Law new, which is a concept that encompasses many different practices and models, is a field worthy of close attention by all legal firms. It represents a way for firms to find additional revenue streams, meet client needs, and explore alternative methods of working. The practice of law is a rapidly changing field, and firms should be open to new ideas at every turn.
The speed of business and the breadth of social change make it challenging to render an accurate portrait of what new law will look like. Nevertheless, a few defining characteristics are taking shape.
Legal buyers and other customers increasingly want to collaborate with legal service providers to produce innovative legal products, resolve challenges, and capture opportunities at the speed of business and society. This type of collaboration is commonly known as “alternative legal services providers,” or ALSPs. Legal departments are seeking to leverage this approach by engaging in horizontal and, less frequently, vertical integration through joint ventures, managed services, and other collaborative mechanisms.
These collaborations may include the use of technology to reduce legal cost, and/or to increase efficiency, and the sharing of legal expertise and infrastructure. They may also involve the use of non-traditional methods for delivering legal services, including outsourcing and other contracting. A well-thought-out plan that makes use of the various aspects of this concept can offer valuable help to clients while allowing law firm partners to focus on areas of the practice where they have greatest expertise and opportunity to generate fee revenue.
In addition, large legal departments are exploring the use of integration that leverages infrastructure, pools expertise and data, and meets growing cost takeout targets. This is similar to the way that companies like GM, Ford, and Honda routinely collaborate with each other and other industry players on innovation projects.
The emergence of these innovative and collaborative approaches is transforming the way in which the legal industry conducts its business. In the near future, new law will resemble its corporate customers and society at large, with a workforce that is more diverse, cognitively, demographically, culturally, and experientially. This highly diverse, tech-proficient, customer-centric, agile, and integrated workforce will be focused on delivering accessible, affordable, on-demand, scalable, and data-sharing legal products and services. It will drive significant value for business, avoid the significant lost opportunity costs of protracted disputes, and produce better-informed risk assessment and decision driving. It will be powered by data agility, mastery of key value elements (capture, unification, applied human and machine intelligence, visualization, real-time refresh, and decision driving), and its ability to work cross-functionally with enterprise business colleagues and other legal departments.