In a recent Q&A session published in Legal Feeds ( http://bit.ly/1X2YFob ), legal writers Richard and David Suskind speak about coming change or, perhaps more precisely, impending technological disruption in the ways we, as lawyers, work. It’s an interesting read. My daughter will become a lawyer this year – (very proud of her, by the way!) If the Suskinds are anywhere near correct, over the course of her career, she will practice law in ways dramatically different from the way I have.
The Suskind Q&A session largely addresses the concept that attorney work will increasingly be broken down into specific tasks, some of which will continue to be done by attorneys, but others of which will come to be handled by other technology-based providers, or even technology alone. And that will cause turmoil. In a striking comment, Richard Suskind says:
I think if you’re wanting to give your readers the hope of a soft landing, I think that would be to mislead them. . . . The looming nightmare, I suppose, for traditional lawyers is that an Amazon in law comes along and does to law what Amazon did to bookselling. My gut tells me it’s unlikely to unfold in as simple a way as that because the market is far more complex . . . but we should expect that large parts of legal practice will be done very differently, and that these new techniques are unlikely to come from the mainstream traditional providers.
“Amazon in law” – now that’s ominous!
The Suskinds offer up a task-based approach to the work of professionals, including lawyers – the notion that what lawyers do is not a big basket of stuff of professional-level difficulty. Rather, it is composed of a lot of different activities of differing levels of difficulty, and that some of those activities will be handled in the future by people using technology or technology alone. David Suskind states:
One of the unhelpful things we do when we talk about the future of work is, we tend to talk about jobs. So we talk about traditional lawyers, legal secretaries, things of that sort. Why is that unhelpful? Because it encourages us to think of the work that professionals do as monolithic indivisible lumps of stuff, whereas in actual fact when you take any professional’s job and look under the bonnet, they perform lots of different tasks, lots of different activities in their job.
Even for the most prestigious professionals, when you break down their work into their component tasks, it transpires that many of those tasks can be done differently — either by other people using technology or by technology alone. And this task-based approach, trying to recognize that professional work isn’t a lump of stuff of a given difficulty, and instead is composed of lots of different activities and tasks is I think quite an important thing to do.
The Suskinds believe these coming changes to the work of lawyers will be “gradual” but “relentless” and that success in this changing environment will depend on “one’s adaptability”. Daniel Suskind says:
It’s not the case that people are going to wake up tomorrow and find an algorithm sitting there and your job has been replaced by a robot. What we’ll see is tasks here and tasks there — a gradual change driven by technology. A relentless change but a gradual change.
It’s not really about a declining profession. I don’t think. Rather, it’s about inevitable, inescapable change in the profession. The Suskinds simply argue that the work of lawyers, like the work of all other professionals, will be increasingly dissected into more discrete tasks, some of which will come to be handled, at lower cost and, presumably, with greater efficiency by non-lawyers using technology or technology alone. And this dissection is inevitable. Richard Suskind states:
We can have other providers in the game, but being regulated in different ways. But, again, we want a task-based approach to this. Some tasks are so crucial that they require deep expertise and they require maximum client protection. Others are fairly routine and repetitive, and we think that, although they still need to be regulated to some extent, you don’t need the same severity of regime.
First, the coming changes to the way we work as lawyers will be tumultuous and those who don’t adapt will suffer. We have long had the benefits, both professional and financial, of a sealed-off club resistant to change; in particular, resistant to change that affects the bottom line. Competition and technology are prying open the doors to that club, it is inevitable, and we will need to adapt. Those who don’t will lose to those who do. Is that a good thing? I think, on balance, it is!
Second, the ethical challenges arising for this opening up of the work done by lawyers will be significant. If portions of the work traditionally done by lawyers will increasingly be handled by people using technology or technology alone, how we will insure that privileges are protected and standards of practice are met? Look at predictive coding in large case document review, and the associated commentary and court consternation, as reflective of coming ethical and professional challenges as competition and technology pry open the work we do.
