What’s so bad about the billable hour? — from bloomberg.com by Arianne Cohen
John Chisholm says it leads to unethical behavior and runaway costs.

Excerpts:

What would force a change in the model?
The Big Four professional firms [Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young, and KPMG] have exponentially increased their legal services over the last few years. While those firms predominantly billed by the hour, their foray into other services such as consulting means they have experimented with other pricing models. One of the Big Four will change its pricing model before any global law firm, and all will follow.

How does someone at a firm start a conversation about billing for deliverables that actually mean something to clients?
Try saying, “Recording time is inaccurate and nontransparent, and no one values it. Our clients value projects completed on time, revenue, and new intellectual property.”

 

From DSC:
By not listening/taking action nearly enough through the last several decades, the backlash continues to build against colleges and universities — institutions of traditional higher education who didn’t take the rise in tuition seriously. Students graduated and left campus, and the invisible gorillas of debt being placed on students’ backs weren’t acknowledged — nor were they fought against — nearly enough. Instead, the gorillas just kept getting bigger and bigger. 

Year after year, I tried to fight this trend and raise awareness of it…only to see the majority of institutions of traditional higher education do absolutely nothing. Then, as the backlash started to build, the boards and the administrations across the country began priding themselves on how their percentage increases were amongst the smallest in the area/state/nation. They should have found ways to decrease their tuition, but they didn’t. Instead, they resorted to playing games with discounts while their “retail values” kept going up and up.

The time’s coming when they will pay the piper for having done this. Just like what happened to the oil companies and to the car/truck manufactures who made megabucks (for the time being) when their vehicles kept getting bigger and bigger and when the price of oil was high. What happened? The end result was that they shot themselves in the foot. These days, Tesla — with their electric cars — is now the most valuable car company in America.

Within the realm of education…when effective, cheaper alternatives come along that still get people hired, you better look out traditional institutions of higher education. You didn’t listen. It happened on your watch. And speaking of watches, the next major one could be you watching more of your institutions close while watching your students walk out the door to pursue other, far less expensive alternatives.


Follow up comments:
I realize this is a broad swath and isn’t true for several institutions who have been fighting the fight. For example, my current employer — the WMU-Cooley Law School is reducing their tuition by 21% this fall and other institutions have reduced their tuition as well or found ways to honor “Promise” types of programs. Other institutions have done the market research and are offering more relevant, up-to-date curricula. (Don’t worry those of you who work within the liberal arts, I still support and believe in you. But we didn’t do a good enough balancing act between offering liberal arts programs and developing the needed skillsets to help students pay off those ever-growing gorillas of debt.)

The fact was that too often, those invisible gorillas of debt went unnoticed by many within higher education. And it wasn’t just the boards, administrators, presidents, and provosts out there. In fact, the full-time, tenured faculty members taught what they wanted to teach and were furious at those who dared assert that higher education was a business. (Watch a college football game on the major networks last fall? Have you seen the size of research institutions’ intellectual property-based revenues? We could go on and on.) 

Anyway, what tenured faculty members offered didn’t align with what the market needed and was calling for. They offered what was in their best interests, not the students’ best interests.

 

How wary lawyers are embracing new tech — from lawgazette.co.uk by Sophia Purkis & Nadia Osborne

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

There has been an eruption of innovation in legal technology – and the role of the lawyer is evolving in consequence. From law firms and corporate practices, to the operation of the court system and management of documentation, technology is changing what we do, how we do it and where we can do it from.

PwC’s annual law firm survey 2019 found that eight of the top 10 firms identified technology as the key change in growth in the next two to three years. In November 2019, the Law Society published a paper, Lawtech: a comparative analysis of legal technology in the UK and in other jurisdictions, recognising the need for domestic lawyers to stay informed and up to date to remain competitive.

Lawyers are instinctively risk-adverse but the successful ones recognise the inevitability of change and opportunities. The introduction of technology requires investment of finance, time and resource. However, the steady march of technology and client and staff demands mean we must embrace the use of legal technology. It is vital to enable legal professionals to collaborate flawlessly with colleagues and clients, and to keep up with other professions and businesses. We must, however, not forget to be mindful of each other and not lose the ability and opportunity to communicate with each other personally. Machines think in binary terms and sometimes things are not that simple.

