Blog - Management speak

Spotting a NewLaw firm

In today's rapidly changing legal landscape it's becoming easier to spot a NewLaw firm, says George Beaton of Beaton Capital.

Time for a change for OldLaw firms Maksim Kabakoo

The meteoric rise of alternatives to traditional BigLaw firms is giving rise to firms like Axiom Law, Riverview Law and Conduit Law in the US, the UK and Canada, respectively. To describe these new forms of legal services provider we have coined the collective noun ‘NewLaw’ and written an e-book: ‘NewLaw New Rules’.
In contrast to BigLaw described in the Last days of the BigLaw business model, the NewLaw model looks like this:

  • Deployment of talent with the requisite legal and process skills
  • Practitioners striving to deliver service to fit-for-purpose standards
  • Selling and producing work are separated
  • Promotion of a corporate brand
  • Application of disruptive technologies (in the Christensen of Harvard sense)
  • Flexi-work practices that match supply with demand
  • No tournament
  • Non-lawyer shareholders
  • Incorporated
  • Charge clients fixed fees.

In almost every respect the BigLaw and NewLaw business models are different. NewLaw firms are completely re-engineering their underlying business model of legal services delivery. A closer look at the types of NewLaw firm suggests NewLaw business models are a heterogeneous category. A continuum exists.

It is clear NewLaw firms cannot meet all forms of clients’ needs. Nor for that matter can BigLaw firms do so cost-effectively. For example, large, complex and fast moving matters such as are found in takeovers and disputes are and will remain the domain of BigLaw. Equally in consumer markets, as the UK is demonstrating, NewLaw firms are rapidly becoming the providers of choice for legal services.

Posted by:

Dr George

10 January 2014

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