Modernising the legal profession – it’s about time

Modernising the legal profession – it’s about time

The ‘new’ and ‘alternative’ legal service provider landscape is fertile ground for lawyers wanting to work differently – expect to see it grow even more in the coming years.

Evolution not revolution

The legal industry is slowly changing; it’s fair to say the last decade or so has seen an evolution rather than a revolution in how legal services are delivered. The market has loosened to allow an array of “new law” models to prosper. The drivers for this have been both internal – from individuals in the legal profession wanting to do things differently and external – clients demanding better value and accessibility.

Something for everyone

Modernisation of working structures has been made possible by technology. Lawyers can now work much more flexibly as consultants and freelancers thanks to regulated virtual platforms like Nexa’s. The pandemic has amply demonstrated that the freedom to work from anywhere is possible (and highly desirable).

New model law providers now come in all shapes and sizes and there are significant differences in how some of them are organised and operate. From on-demand in-house lawyers to project based freelancers to online document providers (think Axiom, TLD, LegalEdge, Elevate, Cognia, Vario, RocketLawyer, LawBite – to name a few, there are literally 100s of us now). There really is something out there to suit everyone!

Asking the right questions

However, there are some serious questions that lawyers looking to move away from the traditional partnership law firm model or employed in-house position, and who are weighing up their options, need to ask themselves to identify the right home for them. For example:

  • Am I able to generate my own opportunities or would I prefer to be “fed” client work?
  • Do I have the right skills to achieve this – am I self-sufficient and confident enough in my advice and ability to build client relationships to work independently?
  • What support do I actually need – be that back office or professional?
  • What sort of work and clients do I really want?

What about clients?

It’s not just lawyers who have questions to ask, their clients (both consumer and business) now have a potentially bewildering choice of providers – rather than there just being partnership law firms who all looked and sounded the same however big or small they were. Making sense of it all risks becoming an uphill struggle if we, as lawyers, don’t get the communication right. That’s why I was delighted to see a while back that Crafty Counsel had developed a tool to help business clients do just that – check it out here.

The future’s bright

A final thought: how long will providers like Nexa be “new”? Will today’s punks become tomorrow’s establishment? As new model providers become increasingly mainstream we must all be careful not to stop asking questions and challenging the accepted norms, we need to carry on innovating and exploring new frontiers.

I’ve long been an advocate of change in the legal sector and I feel very positive about the future. As I’ve seen at Nexa, where we have expanded to over 120 consultant lawyers in the last 5 years, this is a growing industry, fired by demand from both lawyers and clients. The increasing amount of choice for lawyers and their clients drives competition that enhances innovation and ultimately delivers a better, more valuable service to the consumer.

– Nigel Clark, CEO

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