In late 1999 B. Gerald Johnson, Preston Gates's managing partner, told his lawyers to start acting more like their clients: Amazon.com Inc. and Starbucks Corp. Just as those companies redefined their businesses, Johnson wanted to redefine the way his law firm practiced law. “We've represented transformational businesses,” he says. Now he wanted to be one.
Johnson set up a committee called “Work Smarter,” headed by IP partner Martin Smith, to search for the good ideas. It has taken awhile, but Preston Gates lawyers have created two tools that have made their lawyers work faster and their clients envious. One is a document search tool called Patterns, which helps manage litigation documents, and the other, called Structure, helps assemble documents in transactions.
Law.com has the rest of the story, which explains how Preston Gates learned to tame the paper tiger. More law firms are going to have to face the reality that dealing with paper is not efficient. That's because , as this story illustrates, efficient clients demand efficient lawyers. And successful lawyers respond to their clients' wishes. [Ernie the Attorney]