A new white paper, entitled Practice Engineering for 21st Century Legal Services, by author Michael Mills and published by Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute addresses the need for a legal practice engineer — someone to bridge the gap between the adoption of legal technology and its integration into the process of delivering legal services better and more cheaply.
The paper is divided into three parts: Part I concerns the growing role of non-lawyer professionals within the legal service business model; Part II examines what legal services organizations actually deliver and how they do it; and Part III considers the current state of legal technology and recommends how a new, unifying role — that of the practice engineer — could greatly make a difference.
Michael Mills is the Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Neota Logic, an artificial intelligence software platform developer.
Bespoke lawyering today is not medieval goldsmithing. Some would say that modern law firms are factories. I do not. But I do say they are systems — complex, fast-moving, integrated, alight 24 hours a day. In the words of the International Council on Systems Engineering: “A system is a construct or collection of different elements that together produce results not obtainable by the elements alone.”
Therefore, understanding and improving the delivery of legal services, for clients at all economic levels from legal aid to Fortune 10, must be driven by systems thinking, by the thinking of systems engineers.