The legal industry needs to rethink what law new is and how it can make it a reality. Rather than being fresh icing on a stale cake, new law must be reimagined to meet the demands of customers and society. This is not easy to do, but it is necessary to survive and thrive in the future.
The pace of business and breadth of global change have produced significant challenges that can’t be mastered by one person, function, enterprise or stakeholder group alone. The legal industry must collaborate with other functions and industries to overcome these challenges. It must reimagine itself as a collaborative partner that provides faster, practical and predictable solutions to legal matters. This means erasing artificial and lawyer-created distinctions between providers sources (law firms, in-house legal departments, etc.) and embracing collaboration with other sectors, including technology, finance, banking and insurance, to serve its clients and the wider economy.
A number of legal stakeholders have started to take up the challenge to reimagine law new. These include the legal buyer activists, who want to shift the focus of law from preserving legacy delivery models that prioritize profit preservation and self-congratulatory awards to focusing on customer impact and net promoter score; and the corporate Goliaths, who have the brand, capital, know-how, customer-centricity, tech platforms and agile, multidisciplinary workforces required to deliver a new model for law.
These initiatives have already begun to produce some of the defining features of what law new will look like. The first is a shift in emphasis from traditional fee structures to alternative pricing models that are more transparent, affordable and efficient. It is also an emphasis on a broader range of services that are available to legal buyers and an increased focus on risk mitigation.
Another key feature of law new is a shift in the legal industry’s approach to diversity and inclusion. The growing numbers of women and minority lawyers and judges have prompted the profession to create affinity groups, commission research and develop new training programs, while the proliferation of class action lawsuits has pushed courts to reconsider how they allocate resources, assign cases and evaluate evidence.
Finally, a third aspect of law new is the increased use of data and analytics to improve legal processes and outcomes. This is particularly relevant to the area of contract management, where there is an opportunity for a legal software solution to provide greater insight into the performance of individual lawyers, as well as the overall firm. This will enable more informed decision-making for both legal managers and clients. It will also facilitate a more proactive approach to mitigating risks and identifying opportunities for improvement. In short, it will transform the legal industry into a customer-centric and technologically-enabled business that is focused on value creation. This is the future of law.