Five emerging faces are changing the competitive landscape of the legal industry in permanent ways. Is your practice sustainable?
The new faces of the legal industry include:
1) The Ultra Profitable Firm — The handful of AmLaw firms whose profits per partner are so great that they are able to leverage their buying power to poach the best talent in the market and capture the largest share of bet-the-company litigation.
2) The Mega Global Firm — A set of law firms that is buying up geographic market share. While all but nine AmLaw 100 firms have non-U.S. offices, there are only 10 that are truly international based on the distribution of lawyers on the ground. Of those, there are six that have reached mega status — with upwards of 2000 or more attorneys.
3) The Non-Law Firm — Increasingly non-law firm services providers are filling gaps in the market that lawyers just aren’t serving. These include leveraging people, process and technology to conduct routinized tasks more cost-effectively, as well as providing business, technology or compliance/risk mitigation consulting to limit the need for lawyers.
4) The Efficient Lawyer — These are lawyers that have learned that to sustain a thriving practice, they most work more efficiently. They have taken a lesson from the non-law firm in some cases. In others, they are leveraging the non-law firm to provide greater value to their clients and increase their own profitability.
5) The Pragmatic Client — No conversation about the legal industry is complete without a discussion about the client. Today’s decision-makers have different priorities when it comes to managing legal spend and lawyers need to start listening.
Over the coming weeks. Law Firm Transitions will explore each emerging face of the legal industry. In the meantime, as you evaluate your ability to remain competitive in the new legal market, consider the following questions:
- Do I/does my firm have a true value proposition that differentiates me even when I’m being compared to other lawyers who do the same thing I do?
- Do I/does my firm have a defined target market or do I try to be all things to all people?
- Do I/does my firm truly understand the specific pain points – legal and non-legal – my clients commonly experience when they call on me for help?
- Do I/does my firm regularly identify the trends and issues that occur time and time again when working with clients, and do I leverage this insight to add value to my clients?
- Am I/is my firm confident the current way I deliver legal services and the fees I charge will be sustainable over time, even if the work I do becomes price sensitive and new technologies change the perception of what I do?