As lawyers struggle to keep pace with rapid changes in business and society, a new idea has emerged. It’s law new, and it means doing legal work in different ways that can create better results for clients. It can mean working with underserved communities, for example, or coming up with strategies that have not been a part of traditional law practice in the past.
It can also involve using technology in different ways, and it can include other kinds of innovations that change the way a law firm operates. For example, a law firm might use flat-fee billing, which can make a significant difference in a client’s ability to manage risk and stay within budget. In this way, a law firm can do more for its clients, and that can lead to greater success for the law firm itself.
Ultimately, law new involves a more holistically diverse and collaborative approach to legal services delivery. It will more closely resemble the businesses and societies that it serves and it will be a more customer-centric industry.
To do that, it will adopt a fluid, collaborative model of delivery. This will include internal integration, erasing artificial, lawyer-created distinctions between provider sources; collaboration among law firms and in-house legal functions as well as with law companies; a unified legal supply chain that leverages infrastructure, pools expertise, reduces costs, and meets cost takeout targets; and a shift to customer impact and enhanced experience as the primary drivers of legal service delivery.
The New York Times writes about new laws that went into effect on July 1. Among them are: a ban on drones over state and local correctional facilities, allowing police chiefs to set curfews, requiring age verification for online access to adult websites, and enforcing a ban on “swatting” calls made to 911.
A new law will allow local law enforcement to impose curfews on certain areas and inmates if there is an imminent threat of civil commotion or disturbance. It will also prohibit the possession of weapons inside a state or local correctional facility or juvenile correctional center.
In the past, law new tended to focus on finding cheaper ways to deliver services by cutting salaries and reducing the use of full time staff or by working in less expensive operating locations. But now the emphasis is on integrating legal service delivery with the business and social needs of clients, creating a strategic plan that includes fit-for-purpose technology designed to drive customer/end-user impact and enhance experience and outcomes.
Legal technology has become an end unto itself for many “legal techies.” But, it should be considered just one component of a more integrated legal service delivery plan that is reverse-engineered from the end-user perspective. That’s what the future of law will look like. To succeed, it will require a broad range of skills and perspectives. It will need strategists, process/project managers, data analysts, and multidisciplinary experts (non-lawyers). It will also need the right kind of leadership.