As we begin 2022, we are pleased to once again take the opportunity to thank you – our friends and clients – for your continued support of Beeman & Muchmore. For each and every client, we value the confidence and trust that has been placed in our targeted software licensing services and our innovative delivery model. The past year has been filled to overflowing with important and meaningful engagements, and we write from the vantage point of a new year looking back with gratitude and forward with optimism.
As time rolls on, we are as gratified as ever that we launched our firm when we did – one and a half years ago during an ominous global pandemic. For years, the legal industry had been seeking to shake itself from the confines of the traditional law firm model, and the meaningful reflection that arose in the uneasy quiet of the early stages of lockdown allowed that craving to take full shape. Our steadfast clients stayed with us and many new ones were able to find us, each receiving our expert counseling directly, free from the constraints that the anachronistic BigLaw model unnecessarily place on the attorney/client relationship.
Over 2,500 years ago, the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus reminded us that “Change is the only constant.” Adhering to this wisdom, we enter 2022 proudly offering our services under the same banner that we started the firm with: ‘A New Law Firm for a New World’.
2021, It’s a Wrap
We are thrilled to share that we closed out 2021 with the publishing of an Op-Ed entitled “Washington Antitrust Efforts Ignore Predatory Practices of Big Software Vendors.” Our musings were initially published in Real Clear Policy and have since been picked up by numerous outlets in syndication. In the piece, we lay out our observations on Washington’s latest rendezvous with antitrust legislation in the technology industry. Our bottom line is that if policymakers are going to continue their focus on big tech, which we believe is appropriate, it is imperative that the dubious practices of major software providers such as Oracle and Microsoft not fly beneath the radar.
As thought leaders, we have also identified an emerging market phenomenon which we have dubbed “Software Licensing Trolls.” Software License Trolls are best characterized as “Tier Two” vendors (i.e., not Oracle, Microsoft, SAP or IBM) that are exploiting their licensees through unusually aggressive audits that extract quick dollars, often at the expense of the ongoing relationship. Often backed by venture capital, licensors such as Micro Focus and Quest are weaponizing unique aspects of the software audit process to squeeze millions of dollars out of unprepared targets in a manner similar to Patent Trolls.
Attempting to spread the word on this troubling phenomenon, we were happy to collaborate this past November on a webinar with LicenseFortress entitled Beware Software Licensing Trolls: How They Are Monetizing Licensing Agreements and Putting Your Business at Risk. In our hour-long presentation, we explored the current state of the Software Licensing Troll phenomenon and shared tactics on how to avoid becoming a victim. We also offered strategies for negotiating and resolving disputes before any litigation. You can still access this free webinar here. Expect us to continue exploring this emerging trend in the year to come.
We have also kept a sharp eye on the new litigation strategy that Oracle appears to be carefully honing against its licensees. We first wrote of this phenomenon in August and then gave an update in November on the latest details involving Oracle’s shifting strategy. As we have successfully made litigation avoidance one of our core founding principles, and because this should be of interest to all Oracle licensees, we will continue to keep you apprised of any changes in this arena.
Additionally, we have spent the past year spreading our knowledge through consistent publishing and also participated in two webinars and a podcast. From two publications in legal and tech journals to composing almost 20 blog posts, our goal is to keep you informed with current and helpful content. As a quick recap, our past year’s publications can be found here:
- Law360: “What The Oracle-TikTok Saga Means For Oracle Licensees”
- Database Trends and Applications: “Vendor Software License Audits Have Become More Frequent. Are You Prepared?”
- Real Clear Policy: “Washington Antitrust Efforts Ignore Predatory Practices of Big Software Vendors”
2022: A Year of Flexibility, Resilience and Optimism for the Legal Industry
Ipsos Group, a multinational market research and consulting firm, recently shared that, while the past year was full of ups and downs, the general consensus is that 2022 will a better year. We concur.
And, as many of the changes that appeared to be temporary in mid-2020 now appear to be here to stay, we speculate that we will continue to see and experience a multitude of positive changes and necessary evolutions. And that can only be a good thing for consumers of legal services. In analyzing various types of “Client-Led Change,” Lawyer Monthly’s article “5 Legal Trends to Look Out for in 2022” had some interesting stats regarding the future:
According to the latest Clio legal trends report, only 23% of consumers were open to working with a lawyer remotely in 2018. However, Clio’s report reveals that 79% of consumers now see the ability to meet with a lawyer remotely as a key factor in deciding who to work with. 58% of people said they wanted the option to have a consultation via a video call.
Figures like these shine light on a hopeful trend whereby companies are putting their clients’ needs first and foremost. Gone are the days when clients were expected to appreciatively bask in the opulence of lavish law offices and unnecessary amenities (that, perversely, clients were paying for). Good riddance. The future of the legal industry is about clients, not their lawyers.
This year and in years to come, we anticipate a rising wave of unbundled law firms that, like Beeman & Muchmore, offer targeted services pursuant to a clean and efficient delivery model. This will necessarily hasten the diminution of wasteful litigation that serves little purpose other than enriching lawyers. A future that yields better-served clients with more time and resources to focus on their respective businesses is a future that we are, and will continue to be, proud to be a part of.
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We begin this new year with the same optimistic words which launched our firm back in June of 2020: “The Best is Yet to Come.” We look forward to seeing you in an abundant 2022!
Published on 1/17/2022