Will IT kill or cure us?
Written by Richard Roebuck, managing director, Accesspoint Technologies
In this article I hope to provoke thought and give some insight as to how the future may look from the technology perspective. We’ll then look to understand how legal IT and its protagonists will play a role in driving change. Prior to this we perhaps first need to step back and consider how things are currently placed in the Legal sector.
The legal profession or a legal industry?
I don’t know about you but over the past year or so I’ve started to notice lots of new terminology being used to describe certain aspects of the legal profession and its clients. Perhaps most notably, we have started hearing words like 'legal industry' and 'customers'.
We have seen this happen in other sectors in recent years. Dare I say it: banking. Banking, for me, has many parallels with legal. Ten years ago many a banker would have considered themselves to be working within the 'banking profession', as with lawyers working within the legal profession. Those words are long departed:
- The banking profession has become the banking industry.
- The legal profession is becoming the legal industry.
By very definition we are moving away from ‘a body of people engaged in a particular profession’ to ‘a particular form or branch of economic or commercial activity’.
The law firms of the future, or at least those which exist today and want to remain in the future, must become truly commercial and operate as businesses. For many, this is a difficult change to comprehend and I’m sure will be most challenging to achieve.
For me, the next five years will see the notion of the ‘legal partnership’ become all
but redundant. These days we are seeing many a well-established practice shifting their business structures to that of LLP’s or limited companies. The arrival of ABS will not only continue to force change upon the structure and architecture of the existing practice, but will also force change upon the business methods and processes within it.
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