Clients care about diversity. In particular women’s initiatives are a high priority to many corporate clients today. When clients make diversity a priority when picking law firms, female team members or even women-led teams should soon be commonplace in our industry. In many countries around the world, more than half of law students now are female. Many associates are women. Nevertheless, as an industry, we still have a lot of work to do.
A number of studies discovered that female lawyers make significantly less than her male colleagues. What’s curious, many law firm leaders told me that they make no difference in pay based on gender. Male and female lawyers on lockstep are said to make the same amount of money, and the eat-what-you-kill approach is said to be gender-blind.
So – what causes her to earn less money?
Is it her -bad- career choices?
The matters she works on?
Is she not striving hard enough?
Or not “leaning in” enough?
Do female lawyers work less than male lawyers?
Are they perhaps less successful than male lawyers?
Are they less productive than male lawyers?
Watch the video from the International Bar Association 2015 conference: Removing the Glass Ceiling from Above
Kia’s general counsel, D. Casey Flaherty wants efficiently delivered legal services. And he means it. 5+ hours or 30 minutes? At an assumed hourly rate of $600, the difference is $3,000+ vs. $300. Multiply that by x tasks that lawyers perform, the difference is staggering. While many law firms today state that they are, indeed, very efficient, Flaherty puts them to the test: He developed the Legal Tech Audit (“LTA”) that he just launched with Suffolk Law School’s Institute on Law Practice Technology & Innovation.
The LTA assesses how well lawyers and staff members use technology to complete commonly encountered legal tasks. How well do they know their word processing program and their spreadsheets? Do they use them in the most efficient manner? Are they over 5+ hour-types or closer to Flaherty’s own score of 30 minutes? The LTA will tell you. It currently requires test takers to perform a series of assignments that constitute a single, continuous workflow.
So, are you ready to accept the challenge? You will first finalize a redlined investors’ rights agreement using word processing. Then you will be given data on dividend payments to investors to investigate whether payments were made equally to all investors to test your way around spreadsheets. Finally, you will prepare an e-filing attaching the agreement and spreadsheet (PDF). Watch Flaherty’s short video.
… So what is your score?
(I still have to take mine…!)
Just released — Heidi Gardner and I just published our Harvard Business School case on GlaxoSmithKline. The pharmaceutical giant uses an innovative new approach to procuring outside legal counsel: it replaces relationship-based selection and law firms’ traditional time-based billing with data-driven decision making and an online reverse auction.
In our case study, GSK is hit with a potentially devastating suit and must hire a firm in time to respond. The recently hired managing attorney, Sophia Keating, grapples with GSK’s approach. The GSK veterans assure her that the approach drives down costs and improves the quality of work by systematically increasing the rigor in the procurement process. Still skeptical, Sophia runs the process of systematically analyzing and comparing the competing firms’ bids.
Our case also describes the process by which these tools were created and adopted. Download the case and watch our interview on Bloomberg Law TV.