The survey notes law firms continue to face intense competition from new, alternative and traditional sources, including clients, which have increasingly taken more work in-house for the last several years.
What is the state of alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) in 2017? The proverbial legal answer – “it depends” – could well be an appropriate answer. This is because credible arguments can be made both for and against AFAs.
In many law firms case management technology has been traditionally perceived as a workflow solution almost exclusively for the high-volume and low-margin category of legal work.
What role will the cloud have in the law firm technology stack of the future? It’s a challenging question to answer because the legal community is divided on the benefits and drawbacks of the cloud. What one law firm sees as a benefit, another cites as a risk.
The legal market is enduring drastic change. The business model, the source of competition and the technology that enables the business of law, are all evolving. While there’s been a great deal of academic emphasis placed on preparing emerging lawyers for such the change – practicing lawyers have been “largely overlooked.”
That’s according to Mark A. Cohen who published his ideas in Forbes: Legal Education’s Other Challenge: Retraining Practicing Lawyers […]
What should legal services cost on a per square foot basis? That’s the sort of pricing pressure a real estate development client once placed on a large law firm – and amazingly the firm was able to accommodate the client.
Real estate clients just “think” in terms of square footage and in that industry, pricing often varies by volume. As a result, the client couldn’t understand why legal work for […]
The vast majority of law firm leaders believe pricing pressures, competition and the need for efficient legal service delivery are permanent trends. That’s according to the 2016 Law Firms in Transition report by Altman Weil.
In other words, this is the new normal and demand for legal services will never return to the pre-2008 recession levels. If the market isn’t growing, then it’s essential to maintain profits through market share […]
I’d estimate the average person uses just 15% or so of the capability available in a conventional word processor, spreadsheet or presentation software. This means upwards of 85% of the available functionality in desktop tools found in the typical productivity suite goes unused, oftentimes needlessly complicating tasks and confusing users.
This happens in legal technology sectors as well. In product management, we refer to this as feature bloat. We lose […]
Law Firms, Legal Tech and Remaining Curious: Five Questions with Aderant President Deane Price
The legal industry is in a period of evolution. While we’re not going back to the pre-recession days of annual rate hikes – this isn’t the new normal either. The business of law will continue to evolve, according to our own top executive Deane S. Price.
Earlier this year, Aderant announced Deane was promoted and taking […]
There’s an old adage in marketing that half the budget is wasted, we just don’t know which half. The same might be true for law firm lateral hiring, as stated by a recent ALM survey which found a disconnect between the goals and results of these programs.
Most law firms say lateral hiring is important to growth, however, about half of these hires deliver below expectations. More specifically, the survey […]
Practice management is the true backbone of a large law firm’s technology. From time and billing to invoices and reporting, it is the system on which a law firm manages its business, and also encompasses a lot of the ways they interact with their clients.
The decision to procure a practice management solution is obviously significant given the central role it plays in both the day-to-day and strategic operations. However, […]
The purpose of outside counsel guidelines, or billing guidelines, ought to be to strengthen the relationships between corporate counsel and law firms. Such guidelines are intended to be a level set that establishes an agreement between client and service provider for legal value – the best possible outcome at an efficient price.
Unfortunately, these guidelines have a tendency to devolve into mechanisms primarily focused on cost-cutting – a long list […]
In 2017, continuing education in technology will no longer be optional for lawyers in Florida. New changes just went into effect requiring training in technology as part of the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Standards.
The modification “requires attorneys to complete 33 hours of CLE over a three-year period, with three hours in an approved technology program,” according to reporting from Big Law Business by Bloomberg.
While Florida is joining the […]
The beginning of a new year is an appropriate time for both reflection and forward thinking. I read through a number of newly published studies, in part, to reflect on the state of the business of law – and what it means for the coming year. In considering the sum, it is apparent to me the trends in people, process and pricing all share technology as a common denominator.
Many times we are quick to dismiss millennials – which Pew Research defines as those born after 1980 – as idle, disloyal and entitled.
“Countless articles have depicted millennials as a spoiled ‘everybody gets a trophy,’ ‘special snowflakes’ group reared by overly involved ‘helicopter’ parents,” wrote MP McQueen, in an article titled Here Come the Big Law Millennials for the American Lawyer.
“But studies and interviews indicate that millennials themselves resist […]
We bank online, we shop online, we work online, some of us even find love online. Increasingly, we’re not just doing these things online, we are also doing it on the move. And so too are lawyers.
