Sep 29, 2021 • 9M

🗞️ The Big Law problem with the future of work

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Raad Ahmed
Welcome to Not Billable. Weekly legal news updates. Full event replays. And, a chance to hear from industry leaders about what’s been going on behind the scenes. Powered by Lawtrades, and hosted by their Head of Community, Matt Margolis.
Episode details

This week: Law firms aren’t out front on the future of work and a new survey shows a mix of satisfaction and regret among lawyers. Plus, an Australian court decision could lead to some major Facebook changes.

⚖️ People want work-life balance; traditional law firms are struggling to adjust 

The pandemic has made obvious the need for more flexible work situations, not only in terms of location but in ways that improve mental health. 

Traditional law firms don’t appear ready to make the jump, according to 

  • Lawyers were already struggling before COVID: Burnout, unpredictable schedules and pay discrepancies were major problems, especially for women lawyers. The pandemic made them much more obvious. 

  • But law firms largely don’t have coherent strategies going forward: Legal scholar and analyst Randy Kiser told there has been a “chronic underestimation” of the issues. “I think firms might actually not know what it is they should be doing, and at this point, it’s more of a mystery to them than a business strategy.” 

The office is still at the forefront of plans for big firms

Many of them have delayed returns but haven’t necessarily thought about the future of the office in the long term. One official for a top firm told, “Are there benefits to having time with your children and being able to manage your life? Yeah, I see those benefits. But I also think there’s real value to the in-person interaction that we’re losing, and the glue and the culture.”

The Verdict

The legal companies that offer flexibility and understand mental health concerns will be the most successful.  

The Australian law leading people to drop Facebook 

If America drops Section 230 or makes too many changes, the country’s future may look like Australia’s present.

  • Here in America, Section 230 largely protects companies from posts made by others: But a recent court ruling in Australia leaves that country with no such defense, according to the NYT. After a controversial public figure saw mean user comments about him -- some of which were false -- on media outlets’ Facebook pages, he sued the media companies rather than the users. The court agreed the media companies could be held liable.  

  • Now it’s open season on media companies and others: Because of the ruling, people can likely sue not only media companies but anyone who hosts social media pages. An admin of a popular Facebook group could be liable for posts made by users in the group. 

Facebook is already changing in Australia

News outlets say they have already switched their online strategies and will refuse to cover certain politicians or controversial topics on Facebook to avoid legal issues.

The Verdict

The ruling makes Australia an outlier when it comes to social media laws, but plenty of countries considering reforms will likely watch closely.

💰 Fewer than half of attorneys say legal education was worth the cost…but 

Most are still happy they’re lawyers! Here’s a rundown of findings from an interesting new study presented in ABA Journal. 

  • Only a small number of recent law school graduates didn’t have any debt. And none of them were Black attorneys. Of attorneys with $200,000 or more of debt, 18% were Black, 14% were white and 7% were Latino. 

  • Just 47% of respondents said law school was worth the cost

  • 61% of respondents, however, said they would do it all over again if they had the chance.

💌 What else we’re forwarding

How do you keep your scientists from knowing about your product?: Well, according to trial testimony, Elizabeth Holmes kept science away from Theranos’ scientists by keeping them off email chains. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, with a few more to go. 

Google appeals a major EU antitrust decision: Google owes the EU $5 billion, but the internet giant is now saying Android actually improves competition and has appealed the fine.

💬 What we’re discussing

​The last 18 months have changed the way that we do business, and more people are appreciating the value of remote working. We've seen an exodus of talent leave their fixed positions and go out on their own.

​Meet Jordan! He runs his own virtual practice on Lawtrades as Transactional, Product, and Corporate Counsel to several notable high-growth companies.

​Whether you are a legal professional wanting to go out on your own, or you want to scale your already existing business, join us! He'll show you how to build your legal brand & pave your way to success as a freelance legal professional.

​​It's an open discussion and attendees are more than welcome to participate in the conversation via Zoom. RSVP here to join the discussion tomorrow at 12pm PT / 3pm EST.

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today we’re listening to Chip Wickham, a jazz saxophonist and flautist hailing from Brighton, UK. He was heavily influenced as a child by his father’s jazz collection and proceeded to learn the flute and saxophone as a teenager. Blue to Red is his third album and it successfully combines spiritual jazz and old-school jazz across 6 compositions. Enjoy!

Blue to Red - Chip Wickham (50m, no vocals)
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music

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✌🏽 Raad