You’ve heard the buzzword. You’ve seen the hashtag.
And perhaps you’ve found yourself asking, at some point, “Just what is ‘NewLaw’? More importantly, why should I be remotely interested in it?” Having recently set out to catalog dozens of entities that have been or could be described as NewLaw, I came up with a working definition:
“Any model, process, or tool that represents a significantly different approach to the creation or provision of legal services than what the legal profession traditionally has employed.”
That covers law firms, lawyer agencies, managed legal service companies, online document providers and a wide range of legal technology start-ups.
So much for identification. What about the “why should I care” angle? Here are five reasons why I think you, Citizen Lawyer, ought to be interested in NewLaw.
1. NewLaw has modern market priorities. Almost all NewLaw players base their operations around “better,” “faster” and “cheaper.” I guarantee this is what your current and future clients care about, too. And NewLaw is getting to them first.
2. NewLaw is changing market expectations. By offering clients legal goods faster and cheaper, NewLaw is making clients realize that such things are possible. And it’s a very short path from “this is possible” to “I expect this as a matter of course.”
3. NewLaw is creating new markets. Many of the entities under the NewLaw banner are focused on unserved or underserved clients, the untapped market that lawyers traditionally have not seen fit to tap. You could follow these entities through the door they’re opening.
4. NewLaw is a potential resource for you. By focusing on discrete, packaged or commoditized offerings, NewLaw represents an outsourcing option for accomplishing tasks more effectively or efficiently than you could by doing them yourself. It’s a cost-saving tool.
5. NewLaw is potential competition to you. Countless industries attract disruptive providers that enter a market at the fringes with low-cost and lower-value offerings — and then move steadily up the quality chain. The thing they’re moving toward is you.
You might not be interested in NewLaw. But NewLaw is quite interested in you.
Jordan Furlong delivers dynamic and thought-provoking presentations to law firms and legal organizations throughout North America on how to survive and profit from the extraordinary changes underway in the legal services marketplace. Jordan blogs at Law21: Dispatches from a Legal Profession on the Brink. Follow him on Twitter @Jordan_Law21.