Third, does this all mean lawyers will make less money in the future than they have in the past? Perhaps, perhaps not. Clearly, if we continue to do business as we have always done it and a portion of the work we have traditionally done and billed for comes to be done by non-lawyers using technology or technology alone – i.e., by somebody other than us, we will make less money. That is self-evident. But, presumably, those who adapt and embrace these coming changes, embrace technology and provide their clients with better, faster, more-efficient, more cost-effective, more responsive legal services will get more business and make more money.
Fourth, if standards of practice are maintained and the work that should be done by trained, experienced lawyers continues to be done by lawyers so that clients, in turn, continue to be fully represented and fully protected in their legal matters, these coming changes to our profession, the dissecting of the work we do, this task-based approach to the work of lawyers, is nothing but good for the clients! Competition and the inevitable unbundling of the services we provide should make legal services less costly for clients.
It is an interesting time to be a lawyer. The profession is changing – more open, more competitive, faster, more demanding and challenging than ever. If the Suskinds are anywhere near correct in their vision of the future of our business, it’s only going to get more interesting going forward. And, for my part, I think that’s good!
So, my new mantra – change is good, embrace the change!
I like this direct language from the introductory paragraph of a new Ninth Circuit case – Arizona v. Tohonto O’odham Nation, 2016 WL 1211834:
“This appeal requires us to consider whether sophisticated, represented parties really meant what they wrote in a gaming compact that was duly executed after years of tedious negotiations. Like the district court, we hold the parties to their words, and affirm the district court’s orders……”
Illustrates a simple, direct and effective way to argue breach:
Defendants negotiated and signed a contract – they should be held to their words.
Henderson Caverly Pum & Charney LLP Attorneys Tsu, Mardian and Baggett Pass State Bar Specialty Certification Exams.
Henderson Caverly Pum & Charney LLP (HCPC) attorneys Brian Tsu, Robert Mardian and Eric Baggett have just passed the State Bar of California legal specialist exams in two HCPC core practice areas.
Tax and estate planning partner Brian Tsu has passed his California legal specialist exam in California Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Tsu currently holds a legal specialist certification in Taxation Law, which will soon make him a member of the small group of California attorneys holding multiple specialist certifications.
Probate and trust litigation senior counsel Robert Mardian has also passed his California legal specialist certification exam in California Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.
Tax and estate planning associate Eric Baggett passed his California legal specialist certification exam in Taxation Law.
Congratulations to Tsu, Mardian, and Baggett!
Attorneys Tsu, Mardian, and Baggett are not alone at HCPC with respect to legal specialist certification. Other HCPC attorneys hold legal specialist certifications as follows:
Partners Adryenn Cantor and Richard Hyatt – Family Law.
Partners Nancy Henderson, Kristen Caverly, Shirley Kovar and Debra Vella – Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law.
Partner Clancy Wilson – Taxation Law.
The legal specialist certifications held by HCPC attorneys are reflective of the significant experience and expertise of the firm’s attorneys and the sophistication and quality of its legal representation.
P.S. – I think I need to go back to school. I am starting to look like a slacker around this place. Jim.
Henderson Caverly’s Growing Litigation Practice Group – Trust/Probate and Business/Commercial/IP Litigation.
Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Charney, LLP (HCPC) is no longer only an estate planning and trust/probate litigation firm.
HCPC has long been known for its estate planning and trust/probate litigation expertise. Partners Nancy Henderson (planning), Kristen Caverly (litigation), and Shirley Kovar (litigation) are well known and highly sought-after San Diego lawyers in these fields.
But, with the addition of partner James Crosby in late 2014 and partner Doug Lytle in late 2015, the utilization of current HCPC senior counsels and associates, and expected new admittee hirings late this year and in 2017, HCPC’s expertise and capacity in complex and general business, commercial and IP litigation is rapidly expanding. Crosby brought 30+ years of business litigation experience and an active trial practice to the firm. The addition of Doug Lytle, a 20+year litigator with an intellectual property practice emphasis, served to further expand the firm’s business litigation expertise and capacity.
HCPC has long been known for the experience and expertise of its attorneys and the sophistication and quality of its legal representation. Those same firm traits are guiding and informing the rapid expansion of its litigation department from its trust/probate litigation roots into business/commercial/IP litigation and trial representation.
