Advising Companies in the Disruption Economy

While the legal community has dedicated a great deal of attention to disruption caused by technology in the legal services industry, legal services are not alone in experiencing such changes.  Mathew Ingram describes “socially-driven disruption [is] moving through the rest of the economy”, while his focus was on businesses that are particularly vulnerable to social pressures, bussinesses “such as the hotel business, the taxi industry or the education market. .. We’re seeing companies like Airbnb and Uber and Coursera run into more and more regulatory hurdles, but the writing is already on the wall: service businesses that don’t use social features to lower barriers and increase efficiency will likely not survive long.”

Investor Chris Dixon described many of the companies operating in this space as “regulatory hacks.” As Dixon described: “Sometimes the businesses that change regulations are start-ups. Startups don’t have the resources to change regulations through lobbying. Instead, they need to start with regulatory hacks: “back door” experiments that demonstrate the benefits of their ideas. With luck, regulators are forced to follow.”

In the legal services industry, new entrants to the market face similarly ill fitting (and ill defined) regulatory structures handling areas such as unauthorized practice of law, attorney advertising, fee splitting and insurance. How do you assess when to move forward in such gray areas? What do you consider? What resources do you look to?


  •  James Peters VP of New Market Initiatives at LegalZoom
  • Malcom Mercer is a partner in McCarthy Tétrault’s Litigation Group with nearly thirty years in practice. Mr. Mercer also acts as General Counsel and is the former co-leader of our National Litigation Practice. Mr. Mercer is a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Chair of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, a member of the CBA Task Force on Conflicts of Interest and a member of the National Committee on Accreditation of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
  • Adam Ziegler is a lawyer and the CEO of Mootus, a platform for open, online legal argument, which helps law students and lawyers at all stages build knowledge and reputation and improve the efficiency of their work. Before founding Mootus, Adam practiced commercial litigation and white collar defense for 10 years as a partner at a top Boston boutique litigation firm and as an associate at Covington & Burling and Goodwin Procter LLP. He’s admitted to practice in Massachusetts and D.C., and he earned his JD from Michigan Law School.
  • Josh Kubicki is a restless “creative,” former lawyer, now a technologist, husband and father, transformationalist and change agent for himself and his organizations, an “idea” guy, a leader, a teammate and at times a follower of the right people and ideas, appetite for good content/info only measured by lack of time to consume and use.
  • Dan Pinnington is Vice President Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations at the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company in Toronto ( He is the driving force behind practicePRO (, LAWPRO’s innovative and internationally recognized claims prevention initiative. Dan is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and is a prolific writer, speaker and blogger on risk management, legal technology and law practice management issues. Dan recently stepped down as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Magazine. He co-authored the Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success: Essential Tips to Power Your Practice, and was Chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2007. Dan is also active with the Ontario and Canadian Bar Associations and has Co-chaired the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Solo and Small Firm Conference and Expo for the past eight years. Dan has an LLB/JD from the Universities of Windsor and Detroit and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1993.  Prior to joining LAWPRO in 2001, Dan practiced for eight years in the Litigation Department of a Niagara area law firm.

3 thoughts on “Advising Companies in the Disruption Economy

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