by Jim Wagner
I had a colleague once who loved idioms. When he would do something that ended well, he would observe, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.” When he thought something was bad he would point out, “You can’t put lipstick on a pig.” He had one for every occasion. As a matter of fact, he had so many and he used them so often that ultimately I put a stake in the ground and set a goal of living an “idiom free” existence. We all need goals, no matter how petty… or impossible.
With that background, as we embark on our new venture I felt a compelling need to break my idiom moratorium and trot out at least one. I’ll start with perhaps the oldest of the old and the truest of the true:
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
I know, you probably think that this means I’m going to hop on a high horse about the state of the legal community. That corporate legal departments will bemoan the nearly $100 billion in fees that they will pay this year. That the largest law firms in the US will do their part by reporting record profits in 2015. And that among these large firms more than twice as many will charge their clients for photocopies and “long distance phone calls” (really) than incorporate cost-saving strategies like predictive coding for electronic discovery or document assembly software for contract drafting.
Or maybe you thought I was going to focus on the last decade in which the ABA, and the legal community at large, has quietly declared open season on the underemployed and unemployed attorneys of the world. About the role we all play in that process. About the role that far too many law schools play in that process.
Nope, not going to go there … at least not today.
No, today, I’m going to focus on the positive. And here’s what I’m most positive about.
As long as there is a legal community, there will be an opportunity for innovation and improvement. For fresh ideas. For the right people to focus on the right things. And for the introduction of technology, automation and expertise to completely change the way that some aspect of the business of law is conducted. Because that is what Apogee Legal, our new company, is all about.
We created Apogee Legal – Beth, Larry, Matt, Steve and me – with a single purpose and a single vision: to reduce waste in the business of law.
What does this mean? It means that we’re going to think of the business of law as a process. And that we’re going to take our processes and codify, scale and automate. It means that we’re going to take existing information, existing work product, and leverage that information to an unprecedented level. We’re going to incorporate technology into everything we do. And we are going to be the masters of that technology.
In sum, it means we’re going to be relentless in our drive to find a better way. In fact, the best way. That’s why we decided to call our business, ourselves, Apogee Legal – because we want to remind our team, every day, of our “lofty” goals.
As a founding team, we have been in the legal business over 20 years on average. We have been senior leaders at major corporations, senior advisors as outside counsel, and entrepreneurs and innovators in the legal community. We know what’s expected to work with global clients and their most sensitive information. And we know what’s needed in order to face head on the root issues driving spend in the legal community (hint: it’s not about being “virtual” and it’s not about paying lower-level attorneys less). And we can’t wait to share that with you.
So here we go – we couldn’t be more excited to work with our old friends, as colleagues, business partners, and clients, and we’re just as anxious to meet new friends, in this exciting endeavor.
We’ll see you soon!