A New Law, like many new initiatives and concepts in business, can sometimes feel fuzzy. In fact, it’s often hard to tell what exactly it means, even for the companies that use the term to market their own products. The term itself, after all, has no official definition, though it is commonly used by the startup companies and law firm subsidiaries augmenting traditional legal services to describe their own innovation-based offerings. Generally, it’s meant to convey the idea that law is now being conducted through a different and exciting pathway, though how much newness is in play differs from company to company.
The pace of change in businesses and society at large has made it a challenge for the legal industry to keep up. Many firms and in-house teams struggle to find the right balance between embracing change, improving efficiency and delivering client value. The need for the legal function to adapt has become a major focus of business leaders and an important driver of innovation in the sector.
To survive, the legal industry must evolve to more closely resemble its corporate customers and society at large. This means that its workforce will be more diverse–cognitively, demographically, culturally and experientially. It will be more team-oriented and customer-centric, with a greater emphasis on collaboration. It will also be more integrated across the enterprise, with the legal function working collaboratively with other business units and other industries.
Moreover, the industry must shift from its legacy delivery model and reliance on outdated legal education and self-regulation to one that is more customer-centric and driven by the need for business impact that produces high net promoter scores. This will require legal providers to adopt the same level of customer integration and fluidity that their business partners are deploying in their digital transformations, including horizontal and vertical collaborations, joint ventures, managed service arrangements, and other innovative solutions.
Data agility is essential for the legal function to deliver on its promise to drive significant value for business, eliminate or avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, free-up management time to focus on core objectives, and identify and capture opportunities. The legal function will have this through its mastery of key elements of data agility, such as capture, unification, applied human and artificial intelligence, visualization, real-time refresh, decision driving, and global business integration.
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