Posted by: johnocunningham | January 23, 2017

The New Normal for Law Firms

A recent story about a 2017 Report on the State of the Legal Market by Thomson Reuters asserts that law firms must find new ways of adapting to permanent and growing shifts in the way that corporate clients fill their legal needs.

According to the report, clients are demanding lower costs per matter and disaggregating services, sending many tasks to non-law firm service providers, and often reducing the use of less efficient first- and second-year associates.  They are increasingly putting fixed caps on total fees per matter as well, forcing law firms to figure out how they can be more efficient in process improvement and project management.

As noted in many local press outlets, clients are also favoring firms that have figured out how to deliver services at fixed or predictable costs or even on contingent fee arrangements. (See for example, this story about firms that are ditching hourly fees).

In this brave new world, corporate clients are also scrutinizing firms to see how well they can collaborate with others, pushing them to consider sharing of information, resources and staffing in order to accomplish goals. Forward-looking firms are also responding, as indicated in a recent National Review story by Eilene Spear.

The new normal is anything but normal for law firms, but it presents tremendous opportunities for those who are willing to distinguish themselves from competitors by collaborating with their clients on innovative ways to produce high quality work more quickly and cost-effectively over time, using technology, knowledge sharing, resource sharing and other techniques.


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