Experts Surveyed About the Future of the Legal Industry

December 20

In his recent article,  Joe Galotti of Answering Legal asked 10 legal experts about their thoughts on the future of the legal industry.  PerformLaw's Jan Sander was one of the experts surveyed. A sample of the survey questions, along with Jan’s responses, can be found below. To view all of the questions and experts' answers, you can find the full article here. 


 

Answering Legal: 

What will the next wave of legal tech adoption look like? What types of software will attorneys be investing more in over the next few years?

 

Jan Sander:

Cloud-based all-in-one practice management software systems that eliminate the need for on-premise servers are already growing considerably. Over the next few years, most small to mid-sized firms will move into cloud-based environments. Certain functions of an attorney’s job, including timekeeping, legal research, and document review and preparation, will become increasingly automated with workflow and machine learning software.

 


 

Answering Legal: 

How would you like to see law schools evolve over the next decade?

 

Jan Sander:   

Adding basic law firm economics and business management classes to the curriculum would be beneficial for young lawyers to learn and understand how the firms they will eventually work for operate. Lawyers who know how their productivity, administrative and strategic contributions impact the firm’s performance can cooperate more effectively with firm management.


 

Answering Legal: 

What’s the next frontier for attorneys when it comes to marketing?

 

Jan Sander: 

Team-focused marketing systems. The classic rainmaker approach is becoming more difficult to maintain, as the than ever and a lot more interconnected. Clients are increasingly making decisions based on available information instead of relationships. Law firms that embrace a system-oriented approach to business development in which all attorneys contribute through content development and contact management, will have a better chance at securing the long-term sustainability of their client base.


 

Answering Legal: 

Will we see significant changes in the way clients are billed over the next decade?

 

Jan Sander: 

As more law firms embrace data collection and analytics, it will be easier for them to assess case values and staffing. This, in turn, allows for more accurate cost estimates, which enable law firms to offer alternative fee arrangements compared to the billable hour. As legal clients are already putting pressure on firms to provide budgets and estimates, AFAs will become more standard over the coming years.


 

Answering Legal: 

What worries you most about the future of the legal industry?

 

Jan Sander: 

Law firms tend to be slow to adapt to changing technological, social, and economic environments. Some are downright resistant to change. The legal profession has always carried a high reputation, so a portion of the legal industry will remain ignorant that law firms need to become more flexible, dynamic, and efficient in the way they operate. Whether it is fee structure, litigation strategy, business development approach, or file staffing, clients have more bargaining power than they used to, which will lead to a degree of commoditization of legal services. Technological advancements accelerate this development even further. Firms that ignore this reality will sooner or later fall behind.