Essentially, it documents that BigLaw will no longer dominate purchases of B2B legal services, both transactional and litigation. Unless it changes.
And, anyone who understands business would add: By that time it could be too late. Purchasers could have already disrupted their buying habits to the point of no return.
Here is the summary in Forbes of that report by The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. Its findings and predictions are no surprise.
For example, it's well known that for cost-efficiency more large business organizations are doing work in-house. They have been subjected to the same budget mandates as all the other units in the organization.
Shell Oil, for example, notes Forbes:
" ... has formed a global in-house litigation team for the bulk of the company's largest litigation cases and recently handled a multi-million dollar corporate portfolio divesture in-house."
The bad news on that front for JD Class of 2017 is that in-house usually just recruits lawyers with experience. In-house lawyer at Aon, Mark Herrmann, had been at Jones Day a long time before making that switch.
Another major reason why BigLaw could go the way of once-hot Research In Motion (RIM) is the lack of innovation. RIM had created the Blackberry. Then it stopped. It didn't envision a mobile device which could also be a handheld computer.
Most very large law firms are way behind midsized ones in trying new things. A simple example is that midsized firms got it to not have fancy offices in prime real estate space. Those could scare off clients. A more complex example is how a case is managed. Clients are making it known they don't want new associates figuring out their legal problems. They perceive that as paying for the training and development of the new help.
There is also the grating issue of the billable hour. As Joe Patrice had outed on Abovethelaw, some BigLaw players have been quoting the usual high fee, then providing what they assume clients will perceive as a discount. How long will clients buy into that? Here is Patrice's analysis.
In terms of billing, it is also an irritant that PPP had remained high. That information is public knowledge. Potential clients are bound to look at those numbers, shake their heads and decide to conduct a "beauty contest" for midsize firms and boutiques with niche specializations.
Sure, BigLaw can get it that they must blow up the old models. But, will they? The corridors of failure are jam-packed with both institutions and individuals who assumed that they were "special." They concluded that they did not have to align their business models and personas with the mutating marketplace.
BigLaw players are not alone in being stuck. Journalists, medical doctors, ghostwriters and those over-50 are among those frozen in the past.
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