Expect next year to see acceleration of recent trends in the legal sector, including the ongoing pressure on hourly rates, as well as demands to improve productivity and efficiency. We all know that means law firms will need to be even more nimble and forward-thinking. The real challenge for every law firm leader, however, is to know how to meet these new demands.
A terrific new white paper–“Reenvisioning the Law Firm: How to Lead Change and Thrive in the Future”– responds to just this need with research and specific action recommendations. Aimed at managing partners in small and mid-size firms, it describes seven disrupters that are buffeting law firms, the numerous opportunities they create and how firm leaders can respond.
In addition to their own research, the authors leverage data from other legal sector studies. (In fact, if you haven’t read them, we highly recommend them):
- Law Firms in Transition 2016 (Altman Weil)
- 2016 Report on the State of the Legal Market (Thomson Reuters, Georgetown Law)
- Bright Insight – 2015 National Legal Sector Survey Results (Cushman & Wakefield)
MetaJure’s mission, of course, is to make lawyers more productive and law firms more efficient. So, we paid special attention to this latest report’s view of technology: “Constant changes in technology, with continual updates and changes, make it difficult to keep pace. At the same time, technology also enables law firms to do things better, faster and cheaper.”
Fair enough, but just saying “better, faster, cheaper” is not that helpful. The real question is: How can technology enable us to work better, faster, cheaper while maintaining quality?
At MetaJure, this is what we’re working on 24×7. So here are some thoughts on “how” technology can help:
- Research: Clients stopped paying for firms to get smart some time ago, which means that nobody can afford to waste a single document or bit of research that can be re-leveraged to the advantage of the next case or deal. New search technology deployed internally can make a big difference to firms of all sizes.
- Training: Clients no longer pay for associates to understand the nuances of their deals, which means leveraging past work product is more important than ever. One of the benefits of today’s systems that can capture and return all of your information is moving new lawyers up the learning curve faster than ever.
- Sharing Information: As everyone knows, clients hate it if they have to convey information more than once, which means they assume (reasonably or not) that you have perfect information sharing. But of course, this is harder than it looks. Still, technology offers the tools to do just that with minimal training and preparation.
At MetaJure, these are the problems we’ve tried to solve. In today’s environment, lawyers are expected to move quickly and efficiently. You’ve got to get smart fast. That’s what we think technology is for.
There are plenty of additional ideas in the reports we’ve mentioned that will give you the edge in 2017. The challenge, of course is taking the steps to move ahead. As the latest report concludes, “The future looks promising for the law firms willing to adapt and change.” Taking the first step is always the hardest. We hope this gives you some ideas about how to do just that.