Assuming for a moment there is a medium/ long term future for lawyers and law firms (and there is an increasing body of opinion out there that says there is not unless we significantly change some of our long held mindsets and outdated business practices)what might such firms in the future look like? Who can predict what technological advances will be made even within the next few months let alone the next few years, so I wont even try to venture into that area and leave that to others much better qualified to comment about.
Based largely on the teachings of Ron Baker, founder of the Verasage Institute and author of one of the most successful management books for professionals “The Firm Of The Future” we can take a stab at what some firms might look like.
According to Baker Firms of the Future :
- Have a clear purpose, strategy and ideology,
- Understand they sell intellectual capital –not time,
- Don’t treat all clients equally,
- Only work with clients who value them,
- Routinely fire low value clients,
- Have turned pricing into a core competency,
- Have excellent project management skills,
- Price everything up front,
- Maintain minimum prices and provide options to clients,
- Have replaced timesheets with key predictive indicators and after action reviews, and
- Don’t price their own work, use a Pricing Council and/or have appointed a Chief Value Officer.
Now I know what you are thinking ”this all sounds pretty good in theory but it will be a long time, if ever, before law firms could really model themselves along these lines”.
Well believe it or not there are an increasing number of law firms around the world and now here in Australia who operate similar to this.
As Ron Baker says “ the future is already here……..its just unevenly distributed”.