Innovation Revolution in the Law firm model
The traditional law firm model is undergoing gradual transformation. The legal tasks performed by large law firms are now being performed by lower-cost provider’s overseas i.e. Legal Process Outsourcing companies. More than 80% of the large law firms are planning to maintain or increase their number of contract lawyers and paralegals who in many cases will do work that associates used to do.
It is apparent that there is a structural shift in cozy law firm model. This shift can be rightly stated as the innovation revolution. The Clients have reduced their reliance on traditional law firms. Clients “disaggregate” their legal work and assign the tasks to the most efficient and cost-effective provider outside the traditional firm setting. Some of the alternatives available to the clients are offshoring the legal work to Legal process outsourcing providers who provide services at low rates and perform those tasks that traditionally was performed by entry- level associate’s at large U.S. law firms. The competent lawyers in India are contributing to a great extent to the law firms in the US and EU. In-shoring is opted for mid-level work which requires the knowledge and skill of qualified attorneys within the jurisdiction and time zone of the client.
Legal Process Outsourcing can prove to be the best alternative where the clients seek stringent costs controls and maintaining a full-time associate for the work becomes pricey. These legal tasks can be outsourced to paralegals that provide their services in a time-saving and cost-effective manner. In-housing is useful to perform high-end, sophisticated work involving areas of core risk which demand the abilities and skills of an expert. Such high- end work is performed by experts in-house and is not outsourced to other service provider.
The technological advancement also plays a vital role in the innovation revolution. The communication and productivity enhancing tools have aided the legal team to perform tasks without being concerned about any geographical boundaries. The legal work is performed in accordance with the client requirement and cost-effective basis. Many tools viz., Practical Law, CEB, are of great significance to the in-house attorneys for the purpose of legal templates, memos, research etc. The case management software and various tools for contract management and e-discovery are essential for performing legal tasks efficiently and speedily. The e-billing software and online bidding platforms prove beneficial for the clients and aid them in securing the best amongst all deals available.
The changing trends in the traditional law firms are useful for clients in terms of cost and process. However, such trends pose a threat to the traditional law firm model. The large law firms diverting the work to legal process outsourcing providers for time and cost-efficiency will benefit by delivering the work timely and at economical rates to the client.