Welcome to the Inaugural Big Ideas Issue of Law Practice!

Volume 39 Number 4


About the Author

Sheila M. Blackford is an attorney and practice management advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund. She is also a member of the adjunct faculty at University of Oregon School of Law.   

Law Practice Magazine | July/August 2013 | The Big Ideas IssueWhat are the big ideas that impact the where, how and why you practice law? I know reading the articles in this great issue has changed some of my own ideas, which is always refreshing! Please join me in thanking our issue team, led by John Simek and Jim Calloway, along with editorial board members Linda Klein, Erik Mazzone and Mary Vandenack, who were joined by guest experts Chad Burton, Sharon Nelson and Michael Ostermeyer.

Big ideas begin here. There is no better place to start thinking about big ideas than with the thoughtful guidance of Richard Susskind. When Sharon Nelson said Richard Susskind had agreed to write our lead article, “Tomorrow’s Lawyers,” you can imagine the enthusiastic cheers that were released and have not abated. In his article, we are shown what the future might be, as a result of the three drivers of change that he identifies and that, combined, may transform our legal landscape. What lies ahead for young lawyers and for those who are seasoned law professionals is nothing short of a re-visioning of the profession. In the sidebar to this article, I have shared several highlights from his book, Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, which I read with great eagerness!

Forward thinking. In “Brainstorming Your Future: A Forward-Thinking Lawyers’ Roundtable,” Jim Calloway and John Simek reach out to a veritable Who’s Who in the legal field for some crystal ball-gazing predictions.

Cybersecurity. We need to become better informed about cyberattacks in order to take action now. Start with our feature “Cybersecurity & Law Firms: A Business Risk,” by Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC, who heads up the infrastructure working group of the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force. Next, find out what the ABA is doing about this important topic by reading the report from the ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force by Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises Inc.

Big data. Big data is another big idea that pushes terabytes into petabytes and drives many of us running from imponderably huge numbers. This month, Sharon Nelson and John Simek have expanded our Hot Buttons column into a feature entitled “Big Data: Big Pain or Big Gain for Lawyers?”                                

Adaptation. You’ll find our Web 2.0 column is also expanded into a full-length feature as columnist Erik Mazzone is joined by Jordan Furlong and Bruce MacEwen to discuss “The Innovation Imperative: Adapt or Die?” The Great Reset of 2008 has brought changes to the profession of law and to the market power of clients. Are you ready?

Strategy. Why is strategy so hard for BigLaw? Can it be found in an unrelenting focus on results? Find out in “A Big Idea for BigLaw? Just One Word: Strategy,” by Michael Ostermeyer, chief value partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, whose experience in leading firm-wide initiatives gives him the mile-high altitude from which he reviews this topic for us.

Mobile marketing. We have become wedded to the mobile mindset, but has our marketing kept up? How do you appear in the tiny world of a smartphone screen? Robert Ambrogi shares his expert views in “As the World Goes Mobile, Is Your Marketing Up to Speed?”

Virtual law. What does the future look like for the virtual practice of law? Will it be a multilawyer, multijurisdictional law firm without bricks and mortar? Is it a model that will enable providing clients with more services at a lower cost? Find out from Chad Burton in “Virtual Law Firms: The Next Iteration.”

Venture capital. Lawyers will want to pay close attention to the trend of venture capitalists investing significant sums in a number of innovations that have changed our legal market. Mary Vandenack reviews what has been transpiring for us in “Venture Capital Investments in Legal Services.”

This is my last issue as the editor-in-chief of Law Practice. I leave LP in John Bowers’ capable hands. Thank you for the honor of serving you. Happy reading!



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