Podcast: Is Law Really A Buyer’s Market? And If So, Now What?

Our podcast Is Law Really A Buyer’s Market? And If So, Now What? is quite exceptional if I do say so myself. Of course exceptional is much easier to accomplish when your podcast guest is an esteemed expert like Jordan Furlong discussing an important topic that is near and near to his heart. Law is a buyers market

And it certainly adds to his enthusiasm when he has just released a new book about the legal marketplace.

For those of you who prefer to read rather than listen, the fine folks at Legal Talk Network have provided a transcript of this podcast.

The legal marketplace is certainly changing and the term “buyer’s market” is very accurate. As Jordan says, “the short answer is that it means that the balance of power between lawyers and clients in the legal market has shifted and it has shifted in favor of clients, and it couldn’t shift any further towards lawyers … because we have always been the ones who are in control of the market.”

This impacts lawyers who serve all types of clients. Corporate America is more careful with its legal spend and consumers can explore other alternatives as well. Furlong discusses how many law firms should examine their basic business model and structure to prepare for the changes ahead.

“There are these new ways of delivering legal services,” he notes. “You can adopt these legal services in some way, I mean, to your own practice, you can augment them to some degree, add your own particular unique bells and whistles, or you can say, you know what? I can’t compete in this practice area anymore and I need to go do something else. Higher value, something the machines can’t imitate.” Some lawyers may decide to reshape their practices, and use a standardized process-driven approach to delivering some types of the legal services they have always delivered more cheaply and efficiently.

A law firm needs to have a strategy in three dimensions, Furlong says. These dimensions are the user experience, a competitive strategy for differentiation and improving law firm culture. To learn more, you will need to listen to the podcast — and perhaps buy the book.

Podcast: Is Law Really A Buyer’s Market? And If So, Now What?

Manage Cyber-Attacks: Is It Really Not If You Will Be Attacked, But When?

Manage Cyber-Attacks: Is It Really Not If You Will Be Attacked, But When? is my new column in the Oklahoma Bar Journal.

This is a sobering subject, but it is critical for all law firms to appreciate this idea in their risk management practices. It is a bit hard to accept that it may be impossible to have such bulletproof cyber security that you can be absolutely confident you will never be breached. After all, I’m fairly certain our country’s intelligence services had some Skull and crossbones high level experts working on their security and they have suffered spectacular breaches. In hindsight, this article’s title perhaps should have been “Manage Cyber-Attacks: Is It Really Not If You Will Be Compromised, But When?”

We have fallible, and sometimes corruptible, human beings working with our technology systems. Computer code is vastly more complex. There are more openings. Think of the difference between fighting crime in a small town with one stop light and a large urban metropolis with high rise buildings, subway systems, subterranean sewers and other complex infrastructure. Coders are going to write new code. Some of it will have unintended consequences and open up new security risks. And that new employee may not appreciate all of the dangers lurking in her inbox.

So does that mean give up? Game over?

Of course not, we cannot give up on security measures. We need to have good cyber-security infrastructure, practices and training. But there will be dangers appearing online that haven’t been invented yet.

Today, a large part of good security practices includes creating Incident Response Plans and other recovery techniques. If you do not have an IRP, it is time to create one. This is unpleasant to consider and easy to procrastinate for the same reason so many people put off creating an estate plan. But this is just as important.

In the column, I take the reader through a couple of scenarios to give some examples of planning. Firms can get help with IRP’s from professionals, but each plan should be unique because the assets you have to respond are unique. I tried not to make this too threatening, but I have been on the phone with lawyers who had no plan and now have a network frozen by some malware. Planning is better!

Manage Cyber-Attacks: Is It Really Not If You Will Be Attacked, But When?

Protecting clients from scams in the name of the law firm

I wouldn’t usually post a local news item on my blog, but this video is worth watching. An individual showed up to close on the house he was buying only to learn that he had wired $54,000 out to an email scammer posing as his real estate agent. Did the scammer somehow learn of the real estate contract and use the name of the agency? Some say the real estate agency has responsibility for not warning the person to look out for scammers. Real estate agencies are now, as a best practice, warning new customers that they will never be asked to wire money by the agency. The final observations on the video from a cybersecurity expert may not correctly state the law of liability, but they are food for thought for real estate agencies and law firms alike. It is important to protect confidential client information and email is increasingly problematic.

I think law firms who will never ask for electronic fund transfer should mention to new clients that they will not and law firms using electronic billing should communicate to new clients what the firm’s ebill will look like and to be alert for fake emails or fake ebills.

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Protecting clients from scams in the name of the law firm