The legal function is oft-derided, and for many good reasons that have stood the test of time. But with the advent of digital transformation, which is affecting all industries, legal services are being reverse-engineered by customers to best suit their needs. Whether a lawyer is an in-house counsel, one working for a non-profit, or one of the multitudes in private practice, attention must be paid to the radical transformation that the legal function is undergoing. Indeed, the very value of legal services is tied to this transformation and the forces behind it. In an industry that involves a lot of nose-down work, lawyers must lift their heads up and see the change that is occurring around them.
“Law is about persuasion. Trial work requires knowing your audience, producing evidence, meeting the burden of proof, and demonstrating entitlement to the relief sought. Commercial transactions, likewise, involve multiple elements of persuasion. Why, then, does the legal function struggle to establish its value to business leaders? There are several reasons why the legal function—notably lawyers— struggle to prove their value to business. The seminal one is “the legal bubble”—lawyers have long operated amongst themselves. This created an insular culture. The profession and the business of delivering legal services were synonymous; both were controlled by lawyers. The profession has had little accountability to others outside its ranks—customers included…The legal function is being recast by business, its end-user. Business is reverse-engineering the legal function to better serve its needs, not to preserve the primacy of incumbent legal providers and their anachronistic structure, economic model, and culture. The legal industry must understand digital transformation—what it means to business and its customers as well as how it applies to the legal function. This is a pressing imperative and a crucial first step towards establishing the legal function’s impact and worth in the digital age.”
Read: Why Can’t The Legal Function Prove Its Value? at Legal Mosaic
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