 

 

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the legal industry — from law.comby Christian A. Farmakis
Artificial intelligence (AI) is adding efficiencies and transforming businesses everywhere, and legal practices are no exception.

Excerpts:

How is AI technology disrupting the legal industry?
AI legal technology won’t replace lawyers, but these tools will drastically change the way lawyers provide services for their clients. While estimates vary, 23%t to 35% of a lawyer’s job could be automated. As a result, lawyers will need to be more strategic and supervisorial, able to act as project managers and supervise the information being fed into systems, and knowledgeable about the assumptions underlying the machine learning algorithms.

What will be the next wave of AI legal technology?
The next generation, which is starting to hit the market now, will be document automation and legal research and writing tools, as well as predictive technology tools. For example, a contract can be put through an algorithm in order to identify how risky it is. It could be used to determine how likely it is to go into litigation or if it complies with the company’s internal contract procedures and policies.

Another use is analytic tools that can measure efficiency and pricing of the legal services. E-billing and practice management tools could measure whether a service contract should cost $2,500, not the $7,500 that’s being charged. In other instances, AI could help firms do estimates for alternative fee arrangements.

 

20 digital transformation leaders to follow on Twitter in 2020 — from enterprisersproject.com by David. F. Carr
Committed to digital transformation this year? Follow these people for perspective and emerging lessons

Excerpt:

One of our New Year’s resolutions was to refresh and expand our Twitter feed for digital transformation leaders, reviewing them not just for the use of the right hashtags but for the content they share.

There are a few repeats from a similar list we shared last year, but for the most part, we tried to give you new Twitter handles to follow. This year’s list includes CIOs, authors, consultants, and cloud computing leaders. Some only post on technology topics, while others share thoughts on family, culture, politics, and favorite movies.

The common denominator we looked for was a thoughtfully curated feed that’s not entirely self-promotional but adds to the conversation we’re all having about how to understand the potential of digital transformation and put it to work for our organizations.


From DSC:

While these types of lists invariably leave off a ton of extremely talented individuals and organizations who are worth following as well, such lists are a good starting point for:

  • Someone to use to begin tapping into streams of content in a given area
  • Observing the topics, issues, ideas being discussed
  • Building one’s network
  • Seeing who these folks follow and who they respect
  • …and more.

Searching for the top __ people of Twitter in subject XYZ is a solid way to enhance our [lifelong] learning ecosystems.

 

CES 2020: Finding reality in a deluge of utopia — from web-strategist.com by Jeremiah Owyang

Excerpts:

One of my strategies is to look past the products that were announced, and instead find the new technologies that will shed light on which products will emerge such as sensors and data types.

The trick to approaching CES: Look for what creates the data, then analyze how it will be used, therein lies the power/leverage/business model of the future.

Sharp’s augmented windows give us an interesting glimpse of what retail could look like if every window was a transparent screen…

Rivian, the new electric truck company, which is funded by both Ford and Amazon was featured at the Amazon booth, with a large crowd, each wheel has an independent motor and it’s Alexa integrated – watch out Cybertruck.

Caution: “Data leakage” (where your data ends up in places you didn’t expect) is frightening, and people will start to care. The amount of devices present, that offer data collection to unknown companies in unknown countries is truly astounding. Both from a personal, business, and national security perspective, consumers and businesses alike really don’t know the ramifications of all of this data sharing.

Also see:

 

Excerpt from Higher Education Predictions for 2020: Recession, Certificates, and Computer Science by Richard Garrett

Coding bootcamps, the educational innovation that arose over the past decade to tackle an acute supply-demand crunch in computer science, had a stellar year in 2019. Dismissed as a fad by some, in 2019, bootcamps graduated 23,000 people, up 49% in one year (37% on a same-school basis).


But short of an unprecedented surge in domestic master’s degrees awarded in 2019, that year will mark the turning point when bootcamps—dominated by U.S. students— unequivocally passed master’s degrees.

An intriguing question is: what impact does a university’s own bootcamp have on domestic enrollment in its computer science master’s program: complementary or competitive? That will have to wait for another Wake-Up Call.

