Mumbai and New York
If your document review is being done in Mumbai instead of Minneapolis, that's probably due to the efforts of Sanjay Kamlani (pictured) and David Perla, founders of the legal process outsourcing firm Pangea3. They were pioneers in persuading U.S. law firms and law departments to shift their commodity legal tasks to India. Two years later, Thomson Reuters Corporation bought them out for an undisclosed sum (India's Business Standard newspaper estimated it at $40 million). The size of the Indian LPO market that Pangea3 helped create is expected to grow to $1.1 billion by 2014.
Baxter Healthcare Corporation
For Marla Persky, chief of litigation at Baxter Healthcare Corporation in the early 1990s, the reasoning was simple: Women were suing her company for its allegedly toxic breast implants; female lawyers should be the ones to defend the company. At the time, that strategy—one of the first to put women at the helm of high profile cases—was unorthodox, but Perksy pursued it anyway, decreeing that every trial team must include a woman. "It was a very clever and progressive move," says Zoe Littlepage, who represented plaintiffs in the litigation. Effective too: Baxter went to trial 25 times, winning 18 defense verdicts.
Cocreator of L.A. Law
Cocreator of television's L.A. Law, Steven Bochco added gloss to lawyers' daily grind, demonstrating that one person's job is another's entertainment. The workplace drama, which aired for eight years starting in 1986, was built around a diverse group of lawyers at a small general practice firm. This depiction—including female rainmakers, cases for junior lawyers to litigate, hours for interoffice romance—is credited with inspiring many Gen Xers to go to law school. "After doing [gritty cop show] Hill Street Blues for five years, I thought that a law firm in Los Angeles would be a wonderful environment: upscale and colorful," Bochco says.
Above the Law
Ever since David Lat, a former New Jersey assistant U.S. attorney, founded Above the Law in 2006, firms have changed the way they operate, forced to assume that every internal memo will become public. Lat's blog publishes a mix of gossip, commentary, and news for a readership of about 900,000 unique visitors a month. Associates at large firms use the site to compare salaries; the blog is also known for breaking news on firm layoffs. Regardless of one's opinion of Above the Law's sometimes-snarky tone, one thing's clear: At firms, what happens behind closed doors may not necessarily stay there.
In the shift of legal research from books to computers, there was no larger force than the first nationwide electronic legal information service, LexisNexis. And in bringing that technology to the desks of lawyers everywhere, there was no bigger champion than Jerome Rubin. The former corporate lawyer started working on what would become LexisNexis as a consultant for the database's creator, Mead Coporation. In the early 1970s, Rubin suggested that Mead market it first to lawyers on Wall Street. Today LexisNexis is a staple of law of­fices, placing 1 billion legal news documents and 36 billion public records at their disposal.
ROBERT BANKS SR.
American Corporate Counsel Association
As general counsel of Xerox Corporation in the late 1970s, Robert Banks Sr. moved a big portion of the company's legal work in-house, cutting its outside legal costs by nearly 50 percent and showing GCs elsewhere how to strengthen their hands vis-a-vis outside counsel. To wield their newfound clout, in-house lawyers sought cohesion, so Banks went on to help found the American Corporate Counsel Association, the leading organization in the in-house world, in 1982, and was elected its first president. The group, now called the Association of Corporate Counsel has a current global membership of more than 30,000.