: Building a Client-First Law Firm, which was critically acclaimed worldwide and which is now available to be downloaded free. Earlier in the decade, I was named a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, I created the “21st-Century Legal Services” course for Suffolk University Law School, and I personally taught the course in its first two years.
My volunteer work throughout this time has included advisory work for the ABA’s Center for Legal Innovation, the Law Without Walls program at the University of Miami Law School, and the access-to-justice advocacy group Responsive Law. I have delivered many presentations to law schools, legal startup conferences, and other non-profit or public-interest groups at no charge.
Personal stuff: I’m Canadian. I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and I live in Ottawa, Ontario, with my wife, two kids, and a regal cat. My Catholic faith is a central and sustaining part of my life. I’ve hung in there with the Toronto Blue Jays for nearly 40 years, and I re-read The Lord of the Rings every six months or so, because I like to be regularly reminded that the good guys are always supposed to win in the end.