What does the future have in store for law firms?
A changing marketplace driven by globalisation, technological innovation and automation, as well as a more flexible workforce, who demand a better work life balance, are all shifting law firms away from traditional business models. We are also seeing niche practices entering the market, alongside changes in the way clients buy services, moving away from paying fees on an hourly basis, in favour of fixed-fees or other, more cost effective solutions.
All of these developments are overshadowed by the continued uncertainty over Brexit and the current political climate. We are finding that increased international work and the opening of offices overseas are currently huge drivers of growth and profitability of many law firms, with both large and smaller firms seeking to capitalise on a globalised economy. Most firms have a cautious outlook for the next twelve months, but this is a prime time to ensure your firm is as future proofed as possible.
Technology is key
In order to survive it is vital that law firms invest in technology. Clients now take it as given that their law firm will have access to the latest technology to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for the end user.
With new rules governing the industry from November, the technology needs to be able to ensure full compliance now and provide the flexibility to adapt in future. Law firms should be considering which technology is right to invest in and also give consideration as to the best way to fund this.
Cyber security continues to be a significant issue for all law firms and the technology you invest in needs to provide adequate protection today and against future threats. Your workforce also needs to understand the systems you have in place and it is crucial that they are aware of, and fully understand your disaster recovery plan; and yes, you absolutely should have a disaster recovery plan!
Succession is survival
Whilst succession plans to identify and retain the future leaders of your firm is crucial, it should be remembered that it is also important to ensure there is succession and stability in support functions as well. Firms with strong back office teams and systems will be best placed to adapt quickly and thrive when facing any upcoming legislative changes.
Talent retention programmes should also be reviewed regularly as complacency can quickly lead to your top talent becoming demotivated. Good communication, a clear progression plan and the right culture can make the difference to whether or not your future leaders are leading your firm or a competitor’s.
Call to action
Our advice would be to take the time now to review current systems and implement changes ahead of time, invest in the right technology and the right staff, ensure you have access to the right funding to allow you to be flexible and agile when decisions need to be made quickly. Undertake a health-check of where your firm sits currently to identify the best steps to future proof your firm.