Year in Review

Start 2024 off right with these 12 Mind Your Business columns

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The ABA Journal hosts the Mind Your Business column to facilitate lawyers talking to other lawyers about the business side of law. We had 12 contributions in 2023, and we've put together this roundup as a perfect way to help readers get in a growth mindset for 2024. Please enjoy, and scroll to the bottom to see how you could share your own wisdom next year.

1. Anti-discrimination laws are faltering in the face of artificial intelligence; here’s what to do about it

“On the basis of.” These four words from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 underlie the modern conception of illegal bias. From federal anti-discrimination statutes to state and local laws, this phrase nearly unites them all.

2. Technology streamlines in-house work, but have a plan before making purchases

The pandemic pressured corporate legal departments to control costs and collaborate online to an unprecedented degree as demand for legal services surged. But missteps await legal departments that rush into implementing technology without first taking a thorough look at the bigger picture.

3. Humanizing the Process: A new approach to interviewing for law firms

For the past 20 years in the legal recruiting business, my firm, the Advocates, has focused on helping our clients land key lateral attorneys and improve retention through several unique processes designed to match candidates’ personalities to the right law firm and corporate cultures for them.

4. Preventive Law: Helping your clients before push comes to shove

Rare is the client who looks to litigators, alternative dispute resolution specialists or even corporate counsel as the “go to” persons for providing services that will prevent disputes. Most attorneys serve their clients by representing them in disputes that are already or soon to be underway, with a focus on billable negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation representation.

5. 5 ways to scale in-house resources in the face of an economic downturn

After years of unbridled hiring, a growing number of tech companies recently have made headlines with layoffs and recruiting slowdowns. In-house counsel jobs, especially at tech companies, are not exempt.

6. Consider teaching law in business school as an alternative career

A JD degree is a gateway to various career alternatives. One of these opportunities, teaching law in a business school, receives little publicity and often is overlooked by law school graduates.

7. Beyond the Hype: Lessons on auditing AI systems from the front lines

Generative AI systems are made up of billions or even trillions of parameters trained on vast amounts of data, and their complexity makes their outputs notoriously difficult to explain. But can complex generative systems undergo meaningful audits?

8. Why differentiation is your firm’s responsibility

According to the Thomson Reuters 2022 State of U.S. Small Law Firms report, 22% of law firms admit that “differentiating your firm from your competition” is one of the top three goals or priorities for their practices. The report also indicates that 50% of firms find “challenges acquiring new client business” a moderate challenge, and 22% see it as a significant one. At the same time, almost three-quarters of the firms feel that the most competition comes from other law firms of similar size.

9. 4 ways to grow your new law firm without overextending yourself

Before you start drafting a plan to expand your firm into new territories or practice new areas of law, it’s important that you don’t fall into the habit of overworking yourself in order to achieve your business goals.

10. Making It Work for Working Moms (and Dads): How law firms can support new parents

There are few events in life more pivotal and significant than becoming a parent, especially for the first time. Yet even in today’s era of post-COVID-19 extravagant employee wellness initiatives that focus on mental health, many employers fail to recognize the importance of providing their workforce with the one benefit that will enhance both employee retention and job satisfaction: a robust parental leave policy.

11. It’s not too late to adopt a virtual or hybrid work model at your firm

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, offices worldwide have been compelled to adapt to virtual or hybrid work models, transforming the way businesses operate. While the urgency to implement these changes may have diminished since restrictions have become almost nonexistent, the impact of virtual and hybrid work environments continues to resonate strongly, particularly within the legal industry.

12. Now is the time to consider a lawyer exchange

As lawyers, whether we practice in a corporate legal office, a global law firm or an independent firm, we are all trying to position ourselves for success in a changing and more globalized legal landscape. We are also all facing challenges in recruiting and retaining the young lawyers who will help us get there. Lawyer exchanges are one tool that can be effective on both fronts.

Want to read more Mind Your Business columns? Check out the full series. If you’re interested in contributing your own advice to the column, please read our submission guidelines, and you may see your work in a future roundup.

Mind Your Business is a series of columns written by lawyers, legal professionals and others within the legal industry. The purpose of these columns is to offer practical guidance for attorneys on how to run their practices, provide information about the latest trends in legal technology and how it can help lawyers work more efficiently, and strategies for building a thriving business.

Interested in contributing a column? Send a query to [email protected].

These columns reflect the opinions of the authors and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.

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