 

How AI is disrupting the legal tech industry — from itproportal.com by Derek Chau
Law firms will benefit from a growing ability to deliver high-value, strategic services while leveraging the ability of AI to execute lower value tasks.

Excerpt:

As increasingly complex AI solutions emerge, the technology continues to capture imaginations across the legal community. AI has become a catalyst for change within the legal ecosystem. And as platforms become more sophisticated, companies have begun to tap into ever-expanding automation and scalability.

Potential impacts/applications include:

  • Legal research (due diligence)
  • Predicting legal outcomes
  • Contract management
  • Intellectual property law

This reality is driven by the democratisation of legal services as a result of AI integrations. The movement is poised to lower the costs associated with corporate transactions, legal research, IP transactions, and related services. As such, law firms will benefit from a growing ability to deliver high-value, strategic services while leveraging the ability of AI to execute lower value tasks.

 

‘Fundamental shift’ is transforming the delivery of legal services, new report concludes — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

“Revolutionary changes are afoot” in the market for legal services, according to a new report.

Clients are actively managing their relationships with outside counsel, nonlaw competitors are gaining ground, and law firms are responding to market changes in innovative ways, the report says.

The 2020 Report on the State of the Legal Market was released Monday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. It is available for download here.

However, taking that view is seeing only one side of the story. Over this same period, there has been mounting evidence that the underlying model itself is changing, that clients, non-law firm competitors, and even many law firms are now operating with very different assumptions about the role law firm services should play in the legal ecosystem and how such services should be delivered. In the past year or so, this evidence has grown to the point that it seems apparent that a fundamental shift is now well underway.

Also see:

Lori Lorenzo, research and insights leader of chief legal officer program, Deloitte: “Catching-up and keeping-up with tech advancements for the legal function will remain a top goal for chief legal officers in 2020. Of course, addressing legal team tech skills gaps may drive inclusion of professionals with diverse skillsets, like data scientists, automation experts and the like, into the legal function.”

 

8 digital transformation trends for 2020 — from enterprisersproject.com by Stephanie Overby
Having some digital transformation fatigue on your team? You’re not alone: Here’s what else to watch for in the year ahead, digital leaders

Excerpts:

“2020 will still see the rapid scaling of digital initiatives across industries,” says Steve Hall, partner and president of global technology research and advisory firm ISG. “In many areas, CIOs and organizations have prepped their organizations for change but haven’t made the full leap to transforming their culture to fully embrace the change.”

Trends mentioned include:

  1. Digital operating models become mandatory
  2. More data, more problems
  3. AI takes center stage
  4. M&A shakes up IT services
  5. New digital transformation allies emerge
  6. Public cloud adoption expands
  7. New digital transformation metrics will emerge
  8. IT takes the long view on digital insights

 

 

Get Smart About Going Online: Choosing the Right Model to Deliver Digital Programming — from evolllution.com by Charles Kilfoye
A veteran online educator looks at the benefits and pitfalls for each of the three main ways to launch an online program.

Excerpt:

Online learning is making headlines again with big players such as University of Massachusetts and California Community College Online launching high profile online initiatives recently. Some would argue that if you haven’t made it in online education already, you’ve missed your opportunity.

However, my sense is it’s never too late. You just have to be smart about it. It all boils down to asking yourself the basic problem-solving questions of Why, What and How to determine if online education is right for your institution. To illustrate my point, I will briefly discuss major considerations you should make when exploring an online strategy and I will examine the pros and cons of the three most common models of delivering online programs in higher education today.

Be aware that differentiated pricing may indicate to prospective students that one format is more valuable or better than another. My personal opinion is that a degree earned online should be considered the same degree as one earned on-ground. It is the same program, same faculty, same admissions requirements, same relevance and rigor, so why not the same cost?

 

From DSC:
Regarding the topic of pricing, it would be my hope that we could offer online-based programs at significantly discounted prices. This is why I think it will be the larger higher education providers that ultimately win out — or a brand new player in the field that uses a next gen learning platform along with a different business model (see below article) — as they can spread their development costs over a great number of students/courses/program offerings.

