Great article in the Legal Intelligencer on how law firms are changing their business models and practices to keep up with the pace of change in the legal industry and to meet changing client demands.
Some key takeaways:
- even firms that are smaller (100 lawyers), older and not thought of as innovators are doing things differently, like creating outside board of legal industry expert advisers, investment funds for the firms to support innovative ideas, and creating spaces within their offices so startups and entrepreneurs can interact.
- firms have largely eschewed innovation and have not traditionally offered the breadth of services consultants do. But, they are uniquely situated to do so because of the scope of their business, political, philanthropic, global and local connections.
- Firms of the future will have more professional resources embedded within to help identify what the client needs (and not just their legal needs).
- Firms will need more people who are trained managers and understand business needs and generally be more business-minded.
- Demographic trends will create a shortage of highly qualified lawyers to assume leadership positions at firms as well as a shortage of associates entering firms. This will create increased competition between firms and their clients for legal talent. Talent strategies, including professional development, advanced leadership training and retention programs, will become increasingly important.