Around the Legal Industry: 4/1 – 4/5

New ABA Model Rules: Opportunities Ahead for Tech-Savvy Lawyers and Staff?

This week’s ABA Journal includes a story on implications from the technology-related resolutions passed last year by the ABA House of Delegates.

The story quoted Lucy L. Thompson, chair of the AGA Section of Science and Technology Law. Ms. Thompson pointed out that although lawyers themselves don’t have to be technology experts, they do have to understand the technology “thoroughly enough to make the right decisions and ask the right questions.”

And how will lawyers who are “technologically challenged” reach this required level of understanding? “Those people need a colleague or expert they can rely on,” said Ms. Thompson. “But they still need to know enough to be sure they’re not overlooking important issues.”

If you have a technology background — or are motivated to stay current on technological developments — building a reputation for expertise in this area could make you popular, indeed.

Source: ABA Journal | “Reality bytes: New ABA rules require you to get with tech program—like it or not”

Using Preemptive Conversations To Manage Abusive Clients

Business Psychiatrist Mark Goulston, M.D., reports seeing an increasing amount “toxic behavior” in law firms. In many cases, Goulston believes, these disrespectful practices stem from abusive clients — whose mistreatment of lawyers frequently “trickles down” to other members of the legal staff. Not surprisingly, this “domino effect” is harmful to morale — and takes a toll on motivation, productivity, staff retention and relationships.

Why don’t firms release these toxic clients? “The fact is that as much as there are some clients that law firms would do well to turn away or fire, they won’t,” Goulston says. “They’re just too profitable.”

So what’s to be done? Goulston offers this prescription: “Prepare with difficult clients for the inevitable time you’ll have bad news to deliver.” By having this conversation before tensions are running high and tempers are flaring, you can learn how the client prefers these matters to be handled. “It’s amazing how having had a preemptive conversation can make it easier to approach — instead of avoid — the conflict you feel about delivering upsetting news,” Goulston reports.

By the way, Goulston’s recommendations didn’t come entirely from his academic training or the books he has authored. He cites his interaction with F. Lee Bailey (during the O.J. Simpson trial) as the source for much of he knows about dealing with difficult people.)

Source: HBR Blog Network | “How to Deal with a Toxic Client”

LexThink 2013: Presentations on “Disruption in the Legal Marketplace”

On April 3rd, legal professionals gathered for the fourth annual gathering known as LexThink.1 — a celebration of six-minute presentations on the future of law practice. Although this year’s presentations (all focusing on the theme: “Disruption”) are not yet available online, you might want to monitor the site. Meanwhile, you can check out the 2012 video presentations — which are presented in full.

Source: LexThink.1 | The Future of Law Practice in Six Minute Increments

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