08 January 2018

Law is no longer about lawyers

Legal players need to stand out from the crowd

Traditional law firms are on the wane, as the legal profession moves from guild to marketplace and the myths of legal practice are uncovered, says legal professor and entrepreneur Marc Cohen.

The legal industry is transitioning from guild to marketplace where law is not solely about lawyers anymore, throwing the traditional law firm structure and economic model up in the air.  In an article for Forbes, commentator and legal entrepreneur Marc Cohen says that this means differentiation is now key for law firms. 'When legal delivery was exclusively about lawyers and firms, there was little need for them to differentiate. The profession operated from a self-regulated cocoon of ‘lawyers and non-lawyers,' he says, adding that this spawned industry myths about 'bespoke' legal work and beliefs by lawyers that 'every case is unique,' which went unchallenged because lawyers ran the legal ecosystem. Mr Cohen said that except for 'a handful of specialised and/or brand-differentiated elites like Cravath and Wachtell, most firms became undifferentiated big box stores offering the same practice capability at similar pricing delivered from an identical economic model and objective—maximisation of PPP.' 

Faster, better, cheaper

Mr Cohen's view is that law is not simply about knowing—or selling—legal knowledge. 'Practice expertise must be leveraged by technology and process to provide consumers ‘faster, better, cheaper’ and quantifiable results on a predictable, transparent, real-time accessible, and customer-centric basis. And if this sounds different than the traditional law firm modus operandi, it is.'