On March 28, 2012, twelve speakers took the stage in Chicago to share their vision of the future of law practice. Each got just six minutes and twenty slides to give their presentations. Here’s what they had to say:

Introduction to LexThink.1

Client Service Design

Client Service Design

Lawyers can build a more profitable and satisfying practice by designing their business to serve their best clients better.  In this presentation, I’ll discuss why client service matters now more than ever, and share a simple process that can help lawyers identify their ideal clients and design their practices to serve those clients more effectively.

Matthew W. Homann:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

Don’t Just Communicate …

Don’t Just Communicate …

I will be talking about how to get away from traditional lines of communication and give clients the attention that they deserve through technology. Clients are used to communicating via text messaging, email, and Facebook, which essentially leads to instant gratification. Whether we like or not, they have grown to expect this level of attention in all areas of life, including representation by a lawyer. The problem is these methods are not the most efficient for lawyers and certainly are not secure enough to handle such confidential information.

Still, the biggest complaint across every state bar in the country is lack of attorney client communication. That is precisely why this matters so much. Gone are the days of lengthy phone calls and sending letters to clients. There are so many technologies available that allow you to give your clients a supreme level of attention and collaboration that not only make your clients feel amazing, but also make you more efficient. Engaging your clients through client portals and using social network style communication tools to give your client complete case interaction is realistic now and can be accomplished easily, cost effectively, and securely.

I intend to present solely as a lawyer who has spent years serving some of the toughest clients to keep happy, criminal defendants. As the owner of small firm and the founder of MyCase, which has its core in the idea of interacting and collaborating with your clients directly from your LPM software, I believe I have a great perspective on how to enhance communication with clients.

Matt Spiegel:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

 

One Word That Will Reinvent How You Serve Clients

One Word That Will Reinvent How You Serve Clients

“Lawyer” is one of just two nouns in the English language that take on a negative meaning when turned into an adjective — “lawyerly.” (The other is “fish.” As in “fishy.”) In the history of the world, no one has ever used “lawyerly” as a compliment. Because lawyers get a bum rap: Client complaints. Billing disputes. Lawyer jokes.

But one word can change all of that. One word can revolutionize the way you practice law. Make your life easier. And make your clients happier. Want to know what that one word is? And how to use it in your practice? Vote for this proposal and find out March 28.

Jay Shepherd:  Bio / Web / Blog / Twitter

 

Back to the Future

Back to the Future

Due to communication innovations of the 21st century (e.g., Internet, social networking, video chat, etc.), lawyers are being forced back to a time of community interaction and leadership.  But the communities have changed.  Many are now online in-part or whole.

How does a lawyer identify online communities that are most important to his or her practice?  What are the best ways to engage those communities?

Mark Britton:  Bio / Web / Blog / Twitter

Flash Mob Law

Flash Mob Law

Flash mobs are large public performances that are unexpected and often involve unusual behavior, like dancing in the streets and people dressed in unusual attire. Flash mob law is a hybrid of criminal, intellectual property, tort, property, 1st Amendment, and contract law that helps flash mob organizers stay out of trouble before, during, and after each event.

Lawyers who practice flash mob law serve clients who organize flash mobs for guerrilla marketing stunts and just for fun. Flash mobs are high risk events that can strike the public relations jackpot or result in the arrest of participants and threats to the the participants’ and the unsuspecting audience’s safety.

Flash mob organizers need lawyers who speak their language and understand the applicable laws so that they can advise the organizers of their risks and teach them how to talk with law enforcement and the public. With information about upcoming and past flash mobs plastered all over Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the news, there’s nowhere for organizers to hide if their stunt is illegal or if an unfortunate incident happens during an event. They need legal guidance from the initial planning stages until the final blog and video from the event are posted.

Ruth Carter:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

 

Ignite This! Five Ethics Rules That Should Be Incinerated

Ignite This! Five Ethics Rules That Should Be Incinerated

Technology moved into the 21st Century in the 1990s. We’re still waiting for ethics rules to catch up.

Which state has a rule that advocates using the Yellow Pages?

Where can a publisher call you the “best” lawyer, but your client can’t?

Where is it unethical to have a virtual office?

Will Hornsby picks the top five rules that prevent you from serving the 21st Century client and wonders out loud what we can do about it.

Will Hornsby:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

Being a Web 2.0 Lawyer in the “Thank You Economy”

Being a Web 2.0 Lawyer in the “Thank You Economy”

From a marketing and branding standpoint, it’s very important for lawyers and law firms to embrace the “Thank You Economy” (credit Gary Vaynerchuk).

