Morning Briefing: Rapid change creating a more dynamic legal profession

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Rapid change is creating a more dynamic legal profession
Rapid change is creating a “more dynamic and commoditised” legal profession which will bring in new players but also see some leave. That’s according to a new study by legal process automation firm Zylpha. Its report on the legal landscape suggests that innovation and technology are becoming essential parts of the profession. Eighty-nine per cent of respondents cite cost control as the main concern for 2015 and although revenue is predicted to increase, so is competition. Investment in technology (78 per cent) and marketing to win new clients (74 per cent) are also high on the list of priorities. The report also concludes that lock-step is one of a number of practices that are becoming unsustainable in a changing landscape.
 
Are law firms ready for increased competition from non-legal services?
With more non-legal entities providing legal services a new poll has found that many law firms are ill-prepared to deal with the competition. Two thirds of respondents to a poll by InfoTrack/Chilli IQ say they are concerned by non-legal firms providing legal services and 25 per cent say they have lost work to such entities. However, two thirds also say they would not consider merging with a non-legal sector partner. The largest proportion of respondents (37.5 per cent) say they don’t know why law firms may be losing work to other entities, 26 per cent believe it could be due to better client management and 16 per cent suggest it is pricing.
 
Pinsent Masons hires financial regulation head from Addleshaws
Pinsent Masons has announced that it has hired the head of the financial regulation team at Addleshaw Goddard. David Heffron leaves Addleshaws after 16 years and will be tasked with growing the financial regulation practice at Pinsents. His replacement will be Amanda Hulme.
 
A&O named top law firm in Dubai awards
Allen & Overy has retained its position as ‘Law Firm of the Year’ at the Islamic Finance News Awards. It’s the fourth year that the firm has won the accolade with the awarding body stating that the firm has “held its ground to retain the top spot by a comfortable margin.” Overall the firm won 17 awards at the ceremony in Dubai on Monday. 

 
  • Marcus McCarthy on 4/03/2015 9:48:40 AM

    It is time for the Law Society to seek legislative change to clamp down on non-legal entities providing legal services, as it is now rife. Even the lawyer placement agencies popping up globally should be regulated as law firms as they are in fact delivering legal services. This is why in the 'NewLaw' space Nexus Law Group elected to focus on a redesign of the law firm structure itself and base its lawyer networks from owned and staffed law firm hubs, dispersed geographically. We felt that model brought the most system and practice efficacy to the independent contractor model now emerging. We could have structured as a virtual or a placement agency but we chose not to because we believe this is the way law contracting should be structured legitimately. We believe commoditisation and process efficiency is a good thing but only if it is coming off a fully resolved and regulated law practice backbone, so as not to compromise the standards of the services being provided. There is no substitute for experience and it is not good for the industry if senior specialist skill is diluted and devalued by commoditisation of legal services. The profession needs to seriously consider the landscape of the industry, defend its legitimate ground from competitors outside the industry. Dare I say it, accountants, Financial Planners, licenced conveyancers, equity investors and recruitment agencies are cottoning on on to their ability to earn money from the delivery of professional legal services, at the expense of real lawyers, with no ramifications or regulation. It is time the Law society stepped up and defined what a practice is and who or what can practice law & give legal advice. That's what the medical and other professions do, why shouldn't the legal profession do the same. On the flip side of that coin, legitimate 'NewLaw' structures should be supported and not be bureaucratically hamstrung by archaic and insular thought processes of regulators. We should not stifle industry innovation, just ensure it does not end up in a race to the bottom or in the hands of non-lawyers.

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