2017 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 2017 program, the Forum featured a group of innovators who are working in business, law firms, academia, and the public interest.


An Innovator Starting from Zero: A Roadmap for GCs


Legal departments today are being challenged to meet the evolving needs of the business and to communicate more effectively with business leaders across the organization. As a result, a high performing legal department may now undertake projects or carry responsibilities that intersect directly with cost control, risk management, process improvement, data analytics, and technology -- none of which are traditionally taught in law school. This session provided an authentic, earnest, and sometimes amusing account of what this means in practice for the legal department from the perspective of one general counsel, Wendy Rubas. Wendy built out a metric-driven legal department in a highly regulated industry and she credits consultant and change agent Andrew Baker with help and encouragement along the way.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal: The World’s First Government-Run ODR for Civil Disputes


Throughout the world, most ordinary citizens cannot afford lawyers to resolve their problems and disputes, leading to a growing number of litigants who represent themselves.  When they do, the experience is usually stressful, inconvenient, and simply overwhelming.  British Columbia, Canada, recently introduced a new dispute resolution model intended to break this pattern of frustration: the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). CRT is a government run online dispute resolution body that handles civil disputes of less than $5,000, in addition to the most common condominium disputes, in the Province of British Columbia. The Tribunal enables citizens to use a broad range of collaborative dispute resolution tools to resolve disputes as early as possible, all the while still preserving adjudication as a valued last resort.  The CRT reflects a departure from traditional adversarial proceedings.  This session featured Richard Rogers, the Executive Director and Registrar of the CRT and Kandis McCall, the CRT’s Director, Case Management. Richard and Kandis described how and why the CRT was formed, how it is organized, and how it is currently operating in British Columbia.

The Call for a College of Legal Operations


It is it time to create a College of Legal Operations that serves both legal education and mid-career professionals?  The field of legal operations is being created on the job by lawyers and allied professions charged with solving difficult issues of cost, quality, and risk management.  CLOC, ILTA, and the ACC have done an excellent job of raising awareness surrounding innovative solutions and best practices.  Although the need and demand for legal ops professionals is increasing rapidly, the legal ecosystem lacks a mechanism where the full range of legal operations skills, knowledge, and technology can be learned in an efficient, hands-on way.  Legal education is unable to fill this gap on its own because legal ops is a field that is created by current practitioners. During this session, Bill Mooz and Bill Henderson presented a preliminary plan to create a College of Legal Operations with a curated practitioner-led faculty that works cooperatively with all parts of the legal ecosystem, including ABA accredited law schools.

A Sandbox for All to Share: Bringing Clients, Legal Technologists and Law Firms Together in the Name of Data Advancement


AI tools and big data analytics are only as powerful as the data they can analyze.  What if firms and corporations could combine the best data from public and private vendor sources with their unique confidential data, all in a secure instance that only they could see?  Imagine if a suite of the best AI tools and other advanced technologies were then made available and you were given the keys to customize it all.  What insights could you gain?  What skills could you learn? 

In this session, a data publisher (Phil Rosenthal), law firm innovation partner (DeBord), and a lawyer/technologist (Martin) discussed a breakthrough approach to data mining. Fastcase is enabling law firms to create secure environments that combined their internal data with public data from Fastcase and/or other partners and, in turn, analyze the augmented dataset using AI tools from partners such as IBM Watson.  This marketplace for legal data and AI tools is the beginning of a new ecosystem that will allow each of us to become the makers (not just consumers) of artificial intelligence tools and to investigate some of the questions long out of reach. 


The Story of Collaboration Between Two Legal Industry Innovators


After completing short stints in law firms upon graduating law school in the early 1980s, both Mark Chandler and Paul Lippe embarked upon careers where they worked inside emerging technology businesses – in a mix of business and legal roles.  The innovation occurring in Silicon Valley, and their own companies, served as a catalyst for re-evaluating the roles and functions of lawyers and legal departments.

Eventually Chandler asked Lippe to assist Cisco in the creation of a knowledge management and workflow tool that would enable Cisco lawyers to capture its learning and knowledge creation. This tool would ultimately increase the consistency and quality of answers the legal department provided and save Cisco lawyers thousands of hours on repetitive work.  That innovation, which was constructed in the early 2000s, would later be commercialized as Legal OnRamp.  Cisco’s legal department would go on to become the leading exemplar of the legal operations movement.   Likewise, Legal OnRamp would go onto to become a vehicle for challenging the thinking of an entire generation of corporate lawyers.

During the first part of this session, Mark and Paul provided some background and color commentary on their collaboration.  In part two, both Mark and Paul turned toward the future and offered their thoughts on what other members of the Forum on Legal Evolution might accomplish in the next decade.