March 27, 2017
Law Firms Balance Internal and External Threats in New Reality
It’s been several years since the Great Recession put the power back into the hands of the buyer of legal services. The movement probably started before then, but in any case, it feels like we should be past the tipping point when it comes to changes made to law firm business models, client fee structures and legal technology, to name a few industry pillars. While we don’t attempt to answer why we haven’t reached that point yet, we continue to track the disruptive trends in the market that are driving change in our 2017 Predictive Legal Trends Report. We found that trends — including mounting cost pressures and the decline in law school admissions — are accelerating, and that their impact is increasing. Law firms continue to see a wane in demand, which creates additional pricing pressure on those that can no longer afford to ignore the industry’s new reality. Broadly, we found traditional law firms still face significant internal and external threats, and clients continue to expect “more for less,” requiring firms to revisit their business models, offerings and ultimately their value propositions. All in all, 2017 is taking shape as a year that will see law firms collaborating closely with their clients primarily to meet their needs, but secondarily to head off the competition – not just from traditional competitors but the emerging class of alternative legal service provider upstarts that threaten their business. And while the results of the U.S. presidential election and ramifications of Brexit will no doubt keep Big Law busy for the foreseeable future, smart firms recognize the opportunity to help clients find clarity amid unprecedented global complexity. For further information, check out the full 2017 Predictive Legal Trends Report.