If the current players in higher ed don’t find a way to do this (and some players have already figured this out and are working on delivering it), powerful alternatives will develop — especially as the public’s perspective on the value of higher education continues to decline.

 

Learning from the living class room

I’d also like to hear Charles’ thoughts about pricing after reading Brandon’s article below:

If it’s more expensive, it must be better. That, of course, has been the prevailing wisdom among parents and students when it comes to college. But that wisdom has now been exposed as an utter myth according to a new study published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs. It turns out the cost of a college does not predict higher alumni ratings about the quality of their education. In fact, the opposite is true: total cost of attendance predicts lower ratings.

Quality matters. Price does not. Quality and price are not the same things. And this all has enormous implications for the industry and its consumers.

 

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Redefining Norms Critical to Sustained Relevance in the Changing Postsecondary Environment — from evolllution.com by Hunt Lambert
Sticking to the status quo will end in disaster for most postsecondary institutions. To stay relevant, institutions have to rethink all aspects of the higher education product, from programming to student support to organizational models.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Higher education has existed for over a millennium in an effectively unchanged state, but the impetus to transform has arrived. Fast-changing labor demands, evolving learner expectations and transformed market realities are forcing college and university leaders to rethink the traditional postsecondary model and find ways to serve the growing numbers of lifelong learners. This idea has been broadly articulated as the 60-Year Curriculum (60YC), and executing on this vision demands a fundamental change in how higher education institutions must operate to serve students. In this interview, Hunt Lambert expands on the 60YC vision and shares his insights into how the organizational models of postsecondary institutions need to evolve to adapt to this approach.

The 60YC proposes that higher education providers, who happen to be best in the world at knowledge creation and dissemination through well-designed curriculum, expand that curricula concept from the current two-year AA, four-year BA, two-year master’s and seven-year PhD learning models into a 60-year model inclusive of 15- to 75-year-old learners and, most likely, beyond.

 

 

The following information is from Rebecca West, Founder and CEO, Helium Communications

Make School is working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, scarcity of technology talent is an acute point of pain for many organizations. The SF Bay Area has experienced a remarkable 90% growth in tech employment and a 36.5% expansion in STEM jobs in the past decade. California’s tech workforce grew by more than 51,500 jobs in 2018, with well over half of them in the Bay Area. In the current business climate, the biggest barrier to growth for many organizations is their inability to find qualified job candidates, particularly in technical fields such as coding and computer science.

Ironically, many students graduating from US colleges and universities are still having trouble finding work because they don’t possess the skills required in the actual workplace.  According to the most recent Global Information Workforce Study, the skills gap is only going to become more pronounced in coming years, with as many as 1.8 million IT jobs that could be left unfilled by 2022, a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Make School is a college in San Francisco that’s working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech. Make School is changing the higher education landscape with a unique model of deferred tuition that makes it possible for computer science students to gain the skills they need in order to find employment in the technology market without saddling themselves with huge amounts of debt.

Make School serves high school students entering college and transfer students (either from community colleges or from other four-year institutions). Accessibility to diverse populations is a key component of their offering. Make School offers a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science, teaching students to design, program, and launch software products while providing a foundation of liberal arts to ensure a lasting career. Students who graduate from Make School do not pay tuition until they have secured employment and are earning an annual salary of at least $60K.

With four years of positive student outcomes comparable to schools like Stanford and MIT, Make School has demonstrated the success of its model. Alumni currently work at companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Zendesk, Y Combinator startups, and other leading technology innovators.

Fall and Spring semester tuition is $15,000. Summer semester tuition is $10,000. Total tuition for the bachelor’s program is $70,000.

 

From DSC:
I’d like to see the tuition come down for this school — especially as they are marketing themselves as a school that aims to help underrepresented groups in tech. Perhaps they’ll need to develop some satellite branches/campuses outside the San Francisco area in order to make that tuition reduction happen. As it stands, this is not much of a discount. That said, I do appreciate that they are trying to address the gorillas of debt on our graduates’ backs. Plus they are pursuing new business models, alternatives to the status quo, and are making efforts to address some of the numerous gaps in our society.

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2020 | Daniel Christian