13 April 2016

NewLaw struggling to win over in-house counsel

The number of in-house legal departments teaming up with NewLaw businesses is falling, says the latest 2016 ACC Australia Trends Survey.

By Kathryn Higgins

There's a disconnect between NewLaw businesses and in-house counsel. lightwise

According to the ACC data, a staggering 70 per cent of Australian in-house lawyers are unfamiliar with the NewLaw business model. Of those who have heard of NewLaw, just 14 per cent reported that their department had teamed up with a NewLaw business, down 4 per cent from last year.

According to ACC president Gillian Wong, the low level of in-house team-ups with NewLaw represents a missed opportunity on both sides.

'Many of the services NewLaw businesses provide are tailored to delivering a more efficient and cost-effective way of managing legal work, which is something that many in-house counsel are seeking,' she commented to The Australasian Lawyer.

Ms Wong acknowledged that NewLaw businesses face significant challenges trying to break into the in-house market, but argued that more could be done to keep in-house lawyers abreast of the evolving services of NewLaw.

'To ensure their message is heard NewLaw firms need to be continually educating in-house counsel, not only on their offerings but on the benefits of using their services,' she said.

While most in-house counsel are looking for new, more efficient ways to manage their teams, most appear to be equally slow in embracing technology as with NewLaw. Only 22 per cent of ACC Survey respondents said that they had invested in a new software tool over the last 12 months. Just under 60 per cent said that cost and budgetary constraints were the main reason for holding off on investing in new software tools.

Souce: The Australasian Lawyer; Association of Corporate Counsel

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