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94: Delivery Capacity, Data, and Differentiation

The Business of Law with Mark Cohen of Legal Mosaic and Elevate Legal Services

In Episode 94 we talk with Mark Cohen, former civil trial lawyer, big law Partner, national litigation boutique firm founder, and insurance industry outside general counsel. An early mover on Legal Tech and Legal process outsourcing, today Mark is the CEO of Legal Mosaic and Chair of the Advisory Board and Chief Strategy Officer at Elevate Legal Services. Mark Cohen Bio

Mark attributes his success as a lawyer and businessperson to being relentless, authentic, persuasive, and relating to people as people – telling stories and relying on complex, factual legal matters in a way that people can understand and resonate with.  Noting that in today’s legal environment sophisticated legal buyers look seriously at data related to outcomes and efficiency as criteria for selection and for continued use of a lawyer or firm. That the change in the industry is not being driven by the proactive conduct of law firms but rather the insistence on the part of legal consumers for change.

Our discussion focused on the difference between legal practice and the delivery of legal services. That there’s a change occurring with a reduction in activities attributed in the practice of law and needing to be performed by lawyers; and an increase in the services attributed to and performed by non-lawyer legal professionals and the technology tools available to them.  This change is requiring law firms to either have an increased understanding of the business of law internally or to be partnering with firms that specialize in the delivery side of the law.

Within the traditional legal culture, lawyers are trained to ‘leave no stone unturned’ vs. to understand the client’s objectives and the value of the overall result of the matter. In the business world, everything has a value and sometimes good is plenty good enough.    Until relatively recently, lawyers decided what activities were legal tasks and which weren’t and how much time to allocate to each. Today clients make those decisions and distinctions.  This collision of traditional legal culture with the current business culture highlights the need for lawyers to align their efforts with the interests of their clients.  These updated work practices including outcomes-based agreements require mutual trust and a commitment from both parties for a positive and effective outcome.

We end our interview with Mark sharing his enthusiastic and optimistic view of the future of the profession. That it’s a terrific time to be going into the legal industry, whether you’re a lawyer, businessperson, technologist or entrepreneur.   That the many positive developments as a result of change are leading to the emergence of a global legal community and the opportunity solve some of laws problems. The stagnant, insular and non-diverse; legal culture is beginning to change; that there are limitless possibilities in the legal industry for people who are informed and qualified.

Tune into our full discussion with Mark Cohen, LeftFoot Episode 94 on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and LeftFoot.com.