Caveat to "The Future of Law is Process"

I am posting here a new discussion occurring on LegalOnRamp (LOR). Ron Friedman at posted his recent blog “The Future of Law is Process” on the LOR discussion forum. I posted the below comment.

See Ron’s original blog here where he discusses how “process” is key to the continuing change occurring in the legal profession. I do not disagree but added the caveat below.

I agree with Ron that the future is process. But let us not reinvent the wheel in legal – there are countless methods, processes and measurements already developed and proven in other industries. We should look to borrow and repurpose what is out there before we create and birth our own. Actually I just finished watching Paul Lippe talk at the Supernova conference last week in San Francisco (via Ustream recorded video) and he recalled the difference between creating new knowledge and uncovering knowledge that already exists. Because someone did not know something existed prior they may perceive it as new when they think of it or create it - but in fact it did exist prior. The best analogy is Columbus “discovering” America. The continent had existed prior and so had the inhabitants but since the “western world” had not sailed beyond the edge of the Earth and seen the “new” land previously everyone perceived this “discovery” as new. Yet the inhabitants (human and animal) had been there for millions of years.

LPOs are not bringing anything “earth shattering” to the legal profession. Rather what they are doing is bringing a concept of process-focus and orientation to the performance of legal tasks. These concepts have been around for years in other industries – just now are they cracking into the legal profession. To many folks outside of the law, LPOs may not seem to be unique or special in anyway. In fact when talking to CIOs – a group who has been immersed in outsourcing for decades – LPOs represent nothing new or novel other than the fact that they are doing work typically done by legal professionals in their own companies or its firms - but the model, work methods, technology and organizational characteristics are familiar.

LPOs are helping the legal profession sail over the edge of the Earth to discover “new” ways of doing things. Let us all hope for more fair winds for a long time.
Joshua KubickiComment