Competition in the legal services industry has rapidly increased in the past few years, leading many commentators to talk about a fundamental reformation of the way legal services are currently provided, of particular interest is the evolution of legal services from the purely bespoke to the commoditised.
There are three main drivers of such a change.
- The ‘more-for-less’ challenge, which refers to the growing number of clients demanding more efficient legal services for less money.
- The gradual liberalisation of the profession, referring to the alternative business structures model.
- The vast improvements in information technology and, in particular, ‘big data’ and artificial intelligence, which offer significant efficiencies for the profession.
Other drivers include growing competition from the ‘big four’ accounting firms and the spread of legal service providers using alternatives to the traditional law firm business model.
Innovations, particularly those transforming legal services into standardised or packaged services – are likely to yield significant benefits for consumers in terms of cost, quality and access to justice. They also offer substantial opportunities for those firms who are able to deliver real value to consumers. For traditional law firms seeking to become market leaders or stay atop their market they must overcome the conservative, risk-adverse culture that seems to pervade the profession, and may need to deconstruct their structure and pricing models.