At the end of December 2023, Patrick J, Mckeena and Michael B. Rynowecer presented 200 Firm Leaders with a selection of over 40 timely and potential ‘Burning Issues’ – and asked of them “what do you anticipate as the highest priorities occupying your leadership agenda going into the new year?” The team received responses representing firms from 200 to over 2000 lawyers in size. This paper distinguishes the challenging issues for firms in 2024.
Some recent headlines have reported disturbing news about respected and respectable scholars falsifying or just ignoring data conclusions in scholarly papers. This is another example of the skepticism many of us have with the shifts in misinformation flooding our inboxes and newsfeeds, compelling each of us to exercise our critical thinking skills. And the examples we’re referring to aren’t even results of AI. It is human error, strong bias at play, or manipulative intention for one purpose or another. This leads us to another topic in our continuing explorations of human motivation. Why do we lie? Why do we cheat? Kevin Novak takes a deeper dive on this discussion about the issues and the people and actions that have been in the news recently.
Nicole A. Cooke, Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and a Professor at the School of Library and Information Science, at the University of South Carolina, identifies the significant and socially charged work of librarians who are defending the rights of readers and writers in the battles raging across the U.S. over censorship, book challenges and book bans. Cooke states, “as long as there have been book challenges, there have been those who defend intellectual freedom and the right to read freely. Librarians and library workers have long been crucial players in the defense of books and ideas. At the 2023 annual American Library Association Conference, scholar Ibram X. Kendi praised library professionals and reminded them that “if you’re fighting book bans, if you’re fighting against censorship, then you are a freedom fighter.”
Elizabeth Southerland writes that Jerry Lawson’s essay Plain English for Lawyers: The Way to a C-Level Executive’s Heart has some good ideas about the best ways to communicate with senior executives. However, there is a key imperative that is not addressed: The purpose of an executive summary is to boil this down to a few sentences that tell the leader what they want to know.
Kevin Novack, digital strategist and CEO with extensive experience digitizing disparate collections at the Library of Congress, discusses the increasing importance of acknowledging and incorporating social proof into your marketing strategies to showcase the power of your brands and services. The recent wave of digital tools that are built to influence decisions have come under increasing scrutiny as we have learned, they may not be all that trustworthy. Examples include TikTok and its power to influence and even change the behaviors of impressionable next gens. Or Instagram’s role in enabling body shaming and mocking others. And more recently the overwhelming impact of ChatGPT, and the fascination with and growing use of thousands of apps and services built on OpenAI. Novack asks – but can you trust it? And responds – probably about as much as you can trust all online listings and crowdsourced input, which are the sources of GPT’s recommendations. From the user perspective, discerning fact from fiction, when interacting with your organization, is only becoming more critical.
In the fourth article in his series on presentations, Jerry Lawson advises us on creating compelling presentations. He advises that if the audience is not understood, not engaged, not brought into the conversation, the session usually dies on the vine. Asking the audience questions is one way to improve your training sessions.
Jordan Furlong writes the legal profession is about to go through what manufacturing already has. In the next few years, legally trained generative AI will replace lawyer labour on a scale we’ve never seen before. An enormous amount of lawyer activity consists of researching, analyzing, writing, developing arguments, critiquing counter-claims, and drafting responses. A machine has now come along that does most of these things, much faster than we do. Today, the machine needs lawyers to carefully review its efforts. Within two years, I doubt it will.
Patrick J. McKenna is an internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms. McKenna’s deep dive into law firm strategic planning delivers a detailed guide on the major errors to circumvent to establish a winning competitive position going forward.
Author, Editor, Speaker, Blogger Bruce Rosenstein shares recommendations on a selected list of literature about an increasingly impactful topic – longevity and productive aging. Rosenstein references one book per author and in some cases it is their most recent book.
Professor Libby Sander explains why as a case study in how to implement organisational change, Elon Musk’s actions at Twitter will go down as the gold standard in what not to do. Among other things, the evidence shows successful organisational change requires: a clear, compelling vision that is communicated effectively; employee participation; and fairness in the way change is implemented. Trust in leaders is also crucial. Change management never quite goes to plan. It’s hard to figure out whether Musk even has a plan at all.