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Law firm leaders and planners -- indeed, all lawyers -- are right to be concerned about the future of the legal profession. We can expect significant changes, powered by increasingly sophisticated client expectations and the more powerful service delivery capabilities of advanced technology, to redefine what a "law firm" will look like and how it will operate in the 2020s...

...which are only three years away.

By Dusan Bicanski [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Two of the biggest challenges for the Walker Clark "futures practice" are to break down the paradigms that prevent our clients from seeing the future -- and sometimes even today -- clearly, and to stimulate genuinely innovative responses to its implications for their practice of law.

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Someday will most of the "lawyers" in law firms be robots?

This question is not as theoretical, nor as far in the future, as most lawyers think.

I think that the answer is "yes."

And "someday" is a lot sooner than most of us realize.

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AILFN (Association of International Law Firm Networks) announced today Requests for Qualifications (RFQ) will launch on October 30, 2017. RFQ is an application that captures professional and personal relationships formed over three decades among  members of the 50 leading law firm networks at an estimated cost $1.5 billion dollars.  Network members range from small firms to firms with more than 1,000 attorneys. Collectively the 3,500 members of the networks already provide clients 17.1% of the world’s legal services.

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What would you do if you suspected that one of your colleagues was chronically depressed or was abusing alcohol or drugs?

Unfortunately, most small and midsize law firms can't answer this question.

Some don't even want to think about it.

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On 1 September 2002, Walker Clark LLC opened for business in Miami. 

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Many small and midsize law firms find themselves in some difficult -- and for most of them, unprecedented -- strategic predicaments. 

They also are confronted with a wide range of possibilities such as, mergers, Vereins, general and specialized networks, "best friends" relationships.

How can each firm make the decision that is best for them?

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The unpleasant truth is that the United States is rapidly falling behind most of the other developed countries in attacking the systemic social, legal, and economic causes of poverty.

On 9 October 2017, the International Bar Association will begin its working sessions with an in-depth examination of Poverty in the First World and the essential role of the legal profession in the final eradication of systemic poverty.

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Law firm leaders tell us “we now have to accept change as the status quo. And this means making judgment calls when there is insufficient time to find perfect solutions – or even to get all of the partners to agree.” 

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In her recent article (New York Times, 27 July 2017), Niraj Chokshi writes  “It’s a question central to daily life: Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money?”