chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
June 28, 2023

Editor's Note: Experiencing Inevitable Change

Courtney E. Ward-Reichard
Experiencing Inevitable Change

Experiencing Inevitable Change

Grigorev_Vladimir via iStock

Change is a part of life, and we have all experienced tremendous change in the world and the legal profession in recent times. This is our annual Big Ideas issue—and it marks the end of an era. This is the last issue of Law Practice that will be printed in a traditional magazine format. Beginning with our September/ October issue, Law Practice will become fully digital. 

This decision was made by the leadership of the Law Practice Division after significant deliberation and consideration. Law Practice has been published as a print magazine for almost 50 years, beginning in 1974 as Legal Economics under the leadership of Editor Emeritus Robert P. Wilkins. With so many content providers transitioning to digital, there was value in holding a magazine and flipping through the pages. I will miss that and know many of you will as well.

However, going fully digital has several advantages. Of course, it saves financial resources, which is important for the fiscal health of the Division. But a fully digital format also allows us to reach many more potential readers. Plus, producing a digital-only publication will allow us to significantly shorten our lead time for creating the magazine’s content. Currently, our articles are written five to six months in advance to allow lead time for production and printing. A digital magazine will allow us to respond more quickly to changing trends and be more up to date in our content.

One thing that will not change is the high quality of the writing and topics covered in our magazine. Law Practice is unique in its perspective and depth, and that will not change: The magazine will remain a distinct publication, bringing our readers the highest quality content in law firm management, leadership, finance, marketing, technology…and Big Ideas.

Our feature authors in this issue give their insights into the next Big Idea—and how these ideas can transform your practice. Melissa Heidrick’s feature focuses on Web3—a shift toward a more decentralized and user-centric internet, with use of virtual and mixed reality and artificial intelligence. Legal practitioners need to be aware of what’s coming to protect their clients and fuel their own practices.

Sameena Safdar addresses an issue faced by most law firm leaders: retaining associates. In “Amplifying Your Associates,” she presents ideas such as promoting associates for writing and speaking opportunities, urging associates to become external and internal thought leaders, actively promoting associates to clients and amplifying associates on social media, among many other ideas.

The legal workplace was already evolving pre-pandemic, but now there has been a seismic shift to at least part-time remote work. This subject is particularly close to my heart—I worked remotely for my law firm from 2011 to 2022 when my family lived in Madison, Wisconsin, a four-hour drive from my law firm in Minneapolis. Barbara Dunn’s feature takes on this phenomenon and discusses ideas for rethinking the office in this new normal.

Gabe Teninbaum takes on the productization of legal services in his feature “Falconry for Lawyers.” An apt title, and metaphor—teach someone to fish, and they eat every day, but teach someone falconry, and they can feed the whole village with plenty of leisure time left over. Turning legal services into products can have that same effect as long as you choose the right ones: where there is repeated need and predictable patterns.

Jim Calloway takes on a particular type of law practice: a “people law practice,” where attorneys represent mostly individuals as clients. A firm with this type of practice can use new technologies to effectively keep clients informed with clear, understandable communications; market its services; and utilize creative fee arrangements.

Mary E. Vandenack continues this focus on clients with her feature “Elevate the Client Experience.” Every interaction, beginning with the first contact, provides an opportunity to enhance a client’s journey and be proactive. Technology can improve delivery of traditional client service concepts like effective communication, protection of confidentiality, and honest and transparent interactions.

Change is inevitable, and I believe most regular readers of our magazine are better than most at welcoming change and looking for opportunities that are created by shifts in legal practice—and in life. I hope you will join me in embracing the new, including our all-digital edition appearing in September!

Courtney E. Ward-Reichard

Attorney, Nilan Johnson Lewis

Courtney E. Ward-Reichard is an attorney with Nilan Johnson Lewis in Minneapolis, where she defends corporate clients in products liability and employment litigation. She is an active member of the ABA Law Practice Division, currently serving as editor-in-chief of Law Practice and Chair of the Women Rainmakers Committee. [email protected]

The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.