The rapid pace of change in business and society requires new solutions that are scalable, efficient, data-backed, transparent, and collaborative. These are the hallmarks of law new, a concept that legal practitioners should embrace and understand as a growth area for their firms.
Collaboration is a critical element of the law new paradigm and legal professionals need to be prepared to collaborate with allied business professionals from across the enterprise, with other industry stakeholders, and even with clients to solve complex challenges that cannot be mastered by one person, function, company, or group. The pharmaceutical company collaboration that produced the Covid-19 vaccine is a classic example. The legal function can play a significant role in these broader collaboration efforts, and in fact has, to date.
The industry needs to shift its focus from providing services and products based on legacy delivery models and self-congratulatory award recognition to a customer-centric model that yields high net promoter scores and impact. This process of human adaptation will require change management and leadership from all legal stakeholders.
Until recently, the industry’s focus was on legal technology, or “legal ops,” which has brought established business processes, technology, and multidisciplinary expertise (“non-lawyers”) to the industry. While this is good delivery hygiene, it is not a paradigm shift or law new. Fit-for-purpose technology investments and design should be part of a strategy that aims to improve legal service delivery, client impact, and outcomes, not just reduce cost.
The future of the legal industry is less like today’s law firm or in-house legal department and more resembles its corporate customers and society at large. This new industry will be more holistically diverse–cognitively, demographically, and culturally–and will employ a broader range of workforce skills, including creativity, tech and data proficiency, empathy, collaboration, and integration with other enterprise business units. This integrated, customer-centric, platform-based delivery structure will enable the legal industry to provide accessible, affordable, on-demand, scalable, legal products and services at the speed of business and society. It will also erode artificial distinctions between provider sources, erasing the lawyer-created barriers that impede collaboration and limit supply chain economics. It is time to move forward with law new.