In our recent legal Roundtable law firms were humorously referred to as ‘crocodiles’ because they haven’t changed for years, but are smart and have survived. When I hear law firms being referred to as crocodiles I think it is because they, like crocodiles, can only move in a straight line making it difficult for them to change direction. So what does this mean for the future of work for the legal industry?
Well, they need to be able to change direction— and quickly— or they will become the relics of the past. Some topics that came up were how to shift the mindset from ‘providing advice’ to ‘providing a service’, and how to become more agile in thinking and location. We are not just talking about creating an open-plan office over your traditional office space. We are talking about creating a significant change in the structure of how the service is provided. For example, should lawyers go out to clients and work with them to provide the solution rather than just offer advice? This may well end the ‘tower of power’ mentality, but to be honest, it’s about time!
Having been in the legal industry for most of my career there is always the fall back of ‘it’s too hard’ and ‘we will see what the other firms do’, but someone has to make the first move and overcome the fear of failure. The business world is changing and this is a real opportunity for all involved in law to become more commercial and meet their client’s needs. The first firm that gets that right will pave the way of the future for all other law firms.
So, let’s stop saying it is too hard or making basic regulatory tweaks, let’s produce a radical change to how we provide the legal service! This is business and for too long we have been expecting the technical experts (lawyers) to have the answer. Maybe it is time to look to other staff members and ask them for innovative ideas on how to be more commercial. Not only will this incorporate a more diverse pool of thinking, but it will inspire them in their roles as well.
I want to see the legal industry change from ‘we tried that and it didn’t work’ to ‘we tried that and had to make a few tweaks but look at us now!' If you want to join me on this course of innovation or get some help for your firm on this journey then let’s chat!
Feel free to email us, or call us on 02 9042 1406 as we are always happy to discuss this topic!