Editor’s Note: Mark A. Cohen is one of the most cogent commentators on the area of legal business within the dynamic global legal industry. His recent article titled The Legal Industry is Starting to Collaborate — Why Now and Why It Matters shares excellent insight into the kinetics of a changing market and the impact of forces driving global change. A short extract from his just-published Forbes article highlights some of his clear insight into the culture, change, and characteristics facing new-model legal providers.
Extract from an article by Mark A. Cohen as published by Forbes
Law Is No Longer Is Immune To Broader Forces Driving Global Change
Law’s insularity—if not its culture—has changed during the past decade with the convergence of the global financial crisis, technology, and globalism. These powerful global macro-economic forces have produced legal disaggregation, segmentation, and a separation of legal practice from the business of delivering legal services-among, other things. Technology has enabled the creation of new legal delivery models whose DNA resembles business more than law.
Some common characteristics among leading new-model legal providers include: a flatter, corporate organizational structure; an economic model aligned with client value; tech-enabled platforms; focus on net promoter score (client satisfaction); institutional capital; agile, multi-generational, multidisciplinary, diverse workforces; data-driven internal and client-facing operations; proactive risk identification/mitigation; and a customer-centric focus. These providers are often referred to as “legal tech” companies. While they are tech-enabled, technology is only part of a broader, holistic process of customer-centric reorganization that drives enterprise value and responds to enterprise challenges.
Legal industry change is being driven principally by corporate buyers and new-model providers, not traditional law firms. Buyers and new-model providers are generally agnostic as to who performs the work so long as the results are fast, data-driven, risk-appropriate, and cost-effective. That requires “right-sourcing” and, in most instances, collaboration between and among different providers. Discerning corporate legal buyers are less concerned with traditional legal distinctions like in-house versus firm or firm versus legal service provider. In the new legal marketplace, right-sourcing demands more collaboration and more fluidity between and among provider sources.