Newton’s Law of Gravity applies to everyone except when you’re an astronaut in a cool rocket and then you don’t care anyway since, well, it’s so cool. For everyone else, we have gravity. It’s an uncomfortable truth for many but, a bit like Newton’s Law of Gravity, it turns out that the rule of “better, faster, cheaper” applies to the legal industry also. Unless you have a rocket ship, you get to deal with it like everyone else. This might be a good point to strap in.

The better, faster, cheaper movement has been a bit slow arriving – there were a few unplanned stops along the way – but there’s no question that it has arrived now – and the consequences of this will become very real. There are significant technical and labor implications of this – the extent of which is unprecedented in this sector. While other industries have fielded change, this level of change has largely bypassed law – until now. Some argue it is a Perfect Storm scenario. More on that later.

For a younger generation entering the legal industry it’s important to acknowledge how different it will be and the extent to which tech, such as AI, will displace vast tranches of human activity, intervention.

Once material is in a digital format, it is endlessly capable of greater efficiencies – and it is independent of the billable hour. Contract frameworks, deal experiences, litigation / case data and much more – every flavor, every which way. The element of human intervention becomes truly qualitative perspective applied to the data – not the extraction of data itself. What do you think? What do you advise? Based on what we know.

For an established generation of practitioners, it is becoming critical to stay on top of technical advances. These bring consequences for value – and perceived value. There are new risks to manage and new competitive threats. To be close to the professional finish line doesn’t preclude anyone from stumbling.

To those aspiring to be truly great client-centric, client-valued lawyers, the future remains bright. The converse is also true. Either way, there is no time like the present to embrace new skills, upgrade existing – and build powerful networks of influence that can help you navigate the coming decade.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions – and do make sure we have your email for timely updates, commentary.

David