I will demonstrate how that can be done quite economically by leveraging relevant social media and through establishing interesting messaging, all in a very professional and ethical, yet enticing, manner.

We will see how the Web 2.0 lawyer might effectively spread his or her expertise to serve business objectives.

Roe Frazer:  Bio / Web / Twitter

 

Legal Industry Startups: An Overview

Legal Industry Startups: An Overview

A quick survey of new legal industry start-ups (non-law firms) and the promise of new value propositions that result in improved patterns of client service.

The venture capital industry is targeting the legal industry as ripe for disruption. The VC’s think they know it all and really understand the future of legal services.

Lets see where they are investing and hear my opinion about whether the horses they are backing will win or die. What can we learn from these new ventures?

Is real innovation happening or are we seeing old wine in new bottles?

Richard Granat:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

 

Passion

Passion

Identifying and then nourishing your passion will make you a more content person, drive confidence and help you serve your clients better.  Find your passions and then encourage others around you to follow theirs.  Passion also leads to innovation which is the cornerstone of technology.  Technology, in turn, when properly implemented and when enthusiastically embraced will help free your schedule to give you time to follow your passion.

Steven J. Best:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

 

Ending Cheap Talk in Legal Bargaining

Goodbye To All That – Ending Cheap Talk in Legal Bargaining

Serving clients generally boils down to assisting them with various forms of bargaining.  This includes tacit bargaining, such as when someone claims or does something in an effort to cause someone else to eventually respond in a desired way.  It also includes litigation, which in virtually all cases can be understood as simply a form of tacit bargaining.

Several Nobel Prizes have recently been awarded for discoveries relating to what works and doesn’t work in various bargaining contexts.  These studies suggest that much of what lawyers do and charge clients for consists of “cheap talk” (with the word “cheap” referring to its lack of value and credibility, rather than to the costs that it inflicts upon clients and society).

This work has led to the development of several legal-tech systems that allow conflicts and negotiations to be resolved at little or no cost and with startling efficiency.  This session provides an overview of the work being done in this field and the opportunities and challenges that it presents for clients, for lawyers at all levels of the profession, and for the legal system as a whole.

James F. Ring:  BioWeb / Twitter

 

Where Canasta and Counsel Collide: Can Elder Law Attorneys Bridge the Communication Gap?

Where Canasta and Counsel Collide: Can Elder Law Attorneys Bridge the Communication Gap with Technology?

In a world abuzz with tweets and check-ins, are elderly clients becoming lost in the noise? Proponents of legal technology and social media herald its growing use in law practice as a means of helping clients and counsel communicate more effectively. At least ostensibly, attorneys embracing the “Law 2.0″ ethos regard technology’s improved interactivity as valuable. With clients becoming increasingly web-savvy, many clients “like” this new approach to client engagement – but not all do.

My 98-year-old grandfather doesn’t have a Twitter account. He’s no worse for it – instead, he rather hone his legendary Canasta skills over confining his connection to others with 140 or fewer characters.

Like others in his retirement community, he routinely seeks legal services and advice. After meeting with a number of lawyers recently, he shared his true feelings about lawyers – things I cannot publicly repeat in good conscience. To him, yours is a profession where client questions are bothersome, where task completion trumps connection, and where client usability is of little, if any, concern. Many others share his opinion.

Despite enormous potential to deliver meaningful value to older clients, the legal technology community remains astonishingly unconcerned with the elderly. With the Baby Boomers primed to retire en masse and breadth of legal services they will require, it’s time to do better. We must first determine where communication gaps occur with elderly clients and how technology can help bridge the gap between attorney and elderly client. Let’s start now.

Jason E. Dyer:  Bio / Blog / Web / Twitter

 

Moving Towards 100% Web

Moving Towards 100% Web

Integrating consumer driven social media, intranets, extranets and client portals into a 100% web approach driving organizational & behavioral change.  Focus on how applying account management, alternative fee agreements, knowledge & legal project management into this model is streamlined and a malleable bi-product of the 100% web approach, and is led by consumer behavioral trends. Wrap up with how client service & integration becomes the ultimate focal point within this strategy.

Eric Hunter:  Bio / Web / Twitter

 

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About LexThink LLC

LexThink is a legal innovation consultancy and event design company that helps lawyers innovate more and collaborate better in firm retreats, practice group meetings, workshops and events by delivering meaningful, practice-changing experiences in creative and effective ways.  Learn more about LexThink here.