ABA Journal

The New Normal

Rumblings on the Charles

By Paul Lippe

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Paul Lippe

Editor’s note: The New Normal is an ongoing discussion between Paul Lippe, the CEO of Legal OnRamp, and Patrick Lamb, founding member of Valorem Law Group. Paul and Pat spend a lot of time thinking, writing and speaking about the changes occurring in the delivery of legal services. We hope you will join their discussions.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the history of Harvard law school is history of the legal profession, and vice versa. Harvard invented the case method, the modern law school (which is much of the template for the modern professional school) and many of the profession’s notions of itself. (Full disclosure: I went to HLS, but am not chairman of the fan club.)

It’s also not an exaggeration to say that for those of us who feel that the profession is in need of renewal, that elite law schools like Harvard have been somewhat AWOL, and are notably less engaged in leading practice than other professional schools like business, medicine and engineering. (But props to Harvard for the Berkman Center, which is quite amazing.)

But perhaps no longer…

On Friday and Saturday Harvard is hosting the second part of a conference that began at New York Law School in the spring.

It is truly the “Mother of All Agendas,” with almost 100 presenters (PDF).

In this space generally I aspire to share with you some of the innovative, “New Normal” things going on in the profession and at conferences and show how they make for a connected and coherent whole, but I will confess being overwhelmed by this one, so I’ll do my best, with as much twitter-ing as I can muster, or linking to other Twitter-streams. (As an aside, while Twitter has its pros and cons, it’s a great way to follow what’s going on at conferences).

It may be that Harvard, like any institution grown too comfortable with itself, has lost some of its mojo to invent the future, but may retain the ability to convene or anoint the future, and the mere fact of an event like this is a likely milestone.

Stay tuned….

Paul Lippe is the founder and CEO of the Legal OnRamp, a Silicon Valley-based initiative founded in cooperation with Cisco Systems to improve legal quality and efficiency through collaboration, automation and process re-engineering. Lippe formerly was an executive at the electronic design automation company Synopsys and later was CEO of Stanford SKOLAR, a medical digital library and e-learning company sponsored by Stanford Medical School.

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