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Four predictions for law department management – by Rees spelled backwards

NostradamRees peers into the crystal ball. Swami sees four developments that will come true within five years.

(1) Current practices regarding conflicts of interest will give way to the realities of a much more complicated world and much larger law firms (See my post Aug. 23, 2005 on the effects of law firms growing larger; and July 16, 2007 on conflicts of interest and references cited.).

(2) Law firms will find new ways to demonstrate their thought leadership. They will do so through the evolving platform of web 2.0 tools, such as social networks, blogs, and collective intelligence platforms like wikis (See my posts of Dec. 9, 2005 about Cornell’s legal wiki; Feb. 12, 2006 that predicts wikis between law departments; March 17, 2006 on wikis; May 17, 2006 on; March 9, 2007 about Legal OnRamp; and March 20, 2007 #1 about Lucent’s law-department wiki.),

(3) Law firm economics will be much more transparent to clients. In part, law departments will share more data among themselves as to costs. Further, law firms will provide real-time time recording information that electronic billing systems will be able to analyze instantaneously (See my post of May 19, 2006 on instantaneous billing information from law firms.). Publicly-traded law firms will disclose more information (See my post of April 8, 2007 on an Australian law firm going public.)

(4) Increasing amounts of law-related services will be provided in low-cost jurisdictions. Offshoring as this is generally known, will cause productivity changes, staffing changes, and will significantly test the managerial capabilities of both law firms and law departments (See my post of June 11, 2007 on offshoring and many references cited.).