A new study on the evolution of the practice of law was released at the recent ABA Techshow. The study was conducted by Ari Kaplan, who interviewed 30 individuals to gain perspective from across the legal industry.
Some highlights from his interviews:
“The days of clients accepting the traditional model of billable hours and costs over which they have nocontrol is over.” —Jay Shepherd, Shepherd Law Group
“Lawyers need to stop thinking about what they do as separate from what their clients do.” —Patrick Lamb,Valorem Law Group
“The model and structure that law firms have been working on for 20-30 years was always a bad business model; however, it survived until now because there was so much commerce going on.”—Lynn Mestel, Mestel & Co.
An overview of his findings:
- 13 of the 15 active practitioners interviewed use alternative billing, including fixed fee arrangements. Over 75% had heard of instances where a corporate client will not pay for first year work done on their cases.
- 92% feel that client expectations have changed.
- 62% agreed that the accelerated growth in law firms and the rise in legal fees led in whole or in part to the current state of the market.
- 70% agreed that while the economy has always had an impact on the practice of law, the current shift is different.
- 74% believe the shift will be permanent.