"It’s no longer a total package of legal services, but à la carte representation."
An interesting forecast for the future of the practice of law kicked off with the prediction that the legal profession will soon become “value-added.”
“We are going to become a value-added profession,” attorney Fred Ury told the Connecticut Law Tribune. “Someone will come in with a document they downloaded off a web site, and we will add value by interpreting it or providing guidance.”
For today’s generation of lawyers, that means success will require great creativity in attracting new business,” Ury said. “That is not easy for a lot of lawyers.”
Practice in the Cloud — and at the Mall
Other crystal ball gazers see growth in practice in the cloud — and down the street at the shopping mall.
“You’re going to see more work outsourced [overseas], and you’re going to see a law firm that’s franchised with a regional store or a Wal-mart where you can go into the store to do your banking and also drop in to see your lawyer,” said Susan Cartier-Liebel.
Cartier-Liebel joined a handful of commentators this year to specifically point to the Wal-mart model for the future. Gillian Hadfield used it famously in the Washington Post, pointing out that under legal reforms big U.K. companies will be allowed to directly provide legal services starting next year.
Outsourcers Offer 85% Discounts
Unbundling is the key , and Cartier-Liebel translated that into concrete practice terms.
“Lawyers will work closely with clients on one particular portion of a case while the client manages the remainder as a pro se,” according to the article. “It’s no longer a total package of legal services, but à la carte representation.”
Outsourcing revneues are expected to approach $1 billion in four years. The savins to clients can be overwhelming.
Lawyers’ Lock on Legal Services
“They’re doing lawyers’ work and doing it well at a ridiculous cost savings, 85 percent discounts,” said ubiquitous consultant JordanFurlong. “They’re doing $300,000 worth of work for $30,000. So when a managing partner talks about offering a 10 percent discount [to a corporate client], they’re not even in the conversation.”
Like it or not, it’s no longer just lawyers who are providing legal services any more.
Outsourcers are taking away the work that young American lawyers once got, and high salaries are disappearing as well, according to the article.