2014 Forum on Legal Evolution

The Forum on Legal Evolution strives to bring together an engaging mix of speakers who are leaders in various corners of the legal industry. For the 2014 program, the Forum featured a group of innovators who are working in business, law firms, academia, and the public interest.


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The Rogers Diffusion Curve – How Industries Change and Adapt, Including Law


Drawing upon several decades of research, the Rogers Diffusion Curve is a widely accepted description of how innovation spreads within industries. But law has not followed the same model, largely because the ethics rules have prohibited co-ventures between lawyers and non-lawyers. While the ban on co-venturing may have enriched the bar by creating barriers to entry, it has also significantly slowed productivity advances in the legal industry.  This dynamic is now creating tension between lawyers and clients.  During this session, Henderson used the Rogers Innovation Curve and diffusion theory to explain, in simple, practical terms, the difficult decision points faced by today’s legal industry leaders.  Suffice it to say, important productivity advances that reduce both cost and risk requires lawyers to collaborate and co-venture with experts from other disciplines.

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Innovation No. 1: Predictive Analytics for Substantive and Operational Decisions


No one can deny that human decision making improves with informed reliance on data. Yet, only a few decades ago, calculating a single linear regression model required several months of painstaking work to calculate. Since that time, the costs of collecting and analyzing data have gone down radically, even as the value (some would argue, the necessity) of evidence-based decision making has grown. A powerful set of techniques, known as “predictive analytics,” has been rapidly and thoroughly embraced by Wall Street, marketing, finance, medicine, and professional sports. It is now spreading into other industries, including professional services.  This session presented the fundamental principles and concepts of predictive analytics, which is the engine behind data-driven business intelligence using both big and small data.

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Innovation No. 2: Process Design and Implementation in an Endless Quest for Perfection


World-class businesses in virtually every industry improve quality, save time and reduce costs using well thought-out work processes.  These processes provide the foundation for continuously improving the delivery of goods and services while making businesses more profitable and competitive.  Designing work processes involves identifying, sequencing, diagramming and assigning responsibility for each of the steps that are necessary to turn inputs into the outputs that clients find valuable.  Once created, processes are continuously measured, analyzed and improved to eliminate various sources of waste, thus becoming better, faster and less expensive in an endless quest for perfection.  Innovation No 1: Predictive Analytics, is an integral tool needed to execute Innovation No 2: Process Design and Implementation in an Endless Quest for Perfection.


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Contemporary Examples of Innovations Nos. 1 and 2 within the Legal Industry


Author William Gibson once said, “The future is already here – it is just not evenly distributed.”  During this session, Katz discussed the applicability of this concept to the current landscape, walking the audience through several concrete examples of new technology and new companies that are entering the legal field.  Drawing upon the ideas and concepts set forth in Sessions I to III, Katz explained their underlying business models in clear, practical terms.  He also explained how the “innovation cluster” of process + design + technology + prediction will be used in the years to come to improve operational efficiencies and create new ways of solving legal problems (e.g., predicting case outcomes, case valuations, quantitative risk analysis in M&A transactions).  At the end of this session, members of the Legal Evolution Forum had a concrete understanding of how and why the legal industry is changing.  This is real-world knowledge we all need to run our organizations.