City law firms have quietly embraced innovation in the way they deliver legal services, but are going to have to face up to greater change in the coming years, the first Legal Futures Special Report has concluded.
The report – Innovation in the City: The quiet revolution – is published today in association with Thomson Reuters. It is free to download here.
It is the product of a roundtable held with senior representatives from both established and new legal businesses, as well as a series of interviews with others leading the way in innovation.
It concludes that although much of the headline activity in recent years has been at the high street end of the legal market, many City firms have moved a considerable way in a relatively short period of time, mainly – but not exclusively – in response to the recession and the demands of their clients.
Many are coming up with a range of tactical and strategic responses to the challenges they face, while a smaller number are rethinking the way they do business, and the value and service they provide to clients.
It says: “A common theme is far greater sophistication in the way matters are resourced, with work assigned to the appropriate level of lawyer/non-lawyer, combined with smart technology. We have not reached Professor Richard Susskind’s vision of a matter being decomposed into its constituent parts, with each one resourced as appropriate – whether internally or externally – but the process is making firms focus on what they are good at…
“The technology-enabled revolution in the way we all work will not stop at the door of the City. It is amazing to think of how much practice has changed in the 30 years since computers first started appearing in the most progressive law firms’ offices.”
Sam Steer, Head of Large Law at Thomson Reuters, said the drive to “industrialise” law – as it was put in the report by Marc-Henri Chamay, managing director of e-business at Allen & Overy – is “evident in the demand we’re seeing from our leading law firm clients”.
She said: “If the changes that have taken place in the legal market over the past two years are any indication of what lies ahead, the future of legal services is set to be an exciting one.
“It’s clear from this report that firms are taking varying approaches to innovation. Whether they’re reimagining the law entirely or seeking to make tactical efficiency gains, many are partnering with legal solutions providers like Thomson Reuters to help them work differently.”
Marc-Henri Chamay is among the speakers at next week’s Legal Futures Annual Conference – Era of the Entrepreneur. Tickets are still available. Click here for details.