John Chisholm tweeted this about Whites Legal.
But what the hell is a firm of the future? Or a “NewLaw” firm?
On their own, those words are pretty meaningless. They’re more phrases used by the legal industry which have no real parallel in the real world. Like “equity partner”, “senior associate”, “special counsel”, “fee earner”, “disbursements” and “estimate”.
So here’s my brief run down so those hunting around for a new lawyer or a lawyer of the future know what that means.
Firm of the future and NewLaw mostly describe the same thing. Genuine NewLaw firms have cast off the old business model (OldLaw) which leverages people’s time by an hourly rate (with many hands making expensive work), is usually top heavy with older white male partners, billable hours, will take on any work they think they can make a buck from (“I have never met a billable hour I don’t like yet”). The old model is fixated on tasks and inputs – time spent doing the work.
Firms of the future are client centered – focussing on results and outcomes, adopt much flatter structures, offer fixed and upfront pricing, are innovative and not afraid to take risks and encourage flexible working arrangements. Firms of the future are about finding a better way of doing business, not blindly accepting the old way.
I spoke with John, and here’s why he thinks Whites Legal is a firm of the future:
- industry specialisation (something remarkably rare among lawyers);
- fixed, guaranteed pricing;
- pricing based on what the client perceives as value to them; and
- more likely to be at a client’s bar/restaurant/cafe than in the office (another version of flexibility).
I’m not reinventing the wheel. Thank goodness there are other innovative lawyers adopting similar practices. I just haven’t found any that look after the hospitality industry.
John Chisholm is a recovering lawyer and recognised for his management, leadership and visionary skills, as well as his ability to think outside the square. His experience as both a professional and consultant includes assisting many firms and professionals with strategy and business planning, career management, governance structures, new business development, client relationship management, performance and pricing. John tweets from @ChisConsult.