Welcome to the new-look Legal Futures, refreshed and redesigned to be mobile optimised. We have run enough stories highlighting the importance of mobile optimisation, and we are finally practising what we preach.
Legal Futures has been a fixture in the legal world for more than eight years now, in which time readership has grown and grown by word of mouth and the power of social media.
The legal publishing world is not the easiest for an independent website to operate in, given the proliferation of major publishers and institutions with the financial wherewithal to employ lots of reporters and other editorial and commercial staff.
I believe that through the quality of our journalism, our focus on the key issues facing lawyers and other operators in the market, and a reputation for fairness and accuracy, Legal Futures and our sister site Litigation Futures punch above their weight. We regularly run stories that leave those bigger publishers scrabbling to follow up.
Legal Futures essentially grew out of the Legal Services Act 2007. We continue to focus on the mood of innovation it galvanised and the regulatory regime it introduced that has proven far from perfect. But for the Brexit vote, we would now be in the throes of another review of regulation (Lord Chancellor Michael Gove had signed off on it shortly before the referendum), and it is bound to happen eventually.
There are those who consider alternative business structures (ABSs) to be, if not a failure, then underwhelming at best. That view – usually expressed by those who couldn’t stand the idea of them in the first place and can’t wait to declare themselves right – falters against the fact that there are now more than 1,000 ABSs in England and Wales.
Yes, a good number of them are traditional firms that have made their FD a partner but otherwise carry on as usual, but over the past eight years we have reported on and showcased at our conferences literally hundreds of firms that have started up offering new services or new ways of providing them. An increasing number have taken in external investment or one kind or another.
Indeed, I doubt Legal Futures would be here today if the market had not responded.
They haven’t taken the market by storm, but the legal market was never going to change overnight. If you look back at the progress made in the past decade, before the Act came into force, then suddenly the pace and scale of change looks far greater. And this is before the digital delivery of legal services has really got off the ground.
Today is a particularly good day to make the argument with top 25 firm DWF revealing that it is eyeing up an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. That would make it the sixth so far – and third in a matter of months – and by far the largest. It would make other big firms here and abroad sit up.
So our design may be refreshed, but our purpose is not. We will continue to report the news and express the views that are shaping the future of law.