2023 Pulse Check | Year of Great Change for Law Firms?

It all came suddenly

It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory. – W. Edwards Deming

In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the Amish folks still use horses and buggies for transportation. They share country roads with automobiles and cling to the old way for a variety of reasons, including slowing the speed of life and distancing themselves from the world. You need a good horse, but even so, the speed is five to eight miles per hour.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world has embraced the new technology of modern transportation. It all came suddenly at the beginning of the twentieth century, and now is progressing at an unanticipated galloping speed.

The legal world is changing suddenly too – to being more digital and virtual – with pressure to evolve beyond video conferencing technologies that most of us were forced to embrace during the pandemic.

As Anna writes in her first e-book, Legally Innovative, “The business of legal is just starting to turn into an innovation have and have not world. Those who can harness the powerful combination that is humans and computers, and those who cannot or won’t”.

Indeed, 59% of law firms are increasing their investment in legal technology post-pandemic – private practice lawyers are upskilling for the future. According to Eric Chin of research firm Alpha Creates, that’s a seven-fold increase since 2015.

On the other hand, 70% of in-house legal departments are not investing in digital transformation, or their investment has declined significantly in the wake of the pandemic.

It’s the first time we’re seeing law firms, statistically anyway, prioritising being “tech first”.

Horse before the cart transformation 

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford.

“One of the biggest gaps is leadership. Russell Reynolds found that as much time as organizations spend thinking about transformation initiatives themselves, they often spend significantly less time thinking about the people who will drive these changes. They put the cart before the horse. Yet the person leading the change matters just as much or more than the many other aspects of the transformation that organizations plan extensively”.

So, how do legal leaders manage change to achieve the highest probability of success?


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