In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, lexvoco special counsel of legal operations Justin Moses said he is hoping to see momentum continue to build behind the fundamental shift in mindset that NewLaw firms not only encourage, and enthusiastically responds to, in 2019.
While the profession, both private practice and in-house, has traditionally been labelled as traditional and opposed to change, that perception has shifted markedly in response to client expectations, Mr Moses explained.
“The opportunity for New Law firms like lexvoco and in-house teams to collaborate over designing and implementing new ways to deliver legal services is enormous, but fundamentally rests on a determination to instill a mindset focused on continuous, sustainable improvement,” he said.
NewLaw practitioners have embraced the in-house sector as a “growing and increasingly influential segment of the profession”, he continued, and they are working hard to build profiles and networks within that segment.
“A healthy, competitive market naturally creates opportunities for in-house practitioners to look for truly differentiated offerings, and to leverage the buying power that they have.”
But for some in-house practitioners, engagement with NewLaw providers has to be a secondary priority, he ceded, a challenge that is common even in well-resourced teams.
But he added that the truism about there only being so many hours in the day “shouldn’t be reached for as an excuse to avoid a finding a way to work smarter and actually lift practitioner engagement”, he argued.
“Hard decisions about time allocation may well have to be made, but there isn’t a single NewLaw offering in the market that is designed to deprive in-house practitioners of productive time,” he said.
“Speak with clients about varying non-critical deadlines and engage them in the improvement initiatives – it is a rare client who won’t be open to the prospect of receiving better service.”
When asked if he had any advice for in-house lawyers and general counsel on how best to work with NewLaw firms in 2019, Mr Moses suggested they “be curious and be bold”.
“Think deeply about what you want and ask for it. Many NewLaw firms are developing their offerings on the run, leveraging customer insights to improve their products and services as they are rolled-out,” he suggested.
“Don’t make assumptions about what is and isn’t possible without rigorously testing those assumptions. In particular, don’t assume that technology is the universal panacea. While it has its place and can achieve astounding results, not all business challenges need a technical solution.”