The speed of business and breadth of social change make it difficult to render an accurate portrait of what law new will look like. But a few of its defining characteristics are beginning to take shape.
Legal buyers and the global marketplace will continue to drive demand for a more efficient, collaborative, client-centric model of legal service delivery. This “new law” will be powered by a more holistically diverse, cognitively, demographically, culturally, and experientially enriched team of legal professionals. This legal workforce will be customer-centric, tech and data-proficient, agile, multidisciplinary, empathetic, and collaborative. It will also leverage data as a strategic asset that fuels predictive analytics, real-time refresh, decision driving, and global enterprise integration.
This new law will consolidate the industry through horizontal and, less frequently, vertical integration, joint ventures, managed services, and other collaboration mechanisms. Large law firms and in-house legal departments remain the dominant providers of legal services. They operate from different economic models, cultures, remits, and technology platforms. New law will incorporate an integrated platform-based delivery structure from which agile, fluid, on-demand resources with verifiable, material expertise and experience can be sourced. Profit will no longer be derived from adherence to legacy economic models and outdated legal education, but from delivering legal value that produces high net promoter scores.
For example, shoppers have noticed that shampoos and other personal care products marketed to women often cost more than very similar versions marketed to men. That’s because the companies selling those products must pay more to compensate women for equal work. California’s new law seeks to remedy that by requiring employers to include salaries for all employees in job postings. In-house legal departments and large law firms will also have to rethink their approach to pricing and fee structures to be competitive with the plethora of alternative service providers (ASCs) that offer more efficient, collaborative, and client-centric alternatives.
The new law will bring legal practice into alignment with corporate business functions by empowering legal teams to identify, eradicate, mitigate, and extinguish risk; save significant lost opportunity costs caused by protracted disputes; free-up management time to focus on core objectives; and produce more-informed business decisions. This will help to drive measurable financial and commercial success and enhance the reputation of the legal function as a critical and integral part of the enterprise.
Legal leaders are embracing the idea of law new as they work to improve client service and drive profitability in the face of ever-increasing regulatory, compliance, and other risk-related challenges. A well-thought out plan making use of these new law techniques can offer the help that clients need without impacting other areas of practice that may be the primary focus for their legal firm. It’s time for the legal industry to move beyond fads and hype to embrace this concept. Then the true meaning of “law new” will be truly revealed. – By Mark Ambinder, Partner, Chief Innovation Officer and General Counsel, Axiom Law.