Legal risk: the threat to law firms

Legal risk: the threat to law firms

By Matt Whalley

The two drivers of change in the legal market today are cost and risk. A lot has been written about the effects on the legal market of client pressure to reduce cost. Unbundling, process improvement, disaggregation and alternative sourcing are the buzz-words of today. Opinions differ as to whether or not the change will be dramatic or long drawn-out. But what everyone seems to agree on is that law firms will surely look different in the future.

It is to my mind indisputable that on-going cost pressures will have a permanent effect on law firms. I can easily imagine a world where we have a small number of super firms (AOCC, anyone?) moderate numbers of large firms with near shore, north shore or offshore legal processing centres (Addleshaws, Irwin Mitchell, and Eversheds spring to mind) and a large number of small boutique service firms, newly created with different operating models.

These will be supported by increasing numbers of freelance lawyers (Lawyers on Demand, Axiom, et al), specialist legal technology and back-office providers (Integreon, for example).

The fact that (apart from the super firm) thes

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About the author:

Matt Whalley works for Berwin Leighton Paisner, and is setting-up their new Legal Risk Consultancy. Prior to joining BLP in 2011, Matt spent 6 years running a global legal-function transformation programme, for a large bank.

To find out more about what legal risk is, and how it can be managed effectively, read:

Legal risk: two-part definitions that identify the right risks and get the business to own them

How General Counsels can manage legal risk: Four practical techniques for a successful legal-risk framework

Managing legal risk effectively – an evolving approach

You can contact Matt by phone, e-mail or Twitter.  +44 (0) 20 3400 3587 | matthew.whalley@blplaw.com | @mattwha