In a discussion with Lawyers Weekly, Clyde & Co LLP’s global senior partner Simon Konsta said that disruption and new technologies “are beginning to really resonate within law firms around the world”, while innovation is needed to improve the flexibility and agility of global offerings.
“In the UK, and indeed elsewhere, including Australia, you are seeing some of the world-class, prestigious firms recognising that they cannot have all of their assets in the most expensive trading cities in the world,” Mr Konsta noted.
He pointed to shared services existing “on a greater level” and the “spread of production around geographies to take advantage of the cost arbitrage” as “imposing on law firms a greater need for flexibility, innovation and open mindedness as to how they work, where they work from and how they employ their staff etc”.
Law firms that aren’t open-minded to new ways of doing the work will struggle and “those that don’t ultimately embrace technology as a solution take costs out of the business in whatever manner, shape or form that may take will struggle”, he warned.
For Clyde & Co’s Australian managing partner Michael Tooma, “the Australian experience mirrors the global experience”.
“Australia is a very sophisticated market in terms of using legal services,” he said.
“This idea that you can be all things to all people is very much a thing of the past,” Mr Tooma continued, as a result of most corporations having “quite extensive in-house legal teams”.
Instead, he argued that law firms “have to know what you excel at, and go to market as the leading experts in your chosen areas”.
“That is what the client base demands, that's what the client base expects,” Mr Tooma explained, noting that the way the legal landscape is going, law firms are expected to be “true experts with not only knowledge in relation to the law but also the practical aspects of the law and how to then take a legal issue and provide a client with an actual solution, preferably with a technological aspect to it”.
Accordingly, Mr Tooma said, “The future of legal services requires law firms to be linked up.”
“It’s about that connectivity and the agility and embracing technology to embrace that outcome,” he said, hinting that occurring events can affect a number of related subject areas, and that firms need to be able to “service clients in that connected and linked up way”.