The pace of change in business and society is relentless. This brings heightened urgency to the need for legal functions to innovate. In response, many lawyers and firms are exploring “law new,” a term that describes approaches to service that do not fit into established delivery practices.
It is hard to define “law new.” In some cases, it involves working with underserved communities or finding innovative ways to reach clients. In others, it may involve experimenting with technology to solve problems that were not solved using traditional means in the past. For the most part, “law new” means looking for strategies that address client problems and deliver results in a way that did not exist before.
In the legal industry, “law new” can mean incorporating elements of alternative legal services providers (ALSPs) into a practice or creating a dedicated team to handle a particular type of matter. The idea is that the use of technology and the use of multidisciplinary expertise (“non-lawyers”) can enable a firm to deliver the same services it has always offered but in a more efficient manner or in a more effective manner than before.
This is an area of opportunity for every law firm. A well thought out plan to offer new types of help to clients that are not the primary focus of a practice can result in increased revenue, client satisfaction and a broader range of skills to serve the needs of clients. It also allows a legal firm to expand its client base and build relationships with new clients that were not previously possible.
For a law firm to be successful in this area, it must focus on a strategic plan that is driven by client impact and enhanced experience, not efficiency and cost reduction. It is not enough to have “legal tech.” Instead, it should be a component of a holistic strategy that includes process and project management and multidisciplinary expertise (“non-lawyers”).
The future of the legal profession will likely be defined by collaboration among lawyers, in-house legal departments and other provider sources. This will be enabled by platforms that are more collaborative, transparent, accessible, affordable, efficient, data-backed and solutions-oriented. The goal is to provide clients with the kind of help they need in a way that exceeds their expectations and creates more value for the businesses and societies they serve.