Richard Susskind: Law firms must adapt to survive
In my new book, The End of Lawyers? I claim that the future for lawyers could be prosperous or disastrous. I predict that those who are unwilling to change their working practices and extend their services will struggle to survive. In contrast, lawyers who embrace emerging technologies and novel ways of sourcing legal work will trade successfully for many years, even if they are not engaged in jobs that most law schools anticipate for their graduates. Many of my conclusions follow from research conducted among in-house lawyers. Invariably, general counsel tell me they are now under three pressures: to reduce the size of their in-house teams; to spend less on external law firms; and to find ways of coping with more (and riskier) legal compliance work than in the past. Both internally and externally, clients are requiring more for less. From 2004-07, this was a background theme for in-house lawyers. In 2008 it has become an overriding imperative.
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