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Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 35, No. 4, October 2014

Leveraging LPO: How Small Law Can Compete with Big Law

By Christy Weisner and Danielle Haugland

Most lawyers are pretty bad at science, with the authors here no exception. But evolution is one theory that most of us can grasp easily, and it’s happening right in front of our eyes. There is no denying that the legal market has changed dramatically in the past decade: clients are demanding more from their outside counsel, technology is driving costs both up and down, and the traditional partnership track is practically non-existent. Just as the “survival of the fittest” applies to biology, those lawyers who embrace and adapt to these dramatic changes are finding law to be an exciting and rewarding field again.

The New Norm

The Great Recession has had a dramatic and lasting impact on the delivery of legal services. No longer beholden to outside counsel managing the direction of a case while increasing rates year over year, clients are demanding lower rates or alternative fee arrangements, requiring the use of alternative legal service providers for certain types of legal work, and looking to their outside counsel to bring innovative solutions to them. In an April 2014 survey of Peer Monitor subscribers (AmLaw 200 and midsize firm lawyers), respondents cited discounted fees and the use of alternative providers as the biggest change to their practice.

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