Law new is an idea gaining popularity in legal circles. It’s a new focus for law firms, something that allows them to provide legal services in ways they never could before and to do so more cost-effectively. Law new can encompass a wide variety of concepts, from forming alliances with non-lawyer businesses to offering innovative fee structures. It’s also about thinking strategically rather than tactically, focusing on providing value to clients instead of just meeting client needs as they arise.
Legal buyers have long demanded change, but legacy legal stakeholders’ inertia and fear of disruption stifles the process. The change required is not technological, but transformational in nature. It requires a paradigm shift to deliver on societal and consumer expectations of legal services, driven by new delivery methodologies. It requires collaboration between large legal buyers, savvy legal tech providers and their multidisciplinary, agile teams that include “legal techies,” process/project managers and allied professionals. It requires a new mindset that prioritizes customer impact and enhanced experience over internal efficiency, which is the focus of current legal operations (legal ops) initiatives.
The “law new” movement aims to break through this stalemate, and it will be led by two principal sources: (1) large-scale legal buyer activism; and (2) corporate Goliaths with the brand, capital, know-how, technology platforms, customer-centricity, data mastery, agile, customer-facing workforces and footprint in/familiarity with the legal industry. These are the companies that will disrupt the legal landscape by deploying their resources to create solutions that meet the needs of large, forward-thinking legal consumers and deliver on their broader strategic objectives.
Most ideas for law new are introduced as legislative proposals called bills, which are labeled H.R. (House of Representatives) or S. (Senate) and numbered in the order they’re introduced during each Congress. Bills that address matters of general public interest become Public Laws, or Acts, after they’re passed by both the House and the Senate and signed by the President.
A recent example of a law new is California’s law to require retail stores to post salary ranges for all positions. This will allow job applicants to determine if a company pays its employees fairly, although intense business opposition blocked similar provisions that would have required companies to publish pay data broken down by gender and race. Such collaborative efforts across enterprises, functions and even industries are essential to the speed, complexity and fluidity of today’s business environment, which often requires solutions that cannot be mastered by any one function, enterprise or stakeholder group on its own.