Legal Efficiency Report

The Times published a special report on Legal Efficiency last week, edited by Joanna Goodman, and with features on the changing times, legal technology and an interview with Professor Richard Susskind on law firm strategy.

As concluded in the report, for the first time ever, law firms require a strategic approach. This involves identifying and focusing on core markets, taking different approaches to routine and specialist work and finding new ways to deliver services efficiently and cost-effectively while developing, enhancing and maintaining trusted client relationships. Legal technology is a key driver and a catalyst for change. Business intelligence and financial analyst tools support strategic decision making and automated processes and work flows boost productivity and mitigate risk. Outsourcing non-core services offer significant cost savings while maintaining profit margins.

An interesting aspect highlighted in the report is the key strategic role for general counsel in shaping the future of legal services. As foreseen by Paul Gilbert, the role of the in-house lawyer has never been more important or the talent more impressive. […] Only the general counsel can fully appreciate what a business need from lawyers, how legal services should be developed, how risk management strategies and processes should filter and facilitate business decisions and how competitive advantage requires the fluid combination of accessibility, speed, judgment and wisdom. […] The time has come for general counsel to be the architects of new services and new models for the delivery of those services; not the tenants in a world driven by the law firms. Given the excellent standing of senior lawyers in the most important in-house roles, this generation of general counsel carries the responsibility to help build a future that is good for business and the long-term sustainability of the legal profession.

In an extensive article on legal technology, Joanna Goodman, reports on how the right technology can make law firms more agile, commercial and client focused and how the legal IT culture is shifting, in response to market challenges, a sea change in user’s attitudes towards technology and a new breed of IT director who works closely with the business to deliver on its strategic priorities and objectives.

These are clearly changing times. Law firms are moving away from the traditional partnership model to become flexible, agile businesses. Market liberalisation, external investment and new business structures are transforming the legal services landscape, driving change and innovation across the profession. A strategic approach supported by the latest tools and tactics can help firms face up to commercial competition while maintaining their role as ‘trusted advisors’ to business and industry

Read the full report published by Raconteur Media here: Legal Efficiency