Law new is a concept that can be difficult to pin down. It generally refers to legal innovation that creates value for clients by using a wide range of methodologies and by collaborating with other providers of services. It may also include alternative service providers (ALSPs) and law firm subsidiaries that augment traditional practice.
It’s emblematic of the fluidity and collaboration that define business in our era. The automotive industry, for example, routinely collaborates with competitors like GM, Ford and Honda on a wide range of research and development initiatives. Law firms are beginning to explore integration that leverages infrastructure, shares data, pools expertise, reduces risk, increases efficiency and meets growing cost takeout targets.
The past fifteen years have produced changes in legal delivery. These are largely due to the impact of legal operations, which have introduced established business processes and technology, a focus on process, and multidisciplinary expertise (i.e. non-lawyers) to the industry. While this is a good start, it is not the same as innovation. Moreover, it is tactical rather than strategic. It focuses on internal efficiency rather than driving client/end-user impact and enhanced experience.
New law will spawn from two primary sources: large-scale legal buyer activism; and corporate Goliaths that have the brand, capital, know-how, customer-centricity, data mastery, tech platforms, agile, multidisciplinary workforces and footprint in/familiarity with the legal industry to reverse engineer existing paradigms and drive change. The latter will not lead with technology; they will use it as the catalyst to integrate the legal supply chain, erasing artificial, lawyer-created distinctions between provider sources, while driving change in customer/end-user outcomes and experiences.
While this might sound a bit like science fiction, it is not. These trends are reshaping the industry now. Several large law firms have expanded through horizontal and, more frequently, vertical integration with allied legal businesses and even non-legal service providers. In addition, many large corporate legal departments are exploring integration that leverages infrastructure, shares data, provides pooled resources, enables greater project management and risk mitigation and creates economies of scale.
The latest episode of One Piece saw Law teleport to a location North of Wano Country, putting him one step closer to finding the Road Poneglyphs that will lead him to Yonko Blackbeard and his crew. Although he still has a long way to go before reaching his peak, it’s clear that Law is much more accustomed to his Devil Fruit now than he was in the Wano Country arc and that he has a lot more Haki power to deploy as he goes forward. In other words, we’re about to witness one of the greatest One Piece fights yet.