This month, The American Lawyer published an article called The Change Agenda: A Long Time Coming. In it, Eric Press considers four factors he believes may push the legal profession into an era of change.
Those four factors are:
- The Legal Services Act passed in the UK that opens up law firms to outside investors, and promises to introduce new ideas and new business models as a result.
- Customers becoming more vocal and more organized in demanding more from law firms. Press used the value challenge issued by the Association of Corporate Counsel as one example of this phenomenon.
- New technology, including Web 2.0, that enables automation and outsourcing of some standard services, which may put price pressure on US firms.
- The mindset and savvy of the latest generation of lawyers, who are less willing to put in many years in hope of becoming partner someday.
Interestingly, much of what Press says isn’t far from the assertions made by Richard Susskind in his book The End of Lawyers (I wrote about Susskind’s ideas in last month’s blog ‘A New Era in Law Firm Marketing’).
What that means to law firm marketing and business models
With so many voices beginning to see and say the same things, it may be time to examine law firm models and law firm marketing strategies to take advantage of opportunities and innovation that are converging on the legal profession.
Consider the success of Axiom Legal, a "new-model law firm” that is more responsive to in-house, corporate legal departments. Press says, “Axiom is the sort of innovation that adds a concrete example to the talk at conferences, in articles, and occasionally at client meetings.”
So as you consider the future of your law firm, marketing, innovation and business models should be top of mind.