Law is staging its own version of "every kid gets a trophy." Its award season is longer than baseball's, and the list of award categories rivals the Oscars. Every week, all over the globe, the legal industry throws gala dinners to celebrate its "innovators," "visionaries," and "pioneers." These gatherings afford attendees a chance to dress up, schmooze with peers, feel important, and convince themselves that their industry is performing splendidly. Legal providers are hearing "Celebration" while for buyers it's "I can't get no satisfaction."
Two major UK-based law firms, Allen & Overy (A&O) and Addleshaw Goddard (AG), have both announced new career paths to help them to adapt to legal tech's impact. Both initiatives are a clear indication of the growing importance of legal technology, in terms of showing the need for law firms to have the right skillsets internally and that legal tech capabilities have moved far beyond'operational' needs of just'keeping the lights on' and have now moved front and centre in terms of strategic growth planning for law firms. Machine learning/NLP tools are clearly part of this movement given that they can help in the direct production of legal work, such as via review, but legal tech's impact also includes a whole new wave of technology that connects to risk and compliance analysis, litigation prediction, contracting automation tools, smart contract and blockchain technology, and a range of incremental changes to more well-developed tech such as DMSs and collaboration platforms. In short, there is now so much new legal technology having an impact on how lawyers operate on a day to day basis and most importantly how they actually produce work that the more forward thinking firms are adapting their recruitment and career paths to meet these needs. This is all the more important when one considers that the clients are becoming increasingly savvy to the benefits of this'new means of production', leaving law firms that want to retain market position little option other than to adapt, while this market change is also offering early adopters the chance to compete more effectively against rivals in the legal market.
The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute recently released their 2017 Report on the State of the Legal Industry. 'The Georgetown Report,' as it's commonly referred to, confirms that corporate legal buyers are directing more work away from large law firms, electing to take it in-house or to legal service providers (read: alternatives sources to the traditional law firm partnership model). The Report provides a broad range of data confirming weaknesses in the traditional model: flat demand for law firm services in a market with growing demand; shrinking leverage (one of the cornerstones of the BigLaw model); reduced realization; intense competition; and the failure of most law firms to innovate in a market demanding it. The Report also cites growing market segmentation among law firms with about 20 pulling away from the pack once collectively called'the AmLaw 200' and later'AmLaw 100.' It also notes that clients are increasingly sending work "down market" to smaller firms with specific expertise and lower rates.
Give us your feedback Thank you for your feedback. Parker's first day at work at the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in Australia involved 1,000 conversations with potential clients. Even the most super-energetic young lawyer would normally manage only a fraction of that but Parker is, of course, a chatbot -- a computer program that simulates human conversation. The new recruit is a prime example of how law firms in Asia-Pacific are experimenting with artificial intelligence to improve efficiency. Chatbots, which use AI to answer simple questions from people wanting to learn more about a subject, are already being adopted in industries ranging from banking to medicine.
This is the age of the customer. The asymmetrical advantage that sellers long held over buyers is gone. Consumers have access to market information and choice that has transformed the buy-sell dynamic. Social media provides them with a reference source and a voice. The balance of power has shifted from the supply to the demand side.