Nexus was a proud sponsor and speaker at the Centre for Legal Innovation and ALPMA’s inaugural Innovation and LegalTech Week 2021. As part of the webinar conference, Nexus presented in two thought leadership panel discussions about ‘future proofing legal business’ and ‘what clients really want’ from law firms.
Nexus Law Group Managing Director Marcus McCarthy discussed the all-pervasive topic with other innovation thought leaders from Ashurst, Lander & Rogers and PWC.
The general consensus was that whilst COVID was a catalyst for change in many firms and accelerated the adoption of many new technologies, Marcus observed that, “structural disruption in the legal industry had already been proceeding apace for many years prior to this, COVID merely accelerated this. This change began with the emergence of various NewLaw firms around 2011 that represented new business models and, in some cases, an actual structural revision to the law firm itself (like Nexus).
“This structural change has continued with the increasing emergence of legal technology and competition for legal services from outside the legal profession. What COVID perhaps brought into sharp focus was that the way we need to deliver legal services in the modern world still needs to improve or law firms will lose their relevance. In particular, there is an increasing need to fundamentally improve client experience and access to justice, whilst maintaining a core of quality and high-end professional skill that clients actually need and want.”
When asked whether the industry had reached a ‘tipping point of disruption’ Marcus expressed his struggle to determine whether we are at a tipping point or whether, in fact, much of the structural disruption that was anticipated 10 years ago has already occurred. “The fact is whilst we see many new technologies and business models, much of this is simply extensions of existing fundamental concepts that predated them and many of the underlying fundamentals of legal practice simply cannot and should not be changed if we wish to remain strong as a profession and an industry. Technology and NewLaw can be a catalyst for positive innovation, as it has already has been, but can also represent negative disruption if it undermines the professional legal function, which some forget underpins civil society. We should never compromise quality or forget the power of deep knowledge gained from years of experience – no tech platform can ever match that, as it exists wholly with human realm”.
“We are all trying to future proof our businesses and careers in a disrupted world. The real challenge is to not to look too far ahead into the future, which only causes needless anxiety and mean you may jump on a band wagon that doesn’t lead anywhere. Firm leaders should narrow their focus to a short to medium-term view – stick to your cultural values and strategic roadmap. Consider what is actually achievable and what technology really helps you achieve that and improve client experience, everything else is irrelevant. Your clients are already telling you they want – listen to them as opposed what marketing hype is trying to sell you for someone else’s benefit.”
Continuing on the theme of client experience, Nexus National Marketing & Business Manager Justine Lamond spoke with leading legal marketing thought leaders from Dutch Uncle and CXINLAW on how legal providers can improve their clients’ experience of their services and what lessons could be learnt from other industries.
“Our clients’ everyday experiences with products, companies and service providers frame their customer service expectations,” pointed out Justine, “Where other profession service firms and industries have opportunities to build continuous relationships with clients, the nature of legal services is mostly transactional, and a considerable amount of time can pass between each engagement – it is important to note that these are significant and unique challenges for the legal industry.”
“It is crucial for legal providers to understand what clients are expecting to receive from when engage in their services. This being: resolution of their legal problem; confidence in their account care; clarity of the journey ahead regarding communication and control of legal costs; and finally, clients expect to feel positive relief upon resolution of their matter.”
“When looking to improve client experience, legal providers need to start by including the prioritisation of client experience within their Company Values. It needs to be embedded into the foundations up. My other top tips would include:
“Nexus would like to thank the Centre for Legal Innovation and ALPMA for the opportunity of to be part of this thought-provoking event. Innovation and LegalTech Week is about sensibly understanding and navigating the increasing change we face as we move into a post-COVID world. We look forward to being involved in next year’s event,” said Marcus.
Both panel discussions are also available as episodes on the Centre for Legal Innovations’ The Legalpreneurs Sandbox podcast centre:
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