THE GREAT LEGAL REFORMATION: Notes from the Field
This is an indispensable handbook for any aspiring legal innovator – a well-researched, accessible, and fascinating collection of dispatches from the cutting edge of legal business”.
~ Professor Richard Susskind OBE, author of Tomorrow’s Lawyers
Few can doubt that the Great Legal Reformation is under way. It is refreshing that this book does not simply look to advances in technology and artificial intelligence as the cause or the future. Instead, an evolutionary combination of falling demand from clients wanting more for less, an over-supply of lawyers, and a rise in the number and influence of in-house lawyers using outsourcing and managed legal services is changing the face of legal practice. Organizational and regulatory change, declining motivation and increasing stress among lawyers, as well as technological development, are all making law firms more challenged and challenging places for the practice of law. And yet, paradoxically, unmet legal needs persist throughout the market and the world over.
Thankfully, a few trailblazers are breaking the mould. They refuse to muddle through, carrying on as though a return to ‘business as usual’ and ‘the good old days’ is just around the corner and will be their salvation. They are willing to turn their backs on long-standing traditions and practices, and prefer to place their faith and future in the long-term rather than the short, on value, capital and investment rather than charging for time and income extraction, and on engagement, success, development and alternative career paths for their employees rather than on employee churn and all-or-nothing tournaments.
Through in-depth case studies and vignettes, Mitch Kowalski takes us on a tour to meet the innovators and to eavesdrop on his conversations with them. This is not a glimpse into the future of how he and others might see the legal world developing as the Great Legal Reformation unfolds. This is an insight into the here and now – into what these innovators have already envisioned and achieved. These are the platforms from which yet further innovation and re-formation of the market will be driven, and which those who are stuck behind – whether practitioners or regulators – are in danger of struggling to reach.
From the power and opportunity of regulatory change to enable structural change, access to capital and the participation of people who happen not to be lawyers; through the need to focus on efficiency, continuous improvement, process and project management; to the enduring value of vision, culture, values, leadership, energy and employee engagement, these studies and conversations inform, reveal and challenge. They do not present the new world through rose-tinted glasses or deny the existence of risk: the story of Slater & Gordon’s mixed fortunes is testament to that. But they do show a different way of thinking and acting. Whether lawyers like it or not, these are initiatives that buyers of legal services welcome.
~ Stephen Mayson, Strategic advisor to law departments, legal services providers and regulators