07 Aug 2017

Law firms under pressure as demand flattens for legal services

Law firms are under pressure to drive profits through operational efficiency as demand for legal services remains flat.


Competition for legal services remains high, demand remains relatively flat and law firms are feeling pressure in pricing and operational efficiency, according to a new report. The 2017 Aderant Business of Law and Legal Technology Survey suggests law firms see improving operational efficiency as a key driver of profit. The survey found that the top five challenges were: pricing pressure, improving operational efficiency, winning new business, growing more business from existing customers, and improving law firm agility and adaptability. Operational efficiency appeared again later in the survey as an opportunity to gain an edge. For example, nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) said automating manual tasks has the most potential upside for law firms.

Interdependent challenges

'Many of the challenges facing law firms are interdependent – pricing and growth in a competitive environment are related to a firm’s capacity to efficiently deliver quality legal services,' says Aderant executive vice president Chris Cartrett. 'These challenges are the driving forces behind the evolution of the agile law firm, which means building the capacity to meet dynamic client demands without stressing internal systems.' A summary of survey results is available on the Aderant Think Tank: Improving Law Firm Operational Efficiency a Pivotal Opportunity Amid Pricing Pressure. The vast majority of respondents hold business of law roles including accounting, IT, executive director and the C-Suite.