Design Thinking Will Change the Practice of Law

This article, which I co-authored with Cat Moon, originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Legal Business World.

The bold prediction of the Legal Design Summit organizers: Design thinking will change the practice of law. Earlier this month upwards of 600 people from around the world gathered in Helsinki for the second annual summit. The program featured more than two dozen speakers, including Marie Bernard of Dentons and Nextlaw Labs, Justin North and Joe May of Janders Dean, and Warren Smith of the UK’s Government Digital Service.

Make Your (Power) Point

This article, which I coauthored with Lora Keenan, originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin.

It’s happened to all of us. You’re at a CLE, looking forward to learning about an interesting topic from a dynamic speaker. Maybe you’ll even get some written materials that you can take back to the office to help you review the key points. Then the lights dim, the speaker is obscured in shadow, the PowerPoint slides packed with text begin to march by … and you’re fast asleep. That’s OK, you figure. “I’ll just read the written materials to get the overview.” But the “written materials” turn out to just be a black-and-white printout of those PowerPoint slides. You couldn’t make them out on the screen, and you certainly aren’t motivated to read them in even smaller type in varying shades of grey. Another epic PowerPoint fail.

Meet the Lawyers Designing Tomorrow’s Practice Models

This post originally appeared on Law Practice Today.

Consultants like me, who spend a lot of time thinking about and strategizing for the future of law, often get carried away talking in broad-brush terms about the changes we see coming. Understanding the big picture is certainly important, but practitioners often find it more helpful to hear specific things that other attorneys are doing differently today to prepare for that future.

Trading Big Law challenges for entrepreneurial ones

This post first appeared on Hire an Esquire.

A year or so ago, I wrote a post for Hire an Esquire about leaving Big Law after having my first child. I observed that the billable-hour model is unworkable for many parents, and I resolved to redesign the Big Law business model in my new role as a legal designer.

What I’ve come to realize, however, is that the challenges I spoke of are more widespread than Big Law, and have many different causes—not just the billable hour. Solo and small-firm attorneys often struggle financially because they were never taught the business side of running a practice in law school. And many attorneys at mid- and large-size firms want to start their own practice—not to escape the billable hour, but to have a sense of purpose and autonomy—yet they have no idea how to leave.