Traditional law markets ‘under threat’
A speaker at the Lawyers Weekly Future Forum has revealed the three main areas legal professionals need to be keeping an eye on, to ensure their practice remains relevant and in demand.
Delivering his session at the inaugural event, Legal Practice Blueprint founder and principal Andrew Abel said attendees need to be wary of disruption “in a number of different formats”, not just the technology piece that’s so often talked about.
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“The first one is the business model. The traditional law firm is characterised by the rack it, stack it, pack it, let’s do a hierarchy or top-down time billing kind of model and the more hours that we can command the more profit we make,” he said.
“We're now starting to see changes in the way people approach market. We're seeing these virtual solutions where they don’t actually have too many legal specialists on staff, we're seeing different approaches to market.”
The next area to watch out for is what Mr Abel calls “the pricing dilemma”.
“I know everyone thinks they're selling legal advice but your clients aren't buying legal advice,” he said.
“Legal advice might be the solution or the pathway to get the solution but they're buying a solution and so we do see a bit of a mismatch about what the legal profession is often selling and what the client is actually buying.
“We need to start to reinvent the way that we position the offering in the marketplace.”
Lastly, the third area to keep an eye on, Mr Abel said, is collaboration between law firms – something he noted is “lagging badly”.
“If I think of the accounting industry, for example, firms in that space are much more likely to collaborate with each other, even if they're competitors,” he said.
“Collaboration seems a lot harder for [legal professionals] to do, but I think the fast movers in the industry are going to be the ones that take hold of that concept and they’ll move forward really quickly.”
The inaugural Lawyers Weekly Future Forum was held in Sydney on 9 November and Melbourne on 11 November.
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