This is one of a set of posts about the content and the discussion at ILTA 2014 in Nashville. Originally intended as a single post, the result was too long for that and I decided to split them up. See also ILTA 2014 – the context and the logistics.
It has been fashionable in recent years to predict the end of the very large firms colloquially and collectively known as BigLaw. Whilst I have accepted the premises of this – that resistance to change, and particularly technology change, would pose serious challenges to BigLaw which not all its members would meet – I have not joined the general prediction that the end is nigh for these firms. There are a lot of lazy assumptions behind the conclusion that these firms are all alike just because they have common clients, size and areas of expertise.
The subject is one which matters (or should matter) to those who offer eDiscovery software and services, because BigLaw has traditionally been their primary market – the “low hanging fruit” in that hackneyed phrase which is so beloved of sales people and which has blinded so many of them to the potential importance of smaller players. Big firms, along with many of their clients, have seemed like “a large, knotty, sprawling ball of legal, logistical and organisational complexity that hindered both supplier and buyer.”
This splendid phrase comes from a really interesting article by Bill Henderson on the Legal Whiteboard site called Ahead of the Curve: Three Big Innovators in BigLaw. The article covers in some detail the application of technology to the practices of the three finalists for the ILTA Most Innovative Law Firm Award – Bryan Cave, Seyfarth Shaw and Littler Mendelson. Read the rest of this entry »