The rapid pace of business and society has made it hard to render an accurate portrait of what law new will look like. However, a few defining characteristics are beginning to take shape.
In essence, new law is a legal industry initiative to deliver services in innovative ways that meet customer needs and expectations. This includes leveraging technology to create efficient delivery structures, developing strategies that are not traditionally part of legal service offerings and offering more value to clients. It also encompasses new client service models and delivering legal services through a variety of delivery structures, including alternative legal services providers (ALSPs).
Law firm partners, senior management and staff will need to embrace this change and support the evolution of the legal industry in order to maintain their competitive position. In some cases, this may require a significant investment in technology and retraining. But it will be well worth the effort if firms want to preserve their revenue and profit margins and ensure they remain relevant and viable.
Many legal firms have already started to incorporate some elements of new law in their services offerings and processes. For example, they are experimenting with different pricing models and exploring the potential of collaborative technologies to streamline the production of complex legal documents. Those initiatives are all great examples of how a legal firm can start to implement new law and create a more effective, cost-efficient and customer-friendly approach to its services.
However, it is important to note that all of these changes should not be considered part of the new law movement. A more accurate and appropriate term would be legal innovation. While these are great and positive steps forward, they still do not represent the emergence of a paradigm shift in legal delivery and customer impact.
Until legal delivery undergoes this shift, the only true benefits of these changes will be increased efficiency and cost savings. The new law movement is a step toward that, but it is only one small part of the larger change process that will see law evolve into something far more modern and useful to legal consumers and society-at-large.
In order for the legal industry to truly become new law, it will have to move away from its legacy economic model based on input and focus on providing customers with meaningful, valuable and relevant outcomes that produce high net promoter scores. This will only be achieved if legal providers shift from a lawyer-centric model to a customer-centric model that includes data agility and multidisciplinary expertise from outside the legal function. Then, legal services will truly be innovative. This is the new law that will help to serve and protect legal consumers and society-at-large. The only question is whether legal stakeholders have the courage to take that leap. If they do not, the industry will be left behind. Those who do will be the winners of this revolution. The others will have to re-invent themselves or be consumed and replaced.