This is the week for people to think about independence. Whether you’re watching a fireworks show, visiting the tall ships, or just enjoying a barbeque with friends, Independence Day always reminds us of the spirited and bold folks who started this country off with a bang (literally). That Revolution was a pretty fearless thing to do, and it solidified the ideal of Americans finding ways to do things that were a little risky but never not exciting.
Those same words have not always (ok, never) been used to describe the American legal industry. In fact, it’s usually the opposite type of term that accompanies people’s descriptions of how lawyers work – things like slow to change, risk-averse and conservative come to mind. But that doesn’t mean all lawyers behave that way. As we’re happy to celebrate and encourage here at Brightleaf, there seems to be a rather Paul Revere-esque kind of lawyer emerging. One who says, “thank you for all the great experience this big firm has given me, but I think I’d like to strike out on my own now.” Of course, lawyers can still do a great job for their clients operating within a larger organization (and in case it wasn’t obvious, Brightleaf can help with that), but this intrepid new breed is often driven by the desire to do run his or her shop in a more forward-thinking way.
We recently told you about the un-firm Axiom, which is quite busy at the moment thanks to its embracing of new technologies and staffing methods. And of course, our friends at Venture Law Advisors have been able to offer pricing and service options to their clients that would be impossible if they had the typical overhead of a larger firm. And they are by no means the only ones. Many stories have been written over the past few years about the rise of virtual firms and smaller firms with interesting ways of getting work done for clients.
So what does all this mean for the legal industry? Here’s what we see so far, and our research indicates these trends are likely to continue: 1) more lawyers are going to find different places to set up their desks – virtual firms, rotating between different client offices, etc., 2) lawyers are going to continue embracing the boutique model – a smaller group with a more defined focus allows the group of lawyers to know their consumer and focus 100% on their needs, and 3) finding new ways to interact with those clients to make their work more transparent – Leaflets? Yes, Leaflets.
So for all you lawyers who have stepped out on your own (or taken a few friends with you), we salute you. And of course, are happy to help you get your documents drafted faster and smarter. So you can focus on bringing in new clients and keeping them satisfied.