From a law practitioner to ‘lawyer as a service’ – change in the legal industry will occur through a change of service model
The career paths and future prospects of young lawyers are clearly different from those of previous generations. A law degree used to be a relatively secure ticket to a stable, predictable and secure career in a traditional market. Today, things are very different for young lawyers moving from university to the ‘real world’. The issues and new demands of digitalisation also apply to the legal profession. However, the digital world does not mean the end of traditional legal practice. On the contrary, digitalised work steps and new tools provide unprecedented opportunities to develop expertise to new levels. Fondia is a proud pioneer and advocate of this approach.
When the time spent on manual work and versioning are harnessed into maximum brain efficiency through a technical, versatile and customer-centred service model that is compatible with the process, both the worker who enjoys thought-intensive, meaningful work, and the customer who receives a cost-effective result from more effective work, benefit.
The expensive sounding hourly billing models and the mysterious end products of multi-stage negotiations are fortunately soon a thing of the past. Agile service providers offer more flexibility to both the service consumer and the lawyer providing the service. Work-life balance is increasingly important to many legal professionals and millennials have been a key force in this change. They have grown to appreciate technical fluency and work agility. A career in law now combines a wide range of areas of expertise from knowledge of technology to crisis management, financial expertise and the new, currently unknown, demands of digitalisation.
How can legal practice climb into this millennium?
The legal industry is changing more widely to providing legal services. Fondia’s Legal Department as a Service (LDaaS) is one example of legal service design. Our satisfied customers are proof that the world is starting to be ready for new operating models, even in traditional sectors. In the past, law firms only sold legal expertise, nothing else. Technology, globalisation, the increasing complexity of the business market, the traditionally high price tag of legal services, and the global financial crisis in 2008 have changed the service field of law to resemble a children’s tricycle. The service is based on three basic elements: legal expertise, technological facilitation and a processed approach. The trend is reflected in the transition to more advanced productisation of the sale of expertise in other fields. Medicine was once a speciality practiced among a small branch of doctors that has over the years developed into modern health care, consisting of doctors, technology, processes, technicians as well as a number of new service providers that combine different areas of care. Doctors experienced this revolution a decade ago; lawyers are only now diving into the same change. Legal practice is no longer just interpreting articles but rather a business-oriented, comprehensive business service.
The individuals producing the best business law work in the service of those businesses, as integrated advisers and business partners. Many have created operation groups for handling their legal matters. These task-force type groups combine legal, technological, process and project management expertise to reduce costs, mitigate risks, ensure an agreed level of service, standardise and measure processes, and ultimately make a significant impact on business. Fondia’s legal department is all the above and has helped our customers bring their legal matters into the current decade. Legal service providers should no longer be the last stop, where the legitimacy of a plan is checked, but a natural part of the processes that support companies on a day-to-day basis.