The Crystal Ball
What Does It Hold For You?
New clients in my office often want to know how their case is going to turn out. I remind them that while I have created a crystal ball after two decades of practice, it isn’t always as clear as I would like it. I feel the same way about our future as lawyers, except I see where the future is taking us, but I’m not sure exactly how we are going to get there. There are some trends today that will predict future outcomes. For exam- ple, today competition is getting tougher. The clients who are still willing to spend their money on lawyers are smarter consumers who want more for less. For some big firms, this means billable hours are shifting to flat fee billing,
alternative billing, or outcome-based billing practices. Law firms are losing business because
companies are increasingly relying on in-house lawyers or using firms like Axiom who “loan”
their legal teams to work collaboratively with companies in house.
For smaller firms, competition may take the form of companies like Rocket Lawyer and Legal
Zoom, to name just two, in a market being filled with dozens of existing companies and legal
startups. These companies are undercutting our prices to gain market share from small-firm
and solo lawyers.
But, on the upside, the outcome of increasing competition is fresh innovation. And innovation coupled with exponential growth in technology is fueling the race to provide the best, fast-est, and easiest legal access to the masses of consumers who need legal services. The companies
that are using efficiency, innovation, and technology to lower the price point to allow more consumers to access legal services will be more competitive and earn an increasingly larger market
Future of the
the discussion initiated
at the WSBA’s Mission
Possible: Choose the
Future of Your Practice
forum and will appear
in each issue throughout
the year. Your
participation in the
conversation is welcome
by Patrick Palace