I’ve spent quite some time contemplating what the answer to this question should be. It’s rather relevant to arch.law as we build a law firm for the future rather than one rooted in the past.
One thing is for sure – law firms can’t stay the same.. or if they do they will miss a huge opportunity to take a great step forward.
From our perspective we think that there are three primary areas where law firms will evolve:
(1) use of technology
(2) premises strategy
(3) remuneration systems for people
(4) dispersed rather than centralised support
The first one of these is obvious. We have already seen a quantum shift towards the use of Microsoft Teams and Zoom. However, many lawyers are using the simply video conferencing facilities of these platforms. We have adopted Teams not just because of it’s simple video conference interface but because of its broader appeal as a collaboration tool. Many lawyers don’t know how you use these tools properly – that’s at raining need that law firms need to be addressed.
It’s clear that the premises strategy of many firms will have to change. It is very unlikely that people will want to remain at home 100% of the time in the future .. but it is also very unlikely that they will want to remain in the office 100% of the time either. Law firms will move toward a hybrid structure which will facilitate much needed collaboration but also provide flexibility supported by technology. One thing is for sure – work spaces need to be somewhere that people really want to go to which will be reflected not just in their fit out but also their location.
I genuinely think that there has to be a big change in the law firm remuneration model. Many lawyers will have realised, as a consequence of the pandemic, that they can provide a great level of service to their clients remotely. There is no need for the large offices or infrastructure that they have often had to pay for as partners in traditional law firms. There is likely to be a very large movement for those lawyers who hold relationships, to platforms such as arch.law that provide them with an opportunity to earn a significantly higher proportion of what they generate in revenue.
The final area is likely to be the movement to many support services being located on a more dispersed basis, potentially even outsourced to cheaper locations overseas. Whilst there will still need to be an element of customer facing activity, a significant proportion of support services have been delivered remotely for the last year which is a huge shift.
I am pleased to have been invited by Colin Ives, partner BDO, as a guest speaker on their webinar for professional services firms on 25th February where i will be discussing these areas in greater detail.