Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Progression of the Law Practice
Over the last week, one of the many law "blawgs" posed the question of how the practice of law should change over the next 5 years. Many weighed in on the inquiry. Here's my take!
It is clear the practice of law has been affected by the challenges of our economy. For so long, the culture of the profession was somehow exempt from a number of changes in our society, but I am confident this impact has been for the best.
Over the years, the legal profession was stuck in a rut of tradition. There was little force of change, and high degrees of comfort. Today, new lawyers as well as more seasoned ones are in a state of shock about the push to adapt. For the sake of clarity, I must say the traditional condition of law is to be respected and upheld. But, there is always room for change.
Over the next five years, the practice of law needs to take a few things into consideration. Tradition has brought us this far, but we must press forward. First, per-project-fees are the billable hours of the future. They are easier to track, quantifiable and provide comfort to the client. Although billable hours have their place, per-project-fees are a viable consideration. Second, taking advantage of advancing technology is of great importance to the evolving legal world. Smartphones can be a bit addictive, but careful use of these products, along with other bookkeeping and publishing tools, are helpful in the progression of the practice. Virtual offices and satellite capabilities are musts as well, to save costs for firms and attorneys personally. Constantly seeking and embracing new ways to advance this noble profession are paramount.
By accepting the changes impacting the profession, lawyers will be able to filter this progress into law schools. The change will take some time to come alive, but will be worth it.
See more responses at: http://www.abajournal.com/weekly/how_does_the_practice_of_law_need_to_change_in_the_next_five_years