The law industry’s mantra of “law new” is fresh icing on an old cake. It is not enough to drive transformational change and generate value for clients, especially given the pace of business change and breadth of social change. Law new must be the catalyst for a paradigm shift that aligns legal delivery to customer impact and enhanced experience. Changing this requires an internal focus on efficiency as a building block for innovative, client-facing paradigm change.
The current legal industry paradigm is based on a law firm-centric model of fee generation and profit preservation. This paradigm is a vestige of an outdated economic model that rewards law firm and in-house lawyer compensation structures, rather than the outcomes that drive customer impact and a high net promoter score.
In this environment, large corporate buyers are demanding greater transparency and efficiency from their law firms and in-house teams. This is driving consolidation by horizontal and vertical integration, joint ventures, managed services contracts, and other collaborative mechanisms. This trend will accelerate as companies seek to meet their growing cost takeout targets.
As a result of these forces, the next generation of leaders will have different expectations of their law firms and in-house departments. This will lead to new legal models shaped by the needs of customers and society-at-large. These models will have a purpose-driven, integrated delivery structure that sources agile, fluid, on-demand resources with verifiable, material expertise and experience. They will be powered by a scalable, data-backed technology platform. Profit will be derived from customer impact and net promoter score, not adherence to legacy law school models and fee schedules.
As this paradigm shift takes shape, the role of law in society will revert back to its original purpose: protecting individuals and societies from those who would do them harm. This includes defending the rights of people who may hold minority opinions in the face of a majority that is not receptive to their viewpoints. It will also continue to play a vital role in enforcing the rule of law and ensuring that all citizens have access to the courts for justice. This includes upholding laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. In addition, the judiciary will continue to defend the rule of law when it is harmed by an unconstitutional or unreasonable governmental action. This is the only way to ensure that the Supreme Court continues to uphold its Founders’ vision of a government of, by, and for the people. For more information on NYC’s laws and rules, please visit the Laws of the City website.