Posted by: johnocunningham | March 22, 2018

No “Safe Spaces” Left for Law Firms

Recent published reports on the state of the law firm industry have issued a clarion call about the future.

A 2018 Report on the State of the Legal Market by Thomson Reuters and the Georgetown University Law Center concludes that the transformation of the legal services market is accelerating.

This report, coupled with another recently published report on Law.com, reveals that so-called “alternative” legal service providers will have a greater share of the legal services market than law firms within the next 25 years at the current rate of change.

Services provided by AXIOM, LegalZoom, tech-as-a-service providers, and the Big Four and other accounting firms are all growing much faster than law firm revenues as a whole.

Clearly, the clients are voting with their dollars, and law firms will need to innovate, take risks and compete in new ways if they want to remain the dominant providers of legal services.  Competitors are aiming at every sector of services provided by traditional firms, aiming to provide faster, cheaper and better services in niche areas such as electronic discovery, corporate document filing and processing, basic wills and powers of attorney, litigation support, contracts and other basic needs.

For law firms, there are two challenges:

  • How to design and build better products and services that are more competitively priced; and
  • How to market those products and services to clients, and communicate the cost-benefit value proposition better

There will always be a space left for law firms, but it just might be very small and very unsafe in 25 years or less.

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