Law new is fresh icing on the stale cake of an outdated legal industry. Don’t expect legacy legal stakeholders–especially those nearing retirement–to reverse-engineer existing paradigms that continue to reward them. Instead, the new law will be shaped by large-scale legal buyer activism and by corporate Goliaths with the brand, capital, know-how, customer-centricity, data mastery, tech platforms, agile, multidisciplinary workforces and footprint in/familiarity with the legal industry to lead.
The legal industry’s staleness stems from the lack of a paradigm shift from provider to customer-centricity. When that happens, the legal industry’s focus will revert to better serving legal consumers and society-at-large, not preserving legacy delivery models, obsolete legal education, self-congratulatory awards, and profit preservation. The legal industry will become a fluid, integrated platform-based delivery structure from which agile, fluid, and on demand resources with verifiable, material expertise and experience can be sourced. The result will be a purpose-driven, customer-centric, data-backed, and tech-enabled model fueled by output and net promoter score.
In the new law, collaboration will be essential to surviving and thriving in the rapidly changing business environment. The speed, complexity and fluidity of businesses and significant global challenges require an approach that cannot be mastered by one person, function, enterprise, stakeholder group, or nation. The legal function will play a critical role in the collaborative process, whether it’s partnering with other law firms, internal legal departments, or cross-functional enterprise colleagues to identify and proactively address risk, accelerate business opportunities, or free-up management to focus on core objectives.
As more companies go bankrupt, it has become more common for them to use a bankruptcy strategy known as a “freezeout transaction” that dilutes the reorganized stock issued to senior claimants, allowing the controlling shareholder to buy out the other shareholders and take control of the company. These strategies have a negative impact on the market’s liquidity and reduce bankruptcy reform’s effectiveness, but they can be circumvented by implementing certain changes in Chapter 11 practice. This Article proposes these changes and argues that they will help ensure that Chapter 11 cases are efficient, effective, and comprehensible.