Henderson, Caverly, Pum & Charney, LLP (HCPC) has seven honorees on the 2016 San Diego Super Lawyers list. They are:
Adryenn Cantor, CFS. AAML – Family Law
Kristen Caverly – Estate & Trust Litigation
James Crosby – Business Litigation
Nancy Henderson – Estate Planning
Richard Hyatt, CFS, AAML – Family Law
Shirley Kovar – Estate & Trust Litigation
Clancy Wilson – Tax
Kirsten Caverly was also named one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in San Diego for 2016.
The inclusion of HCPC partners Adryenn Cantor, James Crosby, Richard Hyatt and Clancy Wilson on this year’s Super Lawyers list emphasizes the growth of HCPC beyond its estate planning and trust/probate litigation roots.
HCPC has long been known for its estate planning and trust litigation expertise. Super Lawyers Nancy Henderson (planning), Kristin Caverly (litigation), and Shirley Kovar (litigation) are well known and highly sought-after San Diego lawyers with big case experience.
But, HCPC is no longer just an estate planning and trust litigation firm. The firm has expanded and continues to expand into new and different practice areas.
Family Law – Super Lawyers Adryenn Cantor and Richard Hyatt are the core of a busy and rapidly-expanding family law practice group.
Business and IP Litigation – Super Lawyer Crosby and partner Doug Lytle, both litigators with considerable trial experience, are rapidly growing a business and intellectual property litigation practice group at HCPC.
Tax – Super Lawyer Clancy Wilson is, and has been for many years, one of the most well-known and well-respected tax attorneys in San Diego.
HCPC looks to expand further in 2016, and beyond, through additional lateral moves and new admittee hirings.
I am very pleased to have Doug join us here at HCPC. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and trial chops, to our expanding group of trust/estate and business litigators here at the firm. Doug’s particular experience in intellectual property disputes and “Soft IP” battles, and his trial readiness, will further enhance our business and IP litigation expertise and expand our trial capacity. I hope to work closely with Doug on a variety of matters and on further expanding our litigation practice group.
Doug is the real deal! He has held an AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating for ten years, and has been recognized as a Top Lawyer in Business & Intellectual Property Litigation in San Diego Magazine. For over 20 years, Doug has enforced and defended the rights of businesses and individuals in state and federal courts, including disputes concerning trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, domain names, and other types of intellectual property; disputes involving media and advertising, internet marketing and commerce, privacy rights, defamation, and unfair competition; disputes arising from contracts, fiduciary duties, business relationships and separations, and fraud; and matters concerning real property rights. Doug has authored numerous articles appearing in national and local publications, including ALM’s Law Journal Newsletters – The Intellectual Property Strategist and Product Liability Law & Strategy, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the San Diego Business Journal, and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers Report. He is an active member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the International Trademark Association, the Federal Bar Association and the California State Bar Intellectual Property Section.
On top of all this, Doug is just a great guy. And his wife, Maureen, is wonderful. We welcome them and their beautiful daughters, Grace and Katie, to our HCPC family!
Yesterday, I moderated a San Diego County Bar Association Roundtable Discussion on Generational Divide in the legal community. Interesting discussion with three veteran attorneys (Radmila Fulton, Thomas Warwick and me) and three young attorneys (Jeremy Evans, Hali Anderson and Anton Vialtsin) which will be reported in the Nov/Dec edition of San Diego Lawyer. Work/Life balance was a major topic of discussion, and a clear point of difference – but, not necessarily division – between the veteran and the emerging attorneys.
A newly published study on Integrating Work and Life (http://bit.ly/1LnWVkG) validates much of what was discussed yesterday on this topic. Young professionals, both men and women, are no longer focused only on career trajectory – they want “rich, multidimensional lives”. And companies, including law firms, can no longer afford to ignore or minimize this desire for multidimensional lives or invest in it solely as a “woman’s issue.” Both men and women, including lawyers, will be choosing educational and career paths that enable them to be successful in work and in life.
Law firms would do well to acknowledge and embrace this new reality!
Obergefell v. Hodges – Justice Kennedy, Majority Opinion
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.
In an opinion filled with passages that law students will be reading 50 years from now, this concluding passage of the majority opinion was, for me, the most profound.
A stunning opinion, a long-overdue result, a great day!