Another day another chapter in the great unbundling story.
I am not sure how lawyers plan to unbundle without leaning heavily on technology. And not just any technology….client facing technology.
In two to three years client facing technology will be the norm in the legal sector as it has become the norm in other areas. It is the client that will drive this shift, not the lawyer. This has nothing to do with LSA or regulation and everything to do with how we now consume and interact.
Clients, that’s you and me, have become data inputters. We are happy to data input and do it for free on behalf of service providers if we get an intellectual value as pay back be that a book, a camera, a holiday…even a legal service.
“Oh” the lawyer cries, “legal services are far too complex for that. It can’t be done”
When I show lawyers some of the technology we have developed at Epoq around active and automated content they are quite shocked at how far things have progressed. Then I show them the roadmap for the next few years. They then realise how the legal services world of the future will look with the client right at the centre. Lawyers, (the ones that survive the next couple of years), won’t be peripheral, far from it because they offer value, but they also won’t be at the centre anymore.
Increasingly clients can and will choose to go where they think the value is and where they get that value today may very well be a different place tomorrow. This will be client and not service provider driven. Clients will move away from the old delivery model and gravitate towards a new one which offers access, clarity, relevance and trust.
But here’s the problem. The lawyers don’t see it like that. They don’t want the service breaking up. They want the song to remain the same because it has been a very lucrative song. They want to maintain the smoke and mirrors that legal services is complex and only they can deliver it. Keeping things complex is in the lawyers interest. They think the show belongs to them, only them and always them.
History, very recent history in fact, has shown this to be a futile and ultimately terminal strategy.
Bits of the service are complex…but bits of it are not. Bits of it needs a lawyer but bits of it don’t. It just seems a bit odd to me that lawyers want to hold onto the parts that they don’t need to at the expense of those that they should.
It is this inability of the legal industry to think creatively about how it can deliver its services not just efficiently but also with relevance that will be its ultimate undoing.