10 Predictions for 2019
The practice of law is changing, especially so for solo and small firm lawyers. Here’s 10 law practice management-related predictions for 2019:
Solo and small firm lawyers will freelance in emerging legal tech opportunities, leveraging their private practice experience to make legal tech “smarter” while continuing their respective law practices.
An American law firm, acknowledging the “individualist revolution,” will re-brand their firm as a “platform” with “opportunities for collaboration” as they recognize the institutional staleness of the firm model.
Law firms will deploy real estate technology to evaluate their use of space and how their space can be redesigned to facilitate organic growth and collaboration opportunities.
Law firms will adopt more “work from anywhere” policies with a specific emphasis on sending a team of junior attorneys in a specific practice area abroad for a hybrid sabbatical. Programs of these kind will be competitive and pitched as a way to attract and retain young talent at BigLaw.
Law firms that focus on the efficient deployment of legal tech will have increasing vitality as clients perceive certain tasks being a better fit for a “computer” even though those tasks have historically been completed by a human.
An AmLaw 100 law firm will invest in a legal tech incubator “coworking” space that is co-located near the firm’s HQ.
More solo and small law firms will deploy CRM solutions to move prospective clients through the engagement and disengagement process using automated conditional logic.
A new legal research analytics firm will emerge to deliver analyses of predictive outcomes for solo and small firm lawyers.
Lawyer coworking spaces will increase in number and grow in popularity, which will, incidentally, create a pool of human talent larger firms can access to fill variable staffing needs.
Lawyer well-being will improve, marked by a statistical decline in chemical dependency and addiction, as the conversation around well-being focuses more on the benefits of practicing law.
As we move into 2019, an important CoLaw reminder is warranted: CoLaw’s singular purpose is to make the cost of practicing law more economical. We (read: lawyers) spend so much time focusing on how to increase revenue when that same intentional focus would yield a meaningful reduction on operating expenses. Success on that latter front would mean, at a minimum, more flexible billing arrangements (divorced from the billable hour), increased access to justice, and better margins. Incidentally, solo and small firms joining forces from a business perspective would disrupt also the correlation between a lawyer’s (or firm’s) access to resources and the corresponding quality of the legal service deliverable. That’s the point of CoLaw.
Here’s to 2019 being a year of further disruption, marked by more innovators and collaborators leveraging their unique talents to make the practice of law better.