find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
‘Noisy’ NewLaw landscape has clients bewildered  

‘Noisy’ NewLaw landscape has clients bewildered  

loud

With new companies popping up every month in the NewLaw space, and each offering something completely different, clients are having a hard time taking it all in, according to the founder of Hive Legal.

Jodie Baker, managing director and founder of Hive Legal, said the amount of activity and innovation in NewLaw was making it difficult for clients to digest the changes.

“In some ways it feels like a noisy landscape to me at the moment – there is so much going on,” she said.

“And that indicates progress – but it is almost difficult for clients to actually know what is going to be most beneficial to them.”

NewLaw players tend to experiment with different models, often blending technology with process-driven solutions and alternative pricing strategies, according to Ms Baker.

“It almost makes progress more difficult […] because there's so much going on that you can't get clear air to get the message across,” she said.

Fundamental changes to process, for instance, have swept through the industry affecting both NewLaw and incumbent firms, she continued.

However, unbundling, systematisation and outsourcing are not yet fully appreciated by clients for the benefits they can offer, said Ms Baker.

“It’s almost too much progress and too quickly for the clients to really make enough meaningful use of it,” she said.

NewLaw providers have shaken up the norms of legal practice. The next stage in NewLaw’s development is clients engaging with and understanding the new choices available to them, according to Ms Baker.  

“We are not quite there yet,” she said. “We are showing clients what the options are; giving them those benefits in a meaningful fashion is next.”

‘NewLaw’ is a misnomer

Lumping alternative legal service providers under the single title of ‘NewLaw’ is problematic, according to Ms Baker.

“There is a danger when commentators create headings,” she said.

According to Ms Baker, the title of ‘NewLaw’ aims to capture a broad variety of different kinds of businesses.

These range from firms operating under a secondment model, such as Plexus, AdventBalance and Lexvoco, to legal process outsourcers, online lawyer registries or quoting services, full-service law firms such as Hive Legal that prioritise flexible arrangements and innovative pricing, and tech-driven businesses.

“And there is overlap between them obviously,” she said. “The potential market is hearing so many things, it just gets a bit confused.”

Peter Monk, a principal at Hive Legal, agreed with Ms Baker, saying: “I think there is a fundamental error to be had if you were to create two categories, one being traditional law and the other being NewLaw.”

In ‘OldLaw’ there is “one approach to doing things from end to end”, he said. This singular approach to business has been adopted by all law firms from the global top-tier level or at the very localised long-established one-office firm.

“In NewLaw, however, there are a multitude of completely different service offerings that are being offered by businesses that are relatively newly established but are doing things in a completely different way,” said Mr Monk.

“NewLaw is a very, very broad church of businesses that are servicing the legal sector but in different ways, and doing different things and they are often very, very niche.”

Like this story? Read more:

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

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

‘Noisy’ NewLaw landscape has clients bewildered  
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...