The Brief 09.19.18: law firms and LPOs are twinning, blockchain for lawyers, typo tyranny hits U.S. immigration

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What we’re reading:

Money talks: Legal tech startup Atrium announced last week that it received $65 million in funding in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz. Atrium acted as a law firm+ for 250 startup clients in the past year, helping them raise over $500 million combined, by providing a range of legal, business, and technical expertise. The company seeks to capitalize both on talent looking to exit the Biglaw lifestyle as well as opportunities to use technology to automate menial work that racks up billable time. The interwebs are wondering how investments like this jive with the prohibition of outside ownership of a law firm.

Tacking on tech: London-based law firm Clifford Chance recently announced a new Applied Solutions unit, which provides technology products to in-house counsel for document automation as well as regulatory and compliances issues. Is this a sign of law firms who offer, invest in, or build their own tech products to offer more comprehensive solutions for their clients?

But wait, there’s more: Much like Clifford Chance, Colorado law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie has partnered with cybersecurity consulting firm eosedge Legal to help its clients build protections against cyber threats and assist with day-to-day business operations, like employee policies, IP asset protections, and digital communications strategies. The services now offered by the firm will differ from others due to its proactive focus, says Ken Van Winkle, managing partner of Lewis Roca Rothgerber.

Give me your tired, your poor… but not your typos: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service implemented a new policy on September 11th, giving immigration officials broader discretion to deny green card and citizenship applications for missing documents and even clerical errors. The policy gives officials discretion to deny applicants - most for whom English is not their first language - the ability to make corrections to their applications or provide missing documentation, like marriage records. The government also added new language stating that if the application is denied, “the alien is not lawfully present in the United States,” which can trigger deportation hearings. Additionally, many more who have lived in the United States for decades could lose their Temporary Protected Status next year and face deportation.

What we’re listening to:

Blockchain 101 for Lawyers. There’s a lot of talk about blockchain, but most people don’t understand what it is, or what it has to do with the legal industry. This introduction from Nathana Sharma on the Lawyerist podcast this week can help you wrap your head around what it is, what it does, and why it’s so interesting for the future of legal work. (Pro tip: skip to 9:50 to get to the beginning of the discussion.)

On the job board:


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Natalie Kovacic