I’ve always been skeptical when I see the “Kodak moment” metaphor being used as some kind of oracular call for institutional change: “Adapt or go the way of the dinosaurs…and Kodak!” The ominous admonition works so well precisely because it is a dramatic illustration of how historically dominating institutions can fail spectacularly when they opt for status quo success instead of embracing already visible changes. All you need is a dominant institution (like private law firms generally and BigLaw specifically) and some obvious technological or market changes (like AI and legal process outsourcing) and…voila!…you’ve got yourself a Kodak moment. Continue reading “The Kodak Moment…Wait Just a Moment”
Month: March 2016
The Atomic Unit of BigLaw
In my post about analytics here, I noted that the challenge of performing certain analytics tasks in the legal domain is simplified by the well-defined and publicly accessible caselaw source data used in the analysis:
The cases themselves are uniquely named and codified, as are the jurisdictions, courts and judges. Parties/roles and names of counsel, litigants and other participants have been vetted. Even softer metadata like issues, actions, and outcomes have been successfully extracted and disambiguated. Of course, all of this high quality data is continuously supported by a stable court system and a large private publishing infrastructure. The result is a target-rich content environment for analytics and one that accommodates relatively simple user interfaces. Unfortunately, the same does not hold true for legal work not directly or completely circumscribed by court filings (and to a lesser extent, certain regulatory proceedings). Factor in all of the ancillary activity inside of the law firms related to this sometimes rich but more often impoverished external data, and you have the kind of complexity that can’t be untangled by analytics alone.
Let’s explore this observation a bit further in the context of how law firms manage matters by starting with a rather philosophical question: What is a matter? The answer depends on which part of the elephant you’re blindly feeling, but generally speaking there are two ways to answer the question: Continue reading “The Atomic Unit of BigLaw”