The legal services industry is on the brink of major change. New technologies and changing client needs are already making life ‘inconvenient’ for those who are stuck in their ivory tower. Lawyers need to get ready to embrace this new, disrupted world because it is going to impact them – whether they like it or not.
Alison Laird, Head of Innovation and Project Delivery Asia Pacific for global law firm Pinsent Masons, summarised the current state of play, saying:
‘We don’t want to go the same way as Blockbuster or the taxi industry. We need to get our heads around how these new technologies, business models and changing client expectations can work together to future-proof our profession.’
So, what is disruption?
Disruption is a combination of changing client needs alongside technological developments.
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not all about new technologies. In fact, many argue that ‘changing customer expectations’ is playing the more important role in disruption.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review titled Disruption Starts with Unhappy Customers not Technology echoes this sentiment:
‘New technologies come and go. The ones that stick around are those the consumers choose to adopt. Many of the fast-growing startups such as Uber, Airbnb, Slack, Pinterest, and Lyft don’t have access to more or better innovative technologies than the incumbents in their respective industries. What they do have is an ability to build and deliver faster and more accurately exactly what customers want.’
Like it or not, clients’ expectations around services have changed. They no longer just expect cost certainty, transparency and visibility. They demand it.
For legal services, this means clients no longer subscribe to the old ways of doing business with lawyers. They want to remove that invisible Wizard of Oz cloak and understand how you’re going to solve their problems.
In the words of Alison Laird, ‘Clients don’t want to pay for hours… they want solutions.’
It's not all bad
Disruption doesn’t have to be dreaded or feared. It brings with it new ways of doing things, new partnerships and new collaborative behaviours.
Understanding how these changes can help your law firm or company is key to developing the skills you will need in this new age.
Ready to conquer disruption?
A six-week course from The College of Law, Disrupt or be disrupted: The age of the legal intrapreneur and entrepreneur will help you understand today’s legal market. It will equip you with the skills and mindset you need to face disruption challenges – head-on.
The subject is part of the newly formed Master of Legal Business at The College of Law, and is led by Teaching Fellow, Alison Laird. Learn more.