The trend has been steadily tipping toward mobile for some time: In 2014, we began spending more time accessing the internet on mobile devices than on desktops. In 2015 Google reported more searches […]
By the year 2020 smart machines and legal process outsourcing (LPO) will “radically disrupt” the legal profession.
That was the prediction first put forth by market research firm Gartner, Inc. in a 2014 report called Legal IT Scenario, 2020. The project examined four possible, perhaps even controversial, scenarios affecting the buyers of legal services.
As we look ahead to 2017, we draw ever closer to the once seemingly distant 2020. The […]
The promise of lateral hiring is accelerated growth. For that reason, hiring more laterals consistently ranks among the top law firm growth strategies.
A recent study published by Robert Half Legal found that nearly a quarter of lawyers surveyed said their firms “will increase its hiring of partner- or senior-level attorneys in the next two years.” In addition, more than half of the attorneys in the survey believe lateral hiring […]
A decline in your realization rate can sometimes be indicative of larger problems in your firm and, as the ABA Law Practice Magazine notes, time and effort written-off by your firm can have a number of causes. Sometimes “it represents time invested that is not well spent; in other situations, it is time that cannot be justified based on the intrinsic value of the work or the arrangement with […]
With the focus that design-led thinking has on removing personal biases, working more collaboratively, embracing ambiguity, rapid experimentation, and having a bias towards action, organisations are now adopting Design Thinking as a way to allow for more integrated thinking and a more adaptive strategic mindset.
If you’re an equity partner in a law firm, it’s likely that you’re making more money than you were a few years ago, but remain unsatisfied with your firm’s partner compensation system and would welcome changes. Recent surveys of law firm partners show fairly similar patterns in these responses, even if the partner compensations systems are completely different.
Mentoring is a “pay it forward” activity – you don’t want to just mentor people, you want to create future mentors. In this special two-part Aderant Think Tank post, CIO New Zealand Editor Divina Paredes interviews Caroline Jones, Aderant’s Manager of User Experience.
Young lawyers are often advised to “project value” when dealing with clients. More specifically, when interacting with clients either directly or through billing statements, lawyers should make sure that clients understand the purpose of the work conducted and why it’s important. While this message is not new, the importance of defining value in the client relationship has never been greater.
Non-equity partner positions became incredibly popular with firms over the past 20 years, so much so that by 2006 about 80% of the 200 largest U.S. firms employed non-equity partners.
The business ran for decades on the same model, with few coherent strategies for growth, marketing or pricing. Executives were asked to wear many hats in their enterprises, including professional expertise, sales, marketing, human resources and management. Customer demand never […]
Several years ago, an article in the ABA’s Law Practice Today asked us to imagine a global industry managed by “part-time leaders with minimal business training.”
The business ran for decades on the same model, with few coherent strategies for growth, marketing or pricing. Executives were asked to wear many hats in their enterprises, including professional expertise, sales, marketing, human resources and management. Customer demand never wavered and profits continued […]
Nearly every day we hear news of some new, large-scale cyber hack. For instance, the recent OPM database hack compromised personal information for over 21 million past and current federal employees and contractors. This attack, along with those on Target, Home Depot and several large insurance companies, have certainly brought the issue of cybersecurity to the forefront. Opinion polls consistently report the risk of a cyber-attack as one of […]
While firms likely won’t be relying solely on data analytics for their partnership-level hiring decisions any time soon, advancements in business intelligence technology is providing some additional key metrics for this process.
When we think of automation technology affecting industries, we tend to associate it with lower-skill jobs that can adequately be replaced with robotics or software.
Despite its reputation as a slow adopter of change, the legal industry is beginning to implement new technology at an increasing rate. During our recent survey of legal professionals in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, we found that 98 percent of law firms undertook one or more technology initiatives in 2014.
At larger law firms, pricing professionals—sometimes called Pricing Officers—are in high demand. According to Considine Legal Search, 76% of big firms now employ some sort of pricing officer, and 44% of these positions were created in the last two years. They also found that a bidding war for these positions is underway, with 28% reporting compensation packages of $250,000 or more.
While law firms face nearly-constant pressure to adapt to the legal industry’s new realities, it’s ironic that this state of affairs has not sent firms into a frenzy of change and disruption. In fact, the pace of change has been slower than would be expected considering the multiple forces in play.
Customer service tends to be an administrative issue handled by someone else. However, in today’s highly competitive legal market, a firm’s customer service level is fast becoming a differentiator between successful firms and all the rest.
Most lawyers, and the firms who employ them, tend to be resistant to change. By nature and training, lawyers think logically. Therefore, any attempt to alter the status quo at a firm is likely to be met with skepticism and challenging questions.