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Is the Future of Law a Legal Ecosystem, Mosaic or Tapestry? Whatever, I’m Stuck on the Sidelines Today

December 02, 2019

I’ve had one of those weeks. Actually, one of those quarters. But today is the day that I choose to stomp my feet. Family is healthy. Business is great. What do I have to complain about? I had a fabulous summer with my wife and kids. I probably took off almost six whole weeks to spend with them at the lake, camping, boarding school interview road trips with my 14-year old son, time away in a Canadian wilderness lodge with my wife while the kids were in sleep-away camp, you get the drift. So, I thought that I’d spend Q3 traveling the world, meeting customers, seeing Elevate colleagues, and giving talks (I really don’t like doing them, by the way). Basically, doing penance for my guilt for having such a great summer.

Q3 world tour so far so good. I don’t think (?) I fumbled my FT Innovative Lawyers closing talk in London a few weeks ago. I think all our customer annual review meetings have all gone well. My colleagues seem genuinely happy to see me when I visit one of our offices around the world – even if we are meeting for their quarterly performance feedback (no we aren’t yet mature enough as a company to do 360s, thank God).

Right now, I’m on the final leg of my Delhi to Singapore to Tokyo to Los Angeles (home) flight. I’m at 37,000 feet. I can’t wait to land and go see my 10-year old daughter’s school basketball game (maybe, just maybe she’ll score her first basket – is that what Americans call scoring in that game? I really should know this stuff. Please don’t ask me about baseball. Or hockey – sorry to my Canadian wife).

So, what do I have to complain about? Now, I’ll tell you what.

Some of my colleagues are at the ACC conference in DC talking about legal department innovation. Some of my colleagues are at the LegalGeek conference talking about legal technology innovation. My problem is… they are out there having fun, BUT I’M NOT THERE TOO! I feel like I’m missing out! Let me give an example. Check out yesterday’s fabulous, must-watch TED-talk from the Chair of Elevate’s Advisory Board, Mark Cohen.

I was impressed by Mark’s humanness at our very first meeting – we just clicked. He was so vulnerable and authentic in the way he described his rocket-ride, rollercoaster experience as a co-founder of Clearspire, a truly innovative, technology-led, ‘two company’ law firm/ legal service provider. Unlike so many other entrepreneurs who get to Everest Basecamp and claim victory, Mark actually managed to climb all the way to the Hillary Step. He was thwarted that time, but it didn’t stop him from wanting to get right back on the mountain to try again! As soon as I met him I knew I wanted his help ‘to get to the Summit’ and so our paths have become intertwined. I couldn’t believe my luck when he agreed to help build and lead our advisory board. This diverse group of advisors (thank you all!) help us shine our headlights out into the future to build our company’s capabilities to solve the legal industry problems they tell us they and their peers are grappling with today – and tomorrow.

In his effervescent LegalGeek talk, you’ll see he’s passionate about how the whole legal industry is changing; how the pace is accelerating; who the players in the whole legal ecosystem, legal mosaic (nicely woven, Mark) or tapestry (see how I did that?) are; how they are interacting, co-operating, and competing with each other – and how it’s better for both lawyers and society. It’s exciting stuff and I’m glad to be part of it!

Except that I’m not. Right now, I’m on the sidelines on flight SQ12, wishing I was out on the field or court or pitch with you today, Mark – having fun with you and everyone else in our ‘future of law’ tribe.

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