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10 October 2017 at 14:07 BST

Forces of change in legal marketplace too powerful for Magic Circle to avoid

Partners may be making more money than ever but they cannot remain immune to the powerful forces of change engulfing law.

Magic circle partners may be making more money than ever but, according to a leading US commentator, they cannot ignore the pace of change in the legal marketplace. Writing in Forbes, entrepreneur and law professor Mark Cohen said the forces of change in law were far too powerful  to combat. He was responding to a question at a recent event at the Law Society in London which he was addressing on the legal marketplace, competition and trends and was asked 'this remarkably frank question from a Magic Circle partner: ‘Should we really be concerned about innovation and change when we are making more bloody money than ever?’

Profound changes

Mr Cohen recounted in the article: 'My response, yes, because a profound change in the buy-sell dynamic propelled by technology, the global financial crisis, globalisation, and social media has disrupted multiple industries and that process is underway in legal delivery. Those forces are far too powerful for law to combat.' He said that the factors dictating the pace are '(1) the separation from the pack by a few of The AmLaw 200; (2) a recent report by ALM Intelligence revealing that  law firms now account for only 25% market share; (3) changed customer expectations--'faster, better, cheaper' and 'more withless';  (4) new competitors--notably the BigFour, in-house departments, and legal service providers;  (5) the sustainability of the partnership model for economic, cultural, structural, and succession reasons; and (6) the emergence of legal operations--CLOC and its ACC counterpart—and the distinction between legal practice and delivery.'  The article 'Postcards from Europe; Part 1:London' is an account of Mr Cohen's recent trip from the US to Europe looking at how change is impacting legal services delivery. 


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