The Brief 09.12.18: the ABA report, productivity, profits, and legal content jobs this week

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Content is something we like to create, and if you do too, you might want to check out two unique job opportunities we have on the job board this week: one for Legal Writers (Remote) and another for a Legal Content Developer (near Atlanta, GA).

If you work in a non-traditional role in a firm, legal department, or elsewhere, let’s talk! We’re always interested to hear about how lawyers are applying their skill sets in new ways, and how we can help other lawyers and legal professionals do the same.

What we’re reading:

And water is wet: the American Bar Association and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association released the results of a survey that found women and people of color in the legal profession continue to face hurdles in promotions, assignments, and compensation. And of the 2,800 lawyers surveyed, 25% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Perhaps the only silver lining in the report is some 30 pages dedicated to the tools that in-house departments and law firms can use to “interrupt bias” to make systemic changes, instead of just focusing on individual cases.

See you in… cyberspace: Utah state courts rolled out a pilot of their new Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) program to resolve small claims cases in West Valley City, becoming only the second court in the country to do so. The new ODR program can be accessed from both computers and cell phones and gives the parties the ability to chat, upload documents, and prepare settlement agreements. The courts argue that ODR gives plaintiffs more access to and engagement with the courts by making them more successful. Lawyers are interested to see how ODR spreads to other areas of legal practice.  

Guess who’s back: White & Case joined five other law firms in London (including Reed Smith) to announce their participation in Reignite Academy this fall, a 6-month retraining and work experience program which provides opportunities for experienced lawyers to return to the profession after a career hiatus. Programs are popping up in the U.S., too, as well as non-specific reentry programs like iRelaunch, which helps mid- to high-level professional women “relaunch” their careers after a break.

Up and at ‘em: Wells Fargo released its report on a survey of 125 law firms, which showed profits up 6% and productivity up 1.2%. Productivity, especially, has been on the decline since the recession, and that finding means lawyers are working more now than they have over the past decade. This is in line with a survey that American Lawyer conducted in August, and optimism is up: Wells Fargo’s law firm team forecasted “it’s going to be the best year in close to a decade for the legal industry.”

Had to C this coming: Blank Rome, the Am Law 100 firm out of Philadelphia, has hired Linda Novosel in a C-Suite role as its first Chief Innovation and Value Officer. In her new position, Novosel will handle pricing, project management, and developing ways for practice groups to practice law more efficiently. She was careful to note that innovation is not just about technology—but about getting the delivery of legal services aligned with the value of the

What' we’re listening to:

The key to better family relationships. Lawyers and legal professionals are notorious for having a poor work-life balance. On the Lawyerist this week, Jim Shelis offers some great advice and conversation-starters for reconnecting with the people you love, even if you don’t have kids. As Jim rightly points out, “quality time is the one thing you can’t delegate.”

On the job board:

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