Article:

The Future of Law Firm Business Models

17 January 2019

The legal profession is changing faster than ever. Client demands are growing – they now expect lawyers to find ways to add value outside of purely transactional engagements.

Technology will be the main way lawyers can provide this added value, creating opportunities for quicker and smoother collaboration and transparency. But this also means more competition among law firms – those that survive will be the ones that are able to keep the personal touch while still utilising technology to the best of its ability.

To do this, professional service firms must find ways to enable people and technology to work together. Continuous learning will be essential to embracing the fast pace of change moving forward, as will taking advantage of the many different generations in the workplace to provide reverse mentoring. Again, technology provides a platform to assist with continuous learning, creating a collaborative space for the sharing of ideas.

Too many law firms have ignored change for too long. But in the modern business age, no industry exists in a bubble. Change is happening – you can either embrace it and turn it into an opportunity, or you can ignore it and let it become a disruption. The ball’s in your court.

Despite technological advances, what has fundamentally changed in the legal profession in the last 20 years is around the structure of the firm, compensation model and billing structure. This all points to firms considering new client relationships where being an integral part of the team and not just a service provider will be key to future success and survival. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the law firm leaders to drive the internal changes needed to respond to these challenging external market forces.

Ten years on from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the legal profession is still feeling the ramifications. The GFC signalled a profound change in client relationships – moving the power firmly into the clients’ hands. Particularly over the past five years, we’ve seen clients’ expectations around what law firms should be offering change significantly – and it’s up to the firms themselves to keep up with this.

Legal professionals are no longer considered just a service provider – they are now expected to be an integral part of the team, finding ways to add value and support clients outside specific matters and even technical legal issues. Essentially, it’s a matter of providing strategic partnerships instead of working on purely transactional engagements with clients.

'The Future of Law Firm Business Models' takes a look at all these trends and more, horizon-scanning for future developments, and the ways in which these issues will fundamentally change the market.

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