Tired of Timesheets at Big Law? Well You May Be A Legal Zuckerberg


zuckerbergHas the law profession morphed into an “industry” capable of producing billionaires.

And – if so – are you capable of being the ‘legal Zuckerberg’?

An article in AboveTheLaw from Thomson Reuters’ Joe Borstein makes the bold claim that by 2027 there will be many billionaires from the “legal industry”, but few will be practising attorneys. They will instead be alt.legal entrepreneurs supplying solutions to the business of law and its users (never forget the clients).

There are, Borstein claims, few chasing the huge opportunity in what he says is a big pond with many fish.

My first point is simple: there is a massive opportunity to innovate in legal. There are over seven billion people on the planet today. Is there a single person who wouldn’t gain from a better, faster, cheaper legal system?

I don’t have to tell you that technology and globalization have led to incredible quality of life improvements in other industries. The cost of food, for example, has declined as a percentage of income from 17.5% in 1960, to <10%, today, due to new technologies. Similarly, innovation in the computer sector continues to decimate the costs of consumer electronics, providing us with demonstrably better products at lower costs every year.

One of the obstacles to this innovation and change, he says, is the labor-intensive nature of the law which many think is too stubborn and difficult to substitute with technology.

But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding and at LawFuel we have previously written about the development of robots, law technology developments and other moves designed to make the practice of law easier and faster as a result of technology trends.

We even wrote more recently about the lawyers’ keyboard development, showing the innovation that can come from a working lawyer seeking to make a simple improvement to the way lawyers work.

Borstein refers to legal outsourcing, for instance, as one example of what can be readily done by technology and which has cut litigation and contract management by as much as 90 per cent, as well as increasing specialized expertise.

The growth of the alt.legal community

The current alt.legal community is tiny and he “begs” participants at the Stanford Codex conference 

This parasitic false belief is buried deep in the psyche of nearly every T14 law student with whom I interact. Have you seen this yourself? Did you know any brilliant, confident undergraduates (with degrees in economics, premed, mathematics or English), who went on to get their JDs, and now no longer believe they can lead successful entrepreneurial careers outside of the traditional practice of law? Careers, which no one would have doubted they could lead BEFORE getting JDs?

He doesn’t want to dissuade lawyers from practising in Big Law, but encourages the development of the alt.legal community as a career option.

So if you want to Zuckerberg-the-law, consider it.

As he writes:

But, if you are crushing Biglaw and DON’T love it, then consider the wise words of Kumar (from Harold and Kumar): “Just cause you’re hung like a moose doesn’t mean you gotta do porn.” I can promise you this: the same skills that make you shine at Biglaw (hard work, great writing, persuasion, and organization), will make you shine as an alt.legal business leader and innovator.

So – what are you waiting for?  Tired to time sheets designed to make millions.  Join the alt.legal business and it may be billions.


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