The Director’s Desk

Volume 37 Number 5

By

Pamela McDevitt (pamela.mcdevitt@americanbar.org) is Director of the ABA Law Practice Management in Chicago.

Every September, it’s time to prepare for the new bar year, with new volunteer leaders and board and committee members. We have accomplished a lot this past year, and we have exciting new initiatives planned for the upcoming year, too.

LPM in the Apple Store. The ABA LPM Section and Apple have partnered to make e-books on legal subjects available in the Apple iBookstore. iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, the debut LPM title in the program, is now available for purchase as an e-book that can be accessed on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Denise Constantine, LPM Publishing’s Production Manager, was instrumental in bringing this opportunity to the Section.

Annual Meeting Recap. The ABA Annual Meeting was a big success for the LPM Section. The Section offered a number of interesting and useful programs to attendees. One program in particular, “The Once and Future Law Firm: Fact v. Fiction,” deserves special mention for focusing on one of the most important issues facing the profession. A panel of thought leaders led by Professor Gary Munneke examined the evolving business model for law firms, large and small, including how firms will be organized, operate and deliver services to clients. The program was inspired by a recent report by a task force of the New York State Bar Association on the future of the legal profession, which predicted major changes in the service delivery and business structure of law firms. The program, organized by LPM’s Task Force on the Evolving Business Model for Law Firms, addressed the issues considered in and offered specific predictions about the evolving business model for law firms.

Panelists agreed with the report’s findings that the economic model that dominated law practice for most of the 20th century is disappearing, along with the hourly billing system that sustained it. The panel discussed the various models that are replacing the past economic model, noting that lawyers need to understand this structural and professional evolution—including the education and training of new professionals and the role of technology in the ethical and effective delivery of legal services. While many firms assumed that when the economy rebounded they would return to business as usual, the reality suggests something different—because the traditional pyramid model for law firms, especially large firms, is no longer sustainable. The panelists provided great insights for lawyers in small and large firms alike concerning the challenges they will face in the future. For more information, visit www.lawpractice.org/about_us/evolving_business_model.

SPOTLIGHT: Gary Munneke Awarded Samuel S. Smith Award
Professor Gary A. Munneke of is the 2011 recipient of the Samuel S. Smith Award. The LPM Section presented the award during the LPM Annual Meeting reception at the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company. A former Section Chair, Gary has represented LPM in the ABA House of Delegates and on the Board of Governors. He served many years on the LPM Publishing Board and is the author or chapter author of 14 Section books. He currently serves as Chair of the LPM Task Force on the Evolving Business Model for Law Firms. The Sam Smith Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Section, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of law practice management.

Update On LPM in the Middle East. LPM Section Chair-Elect Joan Bullock continues her inspiring volunteer efforts with ’s Rule of Law Initiative (Middle East – North Africa region). Joan’s recent trip to the United Arab Emirates and Doha, Qatar, made us all proud by bringing LPM’s resources to a region of the world where they are seeking best practices. The e-course she has been working on is now being presented in the Middle East. The course will continue to be worked on and improved over the next year. Her actions and efforts are a perfect example of how our Section can help others, and as the initiative continues I am sure the Section will benefit from the goodwill.

LPM Section Fall Meeting in Cape Cod. The Fall Meeting will bring our Section to Cape Cod, October 12-15. CLE programs at the Fall Meeting include “Google for Lawyers,” “Smartphones for Lawyers: Choosing, Managing and Securing Them,” “Website 201: Ditch the Tired (and Ineffective) Old Website,” “Every Lawyer’s Goal: Avoiding Malpractice” and “60 Law Firm Finance Tips.” Find all the Fall Meeting details at www.lawpractice.org/fall, and if you haven’t registered yet, be sure to do so!

If you have ideas that could help our Section, or you would like to see something we are not doing, please reach out to us. LPM staff contact information can be found at www.lawpractice.org/contact.

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