Legal Field Growth Is Rooted in Lateral Recruitment
By Timothy Lynch, The Legal Intelligencer
Will Rogers once said, "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." He was not talking about the legal industry, but his humorous quip is something that law firm leaders should be mindful of when they are developing their strategic plans because most industry analysts agree that the demand for legal services as a whole, which has been flat for several years, does not appear to be improving anytime soon. In fact, Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor Index (PMI) found that the demand for legal services was negative in the latter part of 2016. This means that most firms (and lawyers) are finding it hard to grow organically.
The reasons for this flat to negative demand for legal services is the subject of many articles and books. Richard Susskind is one of these authors and he has written several books on the future of the legal profession—one being "Tomorrow's Lawyer." Susskind writes about factors that have led and will continue to lead to obstacles when it comes to resolving the growth challenges in the legal industry. Susskind identifies technology and client-driven cost pressures as two of the primary reasons why the demand for legal services is not growing.
Before the age of the internet and the growth of nontraditional legal service providers, like LegalZoom, lawyers were the primary source of knowledge and service for all clients. Susskind and other pundits have opined that this greater access to information coupled with the economic shift caused by The Great Recession has led to many legal consumers (large and small) to cut back on the amount that they are spending on traditional legal services by relying more on in-house legal expertise, using online and nontraditional legal services, and demanding alternative fee structures to meet their legal needs. --Timothy Lynch, The Legal Intelligencer
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