This Legal Futures Special Report, published in association with Thomson Reuters, looks at how SME law firms are driving change in the delivery of legal services. It finds that to some extent innovation is a state of mind, and structure is secondary to how your run your business, but the availability of alternative business structure (ABS) status and the actual or threatened entry of new competition has focused minds, and in some cases becoming an ABS has proved of direct value.
The report also highlights the central role technology is having, with firms using it either to improve what is already in place today or to enable the delivery of services in new ways. But while there was an acceptance that lawyers have only scratched the surface of what technology has to offer, law remains as much art as science – technology only takes us so far. Where the trends of technology and business structures are pushing us is to focus brains on the real legal work, not the process that can just as efficiently be handled by less-qualified staff or advanced systems.
The report concludes: “The innovators recognise these shifts – for those who do not, a rude awakening may not be far away.”