A Q&A with Creator and Editor, Mark Klapow, Crowell & Moring Partner
When Mark Klapow asked Crowell & Moring lawyers to step back from their dockets and bring together their collective experience to help corporate counsel understand the most relevant litigation issues of the new year, they rallied and put together something entirely new. The report would go into development for many months, starting out as a concept on the back of a napkin and ending up as a comprehensive think piece for corporate counsel across industries. We interview Mark for an insider's look:
Q: Mark, why did Crowell & Moring create this report now?
A. We're all aware that the worldwide economic and political landscape has been shaken in recent years. Corporate legal departments are under tremendous new pressures to adjust to the new reality, while at the same time dealing with rapidly changing trends in litigation. Clients are asking us to help them understand what a litigation landscape that seems to be in perpetual motion means for them today and tomorrow. They're not asking for surveys, year-end reviews, or academic theories. They want practical information, real-time updates, and an assessment of where things are headed.
Crowell & Moring has been sharing this type of information with our clients for years, but this is the first time we've gathered our best thinking into one place and offered it to the industry as a whole. Our hope is that the report gives the marketplace a new, no-nonsense perspective on 2013 risks and opportunities. This report is about looking ahead.
Q: With so much change in the marketplace in recent years, how did you decide what issues to cover?
A: Law firms have not traditionally been known for client service. Crowell & Moring is different, so our report is different. We designed our report for clients.
My co-editors Christie Stahlke and Jessica Thompson were critical in this process. We put ourselves in the position of corporate counsel. What are the litigation trends that present the biggest risks for my company now and tomorrow? What can and should be done to address those risks? Where can I go to understand all of this within the time constraints of my other responsibilities?
The way we tackled this report speaks to what Crowell & Moring is really about. When our team put together the proposal and approached management, there was a real level of excitement about it being something new and different.
Q: Who created the map?
A: That was all Christie and Jessica. They thought about the questions that clients always ask at the beginning of a matter: How fast or slow is this docket? How likely is this judge to take things to trial? How many months am I going to have to wait for my appeal? The map is an easy and visually appealing way to answer some of those questions.
Q: How did you select the authors for each section?
A: We're a trial firm, and so we had no shortage of prospective authors. In the end, the authors in this report are highly experienced thought leaders who are tackling issues that transcend industries, company size, and location. Our team had to make some hard choices.
When we got down to brass tacks, the writing process took three months. Each section was drafted, redrafted, outlined. We started over a dozen times. The process speaks to the acumen of our existing and emerging talent, who really wanted to make sure the report would be something that reflects current trends and is cutting edge.
Q: That's quite a labor of love. What is Crowell & Moring's outlook on litigation in 2013?
A: There are some areas that are carrying higher risk than ever before. One that cuts across a number of areas is government enforcement (antitrust, white collar, environmental). We were waiting for the election results to come in before the ink could dry on some of our articles. But there is little doubt that the new Obama Administration is going to be even more robust than it has been in the past few years.
Litigation management and in-court trial skills are necessary but not sufficient for success. To truly bring value, we also have to marry those skills with subject area, regulatory, and industry-specific knowledge that Crowell & Moring is known for.
Q: You're relatively new to the firm. Did that help or hinder your role as an editor?
A: One of the first things that struck me upon arriving at Crowell & Moring is how much effort our lawyers at all levels go to in keeping on top of current trends. If there is an important decision that comes down or something happens in an government agency, our attorneys will write up an email for internal consumption that tells us what this really means.
I was amazed at the depth and sophistication. But then we asked the question,"So, how can we make this thought leadership more outward facing? How can we best share our analysis with the broader marketplace?"
It's more than marketing for us. It's one of the ways we are helping the corporations who are fueling our economy understand what's coming and how to navigate it. I'm proud to be a part of it.