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Is Quality Possible for Law?

I won’t bore you with the iPhone’s various virtues, which you can read about all over the place. But I’ll say this, the iPhone is an exceptional, quality tech product, probably the best one I have ever bought.

Now quality, in the modern sense, is not simply the absence of defects. Instead, it reflects the user’s total experience with the product or service, including the costs, the ongoing service, and more. Renting a car from Hertz is a high-quality experience because they usually get your name on the board and you can get your vehicle quickly–it’s the same Ford that’s offered by other car rental companies. The services of your cable company usually are not a quality experience, considering you’re put on hold for twenty minutes in order to schedule an appointment that keeps you waiting for the cable guy for four hours.

So, is it possible to create the iPhone of law? You may respond, “our firm already is the iPhone of law.” Maybe a few of you are. But we recently surveyed in-house counsel. Twice as many said their company delivered higher quality to their customers than their law firms delivered to them. Again, maybe there are a few of you out there, a small segment.

Law traditionally has defined quality as most professional services define it–as a description of the provider. Ask most lawyers what quality is, and the answer will be a combination of a Potter Stewart-esque “we know it when we see it,” plus a detailing of their credentials, level of effort, absence of defects, and their anticipation of low probability events. Lawyers will sometimes talk about quality in terms of outcomes, but usually only when the outcome is good. When the case is lost, the deal goes south, or the derivatives go bust, lawyers distance themselves from responsibility even though that broader success is almost certainly what the client has in mind by quality.
Continue reading ‘Is Quality Possible for Law?’

My 2 cents on Net Neutrality …

I recently got in a discussion with someone about net neutrality at which point I made the following argument:

If I go to Google to perform a search and Google sends me the results; Google had to pay for the bandwidth they used to send me the search results, and I have to pay for my bandwidth in order to receive those same search results. My observation is simply that the same information got charge twice; once at the sending end, and once at the receiving end. list of free dating websites . Bandwidth had to be used to send it, which Google paid for; and bandwidth had to be used to receive it, which I paid for. That is currently the normal way information is charged on the internet, every bit or byte,which ever unit you prefer, is charged twice.

Now those against Net Neutrality are proposing that a third charge be add to every bit or byte in transit between the sender and the receiver, and who will pay it is unclear. But, what will we gain if someone does pay it? It has been argued that the money is need in order to build out the internet further, and with greater capacity. But, what assurances does anyone have that the money will be put to that purpose. My DSL provider currently does not provide me with the all bandwidth I am paying for, in fact Americans have horrible speeds compared to citizens of other country. So, how can I trust someone to give me what I am bargaining for, when I don’t think I’m getting now?

Current as I am writing this article there is a case in Federal court Verizon v. Vonage, supposedly centering around patent infringement. But, I think it has to more with the threat Vonage possess to Verizon monopoly on telephone calls. If Net Neutrality were to disappear then Verizon could just charge Vonage or Vonage customers for using Vonage’s service on Verizon’s DSL lines. While simultaneously offering a Verizon branded VOIP service which would not be subject to the same charge.

The rebuttal would be that Vonage’s volume of data is so much greater that they should be made to pay because they are getting the benefit of the lines. But, there is a fallacy with that argument and that is that the benefit is only one way, the owner of the dsl line who has put it to this use, VOIP, is also receiving a benefit. I believe that the purchaser of bandwidth has the right to use it however they chose. This third charge if allowed would in effect dictated consumer consumption away from most successful, most useful, and toward the less successful, less useful. It would punish merit, and reward the inept, over all causing the market to become less efficient.