As any Fortune 500 general counsel will tell you, briefing law firms is not cheap. And stories of billing rates exceeding $1,000-per-hour and associate starting salaries hitting $160,000 certainly reinforce that notion. Hence the continuing calls from in-house lawyers for their external providers to become more efficient.
Since last month, Richard Susskind has continued his quest to provoke the legal profession into serious reflection on their future. In a series of articles published in The Times, he suggests that:
Why produce just one document when you could produce a whole package? Whether you’re producing lending documents, a request for proposal, or an insurance package of certificate, schedules, wording and endorsements, sometimes you need to create a suite of documents from one consistent set of data. Done manually, document packages multiply the risk of re-keying errors and non-compliance.
If you have any growth aspirations at all, you need to make some high risk “change the rules” IT investments. This seems to be the conclusion of a recent McKinsey study. The high risks should be calculated risks, of course. But if you don’t take them, and others do, they will out-grow and out-perform you in the long run. In fact, when you compare high performance companies with high growth aspirations against low performance companies with low growth aspirations, the high performers invest four times as much in “change the rules” IT projects as the low performers.
About 400 years ago, Shakespeare thought the people would rise up and kill all the lawyers. Now, Richard Susskind reckons technology will put most of them out of a job. And just in case you don't get time to read his new book, the key message is neatly summed up in the title: The End of Lawyers?
Henry Ford once said "never complain, never explain." But where's the fun in that? If we don't complain about poor service and rude staff, how can we expect things to change? Complaining is the wind in the sails of customer service improvement.
A decade ago, in his best selling book, The Future of Law, legal technology seer, Richard Susskind, predicted that one day:
"lawyers will embody their document drafting know-how in packages which will become a form of marketable information service."
Historically, the two main contract management systems used by large law firms have been Interwoven Worksite and Hummingbird Enterprise – DM.
I’m not sure whether it’s ‘cool’ for us to be promoting the fact, but we’re going to anyway.
Back in May, Australian personal injury law firm Slater & Gordon (ASX:SGH) captured attention as the first law firm to float on a public exchange. Listed at a dollar per share, S&G popped on day 1, up about 40% and since then has risen more than 80% above its listing price (A$1.80+ by the end of August).