LSSA Research: Drivers for Change

November 1, 2005

Practical Solutions (in association with Baker Tilly and Opportunity Consulting) have started work on a research project entitled “New Horizons for Lawyers and Legal Service Providers.” The brief is to define the influences that will drive business performance in the legal sector over the next 10 years, to demonstrate where effective use of technology will produce improved results. Findings will be presented to the legal profession in early 2006.

Allan Carton, Managing Director of Practical Solutions said:

“This is an interesting initiative that could produce real benefits; focusing on the influences that will be driving business performance in the market for legal services in the future and demonstrating where technology will be able to produce improved results. Technology will be critical but, to some extent, invisible when it comes to delivery of legal services.

The Advisory team are all very keen to see the production of the proposed report, believing that an appropriately produced and presented report will enhance the very necessary debate on how legal firms go forward, in the light not just of technological advances, but also through the effect that the Clementi Proposals will inevitably have on them. A well researched report will assist legal firms in the development of their future strategies, stimulating the market for structural change and legal software.”

The hope is that the use of various consultative methods will provide a lot of input from a lot of people in a short period of time. As well as an online questionnaire (which can be downloaded here), there are to be face-to-face discussions and some small group discussions. The focus of the research is to include clients, who have been properly identified as frequent instigators of change.

E-processing, restructuring of legal firms and providers, innovation, business relationships and collaboration are all areas that Practical Solutions particularly want to explore.

An interesting discussion document “Issues on the Horizon for Legal Business” is available on the Practical Solutions site. It includes the view that the future looks more radical than the past and that “the impact of the Internet and mobile technology that enable e-commerce and e-processes is already resulting in the revolutionary changes that will transform the way business is done and how lawyers relate to their clients and other parties involved in transactions.”

The welcome aspect of the project is the focus on business change rather than technological change. There is little doubt that the two are symbiotic but, while both may be equally impossible to predict, at least the wider world of business and services gives clues to how the world of legal services will develop. In any event, a wide-ranging survey of this kind is long overdue and will inform all concerned with legal technology.

Participation is sweetened by the offer of executive seats at the Man Utd v Arsenal game on 8 April or bottles of champagne for lucky winners of a prize draw. One can only hope that those involved show greater aptitude in their analysis of the survey results than is demonstrated by their description of that game as “the showdown”, although the battle for fourth place will matter to some.