The Legal Industry Is Undergoing More Than a 'Dance Around Change'

, The Am Law Daily

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Industry thought leader Mark Cohen responds to a recent piece in The American Lawyer on why there isn't more change to the business model of legal service delivery.

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  • Greg Cirillo, HCH Legal

    An underlying question for any larger firm is whether they can deal with these challenges as a monolithic unit, or whether should they recognize that they are actually dozens or hundreds of component businesses that need to address their particular market pressures differently. The commercial litigation practice surely has different challenges --and solutions-- than the regulatory counseling practice

  • Jeff Carr - GC, Univar Inc.

    On point as ever -- but the market dynamic Mark describes is the second wave of four. The first wave, the wave of what, dealt with what is the law firm customer, here the in-house team, actually going to do -- and perhaps more importantly, what isn‘t it going to do? The second wave, the wave of who, deals with whether to in-source, out-source, near-shore, offshore, etc. and is largely an exercise in labor and/or profit share arbitrage. The third wave, the wave of how, deals with process optimization, automation, processification. While some in-house departments are looking at this, most haven‘t gotten beyond the second wave - and frankly most LPO‘s haven‘t either. Interestingly, this is the approach of the truly progressive legal service group of LPO‘s Mark talks about. But even that‘s not enough. To drive true change from the customer‘s point of view (and by customer, I mean the Company, not the legal team), next frontier, the fourth wave, is the wave of why. Here‘s the question is why is there the need for the service? What, Who & How is not enough. Optimization should be done in all that we do. But addressing the demand side through prevention of legal problems arising is the only way to have sustainable value creation. NextLaw is all about Destination Zero: where every legal issue must be optimally managed and every legal problem can be prevented.

  • Peter D. Lederer

    As usual, a very thoughtful piece indeed from Mark Cohen. One sentence that caught my eye was this: "The partnership model is fraying in no small part because of a structure that promotes a short-term, transactional approach and jeopardizes sustainability in a rapidly changing marketplace." True indeed, and -- when you reflect -- perhaps baked into the current corporate value system. Not a good harbinger for the future.

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