New Law is Fresh Ice on a Stale Cake
A lot of hype surrounds “new law.” It’s an industry term that covers a wide variety of ideas and practices. It can mean anything from a law firm working with underserved communities to developing strategies that have never been a part of the legal landscape before. In some cases, the idea is simply to embrace technology in a way that wasn’t previously available.
But while many of these initiatives deserve the attention they are getting, law new is not a replacement for existing legal practice. It’s just a different path to the same goal: better serving clients. It’s also a different way to think about the role of the legal function and how it can work with other functions within an enterprise.
The reality is that law is a process of constant change. Those changes are driven by the speed of business and the complexities of society. The pace of change requires collaboration that transcends individual businesses, industries, or functions. In the most effective business models, the legal function works with cross-functional colleagues to identify and mitigate or eliminate risks before they become costly and prevent opportunities from being realized.
In the past, this process has included a heavy reliance on legal tech to deliver legal services and reduce cost. The resulting change was called legal ops or ALSPs, and while it’s been good delivery hygiene for the industry, it has not produced the paradigm shift needed to deliver high customer impact and enhanced experience.
Legal buyers will refocus on the delivery of impactful, value-based legal services. They will demand legal providers prioritize customer/end-user outcomes, rather than preserving legacy delivery models with outdated education, self-regulation, and dispute resolution mechanisms. And the legal industry will reflect its corporate customers and society at large by becoming more cognitively diverse, demographically inclusive, culturally varied, empathetic, technologically proficient, and agile.
The driving forces behind this evolution include large-scale legal buyer activism and the rise of corporate Goliaths who have the brand, capital, know-how, customer-centricity, data mastery, tech platforms, agile, multidisciplinary workforces, and footprint in/familiarity with the legal industry to reverse-engineer existing paradigms that continue to reward them. These factors are making the new law concept an inevitability and one that should be considered by all legal stakeholders. It’s a path that could lead to significant growth for all of us.