MyFondia VirtualLawyer
February 5, 2010

Lawyers feeling the pressure for change

The legal profession is one of the oldest and most clearly defined professions in the world and this traditional profession has been practised in the same way for a long time without any significant changes. However, the rapid development of technology, the ever-improving availability of judicial information and the streamlining of the business activities of companies are now creating a new, more challenging environment for lawyers. Professionals in this field are now saying goodbye to many of their familiar tasks, but luckily these tasks are being replaced by new and interesting challenges.

For companies chasing cost-efficiency, having an in-house lawyer is no longer a matter of course. Company lawyers, regardless of whether they are a part of the in-house staff or an acquired legal department service, have to earn their place. This is achieved by performing the following three tasks:

•A good lawyer does not merely respond to questions and requests directed at him or her. Instead, he or she actively takes care of the legality of the company’s activities, the organisational expertise and agreement management. In this way, the company’s management will have more time to focus on their own duties and to improve the company’s business. The opportunity cost for time used by the management of a company is significant.

•A good lawyer makes a continuous effort to optimise the company’s risks. When risks are managed, the value of the company increases and its business becomes more secure. In essence, business is about taking calculated risks.

•A good lawyer is an expert in negotiation, capable of salvaging negotiations from an impasse by searching for creative solutions. A good negotiator keeps his or her eye on the ball, keeps away from conflict and keeps in mind that the best is the enemy of good.

All companies and lawyers should assess the degree to which the designated lawyer is performing the aforementioned tasks. Furthermore, companies should conduct an investment calculation regarding their lawyer, where the value of the legal services should exceed the expenditure of the legal services.

Unfortunately, these days there are not many companies or lawyers who have a clear understanding of these matters.