Is this the start of a shift away from traditional law firms?

Reading a New York Times Opinion piece, “Everyone Needs Legal Help. That Doesn’t Mean Everyone Needs a Lawyer” got me thinking…

People are starting to realise that you don’t need a lawyer to resolve a legal issue.

So, isn’t it time for traditional law firms to rethink, review and retest the market and, most importantly, keep their eyes wide open to what lies ahead?

Blockbuster died. Toys R Us faltered. Kodak struggled. Businesses that refuse to adapt and evolve, fail. As customers have demanded changes to how they book holidays, hail taxis, order takeaways and do their shopping, why wouldn’t there be a demand for a change to professional services? Why wouldn’t clients want cheaper, faster, more process-driven legal outcomes? 

And yet many law firms continue to resist change. They continue to protect their territory, believing… hoping, that things ‘won’t change too much’.

The facts are, however, that seismic shifts are happening….and happening quickly…and reshaping the legal profession in the UK. The alternative legal services market generated nearly £9 billion in revenue in 2017. Nearly one in two corporations now buy in legal services from alternative providers and this change is disrupting the long-standing supplier/client relationships.

Legal start-ups, specialist providers, accountancy and consulting firms are nimble and dynamic. They have a greater reliance on technology and they employ multi-disciplinary teams, including freelancers. They can solve business challenges that raise legal issues quickly and efficiently. And clients are loving it.

If traditional law firms are to avoid joining the list of endangered species, and on the soon to be extinct shelf, they must wake up to the new market reality. They must accept that clients’ needs are changing, competition is virulent and consumer choice is growing exponentially. 

Adapt or die. Don’t be the next Blockbuster…