Moving from 2015 to 2016—the changing priorities of commercial lawyers and their clients

Moving from 2015 to 2016—the changing priorities of commercial lawyers and their clients

2015 was the year of Rugby World Cup disappointment, election surprise and Tour de France glory.

It was also no doubt a year of surprise, glory and disappointment (for some) in the commercial world. The Lexis commercial team have been reflecting on the key developments and challenges in 2015 and thinking about what 2016 may bring for commercial lawyers. We recently interviewed Craig Chaplin, partner at DWF, and this is what he thought:

What is your take on the priorities of commercial lawyers in 2015?

The priorities of commercial lawyers in 2015 have been on keeping the same quality of service and quality output at a sensible cost. Clients want lawyers who understand their business and sector working closely with them. They don’t want a legal answer; they want a business orientated solution. In short we are now expected to get off the fence and those firms who don’t are being left behind.

How have these priorities changed over the past 12 months?

Prior to 2015 the feeling was that we were all still recovering from the recession and, as such, businesses were scaling up again (along with their legal teams). Now that in-house teams are ‘right-sized’ they are looking for improved bespoke support and process efficiencies that improve the client experience.

What legal developments have had the biggest impact on your practice in 2015?

The consumer rights legislation has had the biggest impact on our large retail client base. The changes have been extensive and lots of training sessions have been provided as a result. Many clients have started to be increasingly worried about data protection and security breaches and we have supported them in understanding both areas better through our industry experts. Towards the end of 2015, we pushed out some advice on the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (which many clients hadn’t heard of).

How have these affected your ongoing cases and working life? How have you dealt with these on a prac

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