Recent socioeconomic trends have significantly accelerated the pace of need for change for the legal industry and the law firm business model. One of the big themes that our firm’s well credited visitors have pointed out is technology.
In the past, the legal sector enjoyed great comfort in the linear nature of progression. Students attended law school for 3 years, then articled, then became associates, then made partner and went down the path of success until retirement, but that seems to have changed now. There was an understanding between the law firms and their clients that good work costs money, and there was no surprise that billing rates were expected to rise, but that’s no longer the case either. One common indicator that projects the future of this industry is the emergence of technology, and firms which adapt to the changes are ahead of the game and will be industry leaders.
We’re a profession that I would suggest in the last 100 years has not done anything differently than how it has always done, and we are the only industry that is proud of that fact. The legal industry by definition looks to the past for finding ways of the future and that in my opinion needs to change. The comfort that comes with predictability and precedent is perhaps the main factor in postponing the realization of need for change for the industry as a whole.
For us as a profession not to embrace change and innovation, we are setting ourselves up for failure.