The pace of business and scope of social change render it hard to render an accurate portrait of what law new will look like. However, some defining characteristics are taking shape.
These include an increased emphasis on client impact that focuses on cost savings, efficiency gains and enhanced legal delivery; the use of different processes that do not fit into standard practice models; the involvement of non-lawyer experts who can deliver legal services; the integration of the industry’s provider sources (law firms, in-house departments and alternative providers) to erase artificial, lawyer-created distinctions; and a focus on collaboration.
It is also expected that the legal industry will become more closely allied with its corporate customers and society at large. Its workforce will be more diverse-cognitively, demographically and culturally. It will be creative, tech-proficient and empathetic. It will be able to respond quickly, flexibly and predictably to changing customer needs and legal matters. It will be a collaborative, solutions-based, technology-enabled community that offers accessible, affordable, on-demand legal services. It will be a safe repository of data and collective experience that provides faster, practical, predictable solutions to once “bespoke” legal matters.
Law new is fresh icing on a stale cake. It is not law’s savior, but it is an opportunity for legal stakeholders to create the right business model.
The best way to approach this opportunity is for legal leaders to be opportunistic, not cautious. A well-thought-out plan to leverage law new techniques can provide an additional revenue stream and make a real difference in the lives of clients who have unique needs.
One example is the new California law that requires companies with more than 15 employees to publish their salary ranges in job postings. This is a simple yet effective solution to an issue that had been a major hurdle for many employers.
Similarly, the recent introduction of legislation in New York City requiring government agencies to report on data breaches that may contain personal information would be a useful tool for reducing the risk of identity theft and other privacy threats that can result from a breach. This bill is a modest step to protect citizens and businesses from the financial and other costs of data breaches. We encourage other states to consider implementing similar legislation as well.