The lawyer’s crystal ball – and why it matters now more than ever.

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

(Originally published on 28 July 2014)

Those of us who remember the early days of the National Lottery will recall with wry fondness the presence of Mystic Meg. Sporting hair in a hue of black never seen in nature, scarlet lipstick and cheekbones you could use to grate parmesan, she was wheeled out by the BBC each Saturday night to stoke the fires of hope in the millions clutching their pink-and-white tickets. 

Mystic Meg’s star may have declined somewhat, but our appetite for attempting to predict the future has not. So it is that over at the Law Gazette, Eddie Ross – chief executive of Quality Solicitors – has gazed into his crystal ball to take a look at how firms can ensure they remain in business in 2024. 

His piece comes in response to the seismic shifts in the legal landscape that have come in the past ten years. Those changes, he says, are unlikely to subside: the legal profession is likely to see further dramatic change in the next ten years of equal importance and with significant long-term effects. 

The legal marketplace is, he says, “increasingly hostile, commercial and cut-throat”, a description which may call to mind episodes of Mad Men rather than the occasionally run-of-the-mill lawyer’s practice – and yet, it is a description which rings increasingly true. 

How then to ensure a thriving chambers or firm come 2024? Ross’s recommendations represent sound common sense, and include: 

  • Managing a practice as a commercial enterprise, acknowledging that it is “a business like any other and must set out to compete, and win.” 
  • Undertaking effective marketing campaigns; 
  • Identifying – and playing to – areas of strength: “Know what you do well, and build your reputation on that”; 
  • Understanding the needs of the client; and 

When it comes to embracing legal tech, Ross is admirably blunt. “Whether we like it or not, technology is changing the world every day, and fast….technology doesn’t have to obliterate established ways of working – it can, if used well, greatly enhance and facilitate the world of lawyers.” 

At Legastat, we enthusiastically welcome this perceptive summation of the role of tech innovations in the lawyer’s practice. It does not – in fact, it cannot – ‘obliterate’ the expertise, experience and intuition that is the hallmark of the effective lawyer. But it is an essential tool in helping barristers and solicitors to provide the best possible service to their client.  

And the effect of failing to embrace all the benefits that legal tech can bring to your practice? “Resisting the inevitable will simply leave you trailing behind.” 

One thing is certain: in an increasingly competitive (not to say cut-throat) marketplace, trailing behind is simply not an option. Failure to seek advice and input on how best to harness everything that legal tech can offer will risk the survival of firms and chambers beyond 2016 – never mind 2024. Having taken a good look into the legal crystal ball, the immediate future should contain contacting professional litigation support partners such as Legastat as soon as possible.  

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