The Brief No. 38: Nascent Tech Talent

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May 8, 2019

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8 years ago this week, Hire an Esquire was born. Since then, we’ve remained passionate and hard at work to improve the legal staffing experience and help pave the way for a technology and data-driven future within the legal industry. On this week’s blog, we’re taking a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and how far we’ve come, including the countless invaluable connections we’ve made along the way. Join us in celebrating 8 incredible years, and we look forward to working with you to make the next 8 even better!

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Don’t Sweat the Tech-nique: A recent survey concluded that law firms embracing technology are experiencing an advantage in revenue growth, with 68% of technology leaders increasing annual profitability versus just 52% of “transitioning” firms. This gap could continue to expand as efficiency drives investments, which further enables tech development, so on and so forth. Yet, the way firms integrate tech can vary. In the U.S., for example, many law firms have opted to establish in-house entities, enabling them to mold services to suit their needs. Across the pond, however, independent incubators work towards new innovations while receiving support from companies who lend valuable resources and feedback. Still, despite differing methods, the importance of technology in legal services is being recognized industry wide, inciting law schools to take measures that better prepare students for a technology-driven future.

It Starts at the Top: International law firm Perkins Coie added to its management roster this week, introducing Jennifer Bluestein as their new chief talent officer. The move contributes to a growing number of firms that are recognizing the importance of onboarding top talent. The role of a talent executive is becoming more and more vital, especially in technology-facing fields, as specialized industries experience shortages of skilled professionals, making every new hire essential. The best talent officers can vastly improve recruiting efficiency and save companies vital resources.

Make Like a Tree: Having a child can be exhilarating, stressful, inspiring, terrifying, fulfilling, exhausting, and usually, everything at once. So for new parents, worrying about work becomes excessively burdensome. Still, the average parental leave provided in the United States is just 10 weeks, falling far behind international standards. Fortunately, American companies are showing signs of catching up. Tech company HPE has recently extended its parental leave to 6 months, which should set a new standard. Some experts are also hoping to combat the stigma against paternal leave, suggesting the country’s unbalanced view of childcare may contribute to the gender wage gap.

Pushing and Falling: Pharmaceutical companies might finally bear some of the weight for America’s opioid epidemic, much to the public’s satisfaction. Insys founder and executive John Kapoor was found guilty of a bribery scheme in which the company incentivized doctors to prescribe their painkiller, Subsys. The verdict is the first of its kind against such a pharmaceutical leader, and could set a cautionary precedent for other companies facing similar accusations. Drug distributor McKesson, meanwhile settled for a relative slap on the wrist ($37 million for a company that reported $208 billion in revenue over the last year) for negligence concerning massive orders of opioids shipped to West Virginia residents.

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The legal industry has struggled with diversity and discrimination for many years, grappling with its traditional status as homogenous and exclusionary. In this telling interview, ABA president Paulette Brown — the first woman of color to occupy this position — provides enlightening examples of lingering bias, as well as vital steps for the legal industry to move forward.

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