Professional services...they are A-Changin'

a changing

By Peter Robinson

Technology and innovation have very much been in discussion this week – at a personal level, business level and trending nationally too – from increasing data security concerns, to digital tax returns, to the rise of online sales and consequential decline of high street shops (apparently). I could go on and on: everyone is affected, it seems.

I met Mitch Kowalski a little while ago. His excellent book “Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining legal services for the 21st Century” is a must read for anybody (not just lawyers!) wanting to re-think how they deliver professional services or genuinely add value to a customer. It’s also a recommended read for businesses who just want to challenge their service providers to see how innovative they are and how technology can be embraced for the benefit of everyone. Plenty of businesses have done exactly the same for their own customers.

And yet (to quote Mitch directly): “most law firms around the world still practice law the way it has been practiced for centuries….” Even though the technology to allow for change has existed for at least a decade the legal profession has for the most part “remained maddeningly the same.”

Or as a client of mine put it more bluntly on Tuesday: “the legal profession, generally, is archaic.”

Not all of us are, though. Firms like Clearspire, Riverview, Keystone and, of course, gunnercooke are doing something different and being innovative and disruptive. Some of us have taken the time to rethink delivery of legal services from the ground up, to discuss clients’ requirements in order to find out what they want from their service providers, and to design a model to deliver value, not billable hours. We use technology where we can. We evolve.

Walking around Newcastle (or any other major town or city for that matter) I’m not convinced I see a decline in business on the high street. I see construction, new shops, restaurants, bars – a change in the environment and an evolution in response to new circumstances/times. Innovation and new technology has to be be embraced.

Or as Mr Dylan said:

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he who gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

For the times…….”


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