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Tom Tom, Google Maps, Waze…and Your Firm

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Having grown up in a world that has seen such seemingly permanent things collapse – the Soviet Union, the Berlin Wall, Arthur Andersen, Merrill Lynch and, yes I am/was a fan, Glasgow Rangers – nothing should surprise us.

On a micro level other things change faster. A very good friend shares an office with a start up called waze.com, a crowd-sourcing traffic navigation app. So, even as a reluctant driver, the last 5 years have seen me move from paper maps, to a Tom Tom, to Google Maps, and now to Waze.

On an industry/sector level, we’ve seen some turbulence within Law but not actually that much. Fundamentally most firms and General Counsel are doing law in roughly the same way as they did it 10, 20, or 100 years ago. But the last 5 or so years have been seen alternatives nibbling away at the core legal territory. The homelands of the UK have seen the laws and regulations positively encourage change. And there it is a close certainty that the US will see similar changes over the next 5 years.

So why have so few firms taken the radical leap? More importantly, what are the implications of firms not taking even marginal steps to address the threats that are gnawing, or are soon going to be gnawing, away at their business? We’ve seen the likes of Dewey and others disappear, and ask UK law firms if they are winning competitive bids against specialist conveyancing suppliers such as MyHomeMove – so law is not immune.

Whether it is TomTom or Blackberry or XYZ Law Firm in New York or Chicago, recognising that the world has changed or is changing is an essential requirement for any business. Sitting in denial is common to many dominant businesses or business models. Having survived the dot.com period Law did seem to be immune, and it was only 10 years into the offshore delivery model that something started to change.

If your firm is not looking every few months at all the factors that are or could be threatening the very fabric of their business then they are burrowing their head in the sand.

When it comes to Legal Outsourcing/LPO/Legal Process Outsourcing our day to day work as well as our forthcoming 2012 Global LPO Research Study clearly shows General Counsels/in-house lawyers circumventing law firms and buying directly from the Legal Outsourcing Suppliers. Forget the causes – this is happening and nothing the law firms seem to be doing is changing this. Partly because the law firms are actually not doing very much, but mainly because the steps they are taking are tactical rather than strategic, the LPO suppliers are eating into a very pie that is very fixed in its size.

Our view is very clear – taking a strategic approach to LPO can win you business in the short and longer term; ignoring LPO is going to lose you business in the short and longer term. Contact [email protected] to understand more.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, Alston and Bird, Arps, Bingham McCutchen, Bryan Cave, Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton, Covington and Burling, Davis Polk and Wardwell, Debevoise and Plimpton, Dechert, DLA Piper, Dunn and Crutcher, Foley and Lardner, Fulbright and Jaworski, Gibson, Goodwin Procter, Gotshal and Manges, Greenberg Traurig, Hastings, Herrington and Sutcliffe, Hogan Lovells, Holland and Knight, Hunton and Williams, Janofsky and Walker, KandL Gates, King and Spalding, Kirkland and Ellis, Latham and Watkins, Legal Outsourcing, Legal Process Outsourcing Jones Day, Lewis and Bockius, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith, Littler Mendelson, LPO, Mayer Brown, McDermott Will and Emery, McGuireWoods, Meagher and Flom, Melveny and Myers, Morgan, Morrison and Foerster, Orrick, Paul, Reed Smith, Rifkind, Ropes and Gray, Sanders and Dempsey, Seyfarth Shaw, Shearman and Sterling, Sidley Austin, Simpson Thacher and Bartlett, Skadden, Slate, Squire, Sullivan and; Cromwell, Weil, Weiss, Wharton and Garrison, White and Case, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker, Winston and Strawn

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