“New normal” – what it means for the Bar

“New normal” – what it means for the Bar

We've read about it to the point of exasperation. The "new normal" for the legal services market. Basically, a shift in buying behaviours in a changing market environment, brought about by a compelling combination of external factors over a period of time, with increased competition from new market entrants thrown into the mix.

I don't think it needs to be explored in any more detail here, but I do think a different term should be used to describe this state of affairs; perhaps something like "normal".

This state of heightened buyer influence generally seems to be recognised by many law firms, albeit with varying degrees of reluctance and perhaps also a measure of "things are picking up again" denial.

Still, some evidence of progress seems to be appearing, in the form of increased focus on things like fixed pricing, project management, cost efficiency and increased investment in technology, marketing and social media. Whether these measures are merely cosmetic or truly transformational remains to be seen.

We hear less discussion about what this all means for the Bar and I think sets of chambers can be forgiven for feeling somewhat insulated from its effects. This is not because they are in any way immune to them, nor can they afford to be complacent.

However, market pressures of this sort are not a new phenomenon at the Bar, buyer p

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