In the world of legal services, the practice of new law is a rapidly expanding area that deserves careful consideration by every firm. A well-thought out plan exploiting this concept can help any firm uncover a significant source of revenue and a fresh way to do business.
The rapidity of business change and the breadth of social change create significant opportunities for firms that are willing to take a risk. The legal function can be an important player in this collaborative process because it is often the hub of a network of internal and external stakeholders, clients, suppliers, and other allied professionals.
Collaboration is a fundamental element of the current dynamic business model. The pharmaceutical industry offers a classic example, with multiple companies joining forces to develop the Covid-19 vaccine. The automotive industry has also embraced a new model, with competitors like GM, Ford, and Honda routinely working together in the areas of research and development.
Legal consumers are demanding collaboration in their interactions with providers, and some firms are responding. Large law firms are embracing integration that leverages infrastructure, pools expertise and data, provides for shared service delivery models, and meets rising cost takeout targets.
Several of these trends have converged to produce a movement that some are calling “new law.” The term has been used to describe an array of innovative ideas in legal delivery, but it is hard to pin down what exactly this includes. Some see it as a new approach to pricing that is based on the value that a legal matter delivers. Others see it as a new service that is crafted to meet specific client needs.
A third view is that it represents a change in paradigm, moving the focus from internal efficiency to customer impact and enhanced experience. The paradigm shift can be facilitated by legal technology, but it is not driven by it. Instead, it is facilitated by fit-for-purpose technology that is embedded in a larger strategic plan for improved legal delivery.
For instance, in California, the recently passed law requiring employers to include salary ranges for job postings is considered new law. The goal is to make it easier for job seekers to know how much they should expect to be paid.
The future of law will likely include all of these aspects, and more. The challenge for legacy legal stakeholders is to move beyond their current mindsets and embrace a new era of legal delivery that is more collaborative, transparent, affordable, accessible, efficient, data-backed, and solutions-based. This new paradigm will serve the best interests of legal consumers and society-at-large, rather than preserving old models with outdated education, self-regulation, and profit preservation as their primary goals. This is the essence of new law.