find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
Exclusive: Lawyers’ faith in firm leaders wavering

Exclusive: Lawyers’ faith in firm leaders wavering

A quarter of legal practitioners have concerns about the ability of their firm’s management to lead them through the changing legal environment, according to new research by the Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA).

“If that result is translated across the profession there’s certainly going to be some challenges for firms ahead,” said Warrick McLean (pictured), ALPMA national president and the general manager of Coleman Greig Lawyers.

“There are plenty of examples of where firms are fairly aggressive in responding to change in the marketplace, but it is also certain that law has traditionally been very slow to change.

“I think for some firms that fall into that latter category there will be challenging times ahead.”

The survey, which was carried out by ALPMA and LexisNexis, also found that one of respondents’ biggest fears for the future is the lack of career opportunities for young lawyers.

However, McLean pointed out that there is a positive aspect to the current competitive graduate recruitment market for mid-tier and smaller firms.

“The talent that is available out there is fantastic,” said McLean.

“Talent that would only have considered the top tier, if they’re passionate about and want to maintain a career in the law, really need to be able to look at other opportunities that may not necessarily be top tier.”

He added that graduates who want an edge when they enter the legal recruitment market should get some legal work experience during their degree.

“Those who’ve managed to work in the profession as an intern, summer clerk or a cadet are so far greatly advantaged compared to those who got fantastic marks but haven’t worked a day in their life in legal,” he said.

Technological advances

According to the survey, technology is having a big impact on the way firms are working, with 71 per cent saying emerging technology was having a positive impact at their firm, close to half (48%) saying investing in technology was successful and 39 per cent saying ‘new ways of working’ had been successful at their firm.

“Firms are warming up [to the fact] that if clients are happy, targets are achieved and clients keep returning, how that work gets done and when it gets done is really up to the individual concerned,” said McLean.

“Combine that with technological changes, mobility and remote access, and all the things that go with that that are really par for the course these days ... [and] the necessity to physically have to be in the office is long gone.”

The main factors having a negative impact on firms, according to the survey, are increasing competition (48%) and price pressure/customer demands for value (56%).

“The move towards the power being with the purchaser of legal services, particularly in the commercial space, continues, and certainly ... for some firms it will be a real struggle,” said McLean.

He added that he was surprised that 73 per cent of respondents said the ‘ageing profession’ had no impact on their firm to date, as he pointed out that statistics show the “baby boomer bump is massive”.

Despite this, the survey found most respondents were optimistic about the future, either predicting growth or sustainability of their current business.

Growing strong

Growth was a major focus for survey respondents, with 55 per cent saying their firm had a major or significant focus on it.

McLean says he thinks the respondents to this survey, which were mostly small to mid-tier firms, will plan to achieve this growth by targeted acquisitions and by putting a greater focus on business development (BD) and marketing.

“Traditionally for smaller firms they’ve relied on ‘rainmakers’, but I think now, for these firms to survive, they need to make sure they are servicing their existing clients well and actively sourcing prospective clients so that level of sophistication in terms of BD and marketing is trickling down to these small and mid-tier firms.”

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Exclusive: Lawyers’ faith in firm leaders wavering
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jan 23 2018
Disrupting traditional archiving and storage methods
Promoted by Fileman TRENDS COME and go but technology and its disruption to the legal landscape h...
Scales of Justice
Jan 23 2018
WA to close ‘legal loophole’ on gender reassignment laws
Laws in Western Australia will soon change to permit married people to undergo gender reassignment s...
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
Jan 22 2018
Lawyers take to Twitter to share career stories
The #mypathtolaw hashtag has been embraced by legal eagles to swap stories with the Twitter communit...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...