Collaboration at the Crossroads

AuthorDennis Kennedy - Tom Mighell
Collaboration at the
Collaboration has never been optional for lawyers. It is even
more of a requirement today as technology continues to
change the practice and client expectations at a breathtak-
ing pace. The image of the solitary lawyer fighting for justice
against overwhelming odds may be the attraction that leads
many people to law school. But practicing lawyers know bet-
ter. The practice of law is, has been, and will continue to be a
collaborative process. Lawyers collaborate with clients, col-
leagues, and others every day and in many ways.
The solitary lawyer battling the forces of injustice is also
a classic theme in movies and television. Even in fiction, how-
ever, it breaks apart quickly under close examination. Even
the most solo of solo practitioners routinely works in collabo-
ration with a wide range of people. Lawyers work with a signif-
icant number and variety of categories of people and service
providers in firms or organizations. Many of these categories—
clients, partners, associates, paralegals, and assistants—are
familiar to us. Many others—IT staff, litigation support manag-
ers, digital marketers, project managers, knowledge managers,
third-party service providers—represent more recent develop-
ments in the profession.
Consider who the average lawyer might work with during
an average day in an average practice:
n Attorneys and paralegals within the firm—partners
(equity and non-equity), senior counsel, associates
(partner-track and non-partner-track), part-time law-
yers, contract lawyers, law clerks, and paralegals (gen-
eralists and specialists)

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