This is a post about endings. It has two main parts.
Firstly, the legal profession, and my thoughts on where we are in the evolution of the legal services market.
Secondly this blog, and where it’s going (if you don’t give two hoots about this, stop after the first section – that’s fine by me).
I started writing this post almost exactly two years since I started blogging, and the amount of change in the legal profession in that time has been phenomenal. It’s as though much of the innovation and drive that has been missing from so many parts of the profession for decades has suddenly been discovered and injected into its flabby buttocks.
Yet it really only is just beginning.
My first couple of posts were about how change was coming and that the increasing pace of the market meant traditional ways of formulating strategy were unlikely to be fast enough for law firms to be successful in the new world.
As the changes that were on the horizon became reality, there was no shortage of material to write about – outsourcing, new business models, technology, the need for innovation and differentiation, and the even more pressing drive for efficiency and (truly) effective strategy. As fast as I could write, real world examples appeared in the press:
- Outsourcing really taking off? Have a look at Cameron’s deal with Integreon
- Industry consolidation? What about the merger between Cylde & Co and BLG
- Technology making an impact – Google invests in Rocket lawyer
- Law firms going out of business – Read the sad tale of Halliwells
- New business models – did you anticipate the Co-op hiring a top-end family law team?
- Equity investment in law firms – Quality Solicitors won’t be the last private equity investment
The speculation about the possibility of UK law firms attracting external investment and the potential that brought began to become reality with the emergence of new law firm franchise models and the well publicised investment in Quality Solicitors (mentioned above). Much of the focus in this area was on consumer focussed legal services, but in the world of commercial law, pricing models continued to vex the profession, with pressure on profits resulting from a growing rejection of the billable hour model and a re-examination of what value really means in the world of legal services.
Irrespective of whether lawyers were working in the world of business or consumer legal services, traditional career paths were breaking down and new options were emerging. This in turn has triggered a debate about how fit for purpose current legal training is - and, in particular, against the current economic backdrop, whether training as a lawyer is a sensible career choice.
Massive change, in the space of two years.
This change will undoubtedly continue, and in my view will accelerate. For the agile, entrepreneurial firms and lawyers, and those new entrants with the assets and appetite for success, this is a time of great opportunity. For those law firms struggling to change, sitting on the fence, or burying their head, the end may not be as far off as you think.
So for those law firms, I do think this is the beginning of the end, but for many more this is the end of the beginning.
Let your creativity and courage take centre stage and sieze the opportunities that will emerge.
And so to this blog.
After two years, around 100 posts and over 35,000 views, it feels like it’s time for a change.
Time to sit back and watch the market – watch new business models and legal service providers emerge and challenge old ways of thinking.
Time to listen to new voices and examine the new perspectives that will undoubtedly join the more established commentators.
Time to reflect on the fantastic comments and feedback on the blog thus far.
Is this the end?
I feel I have a book brewing, and it maybe that a break from the blog helps me get it written.
It may be that some of the developments in the profession get me blogging again sooner than expected.
Time will tell.
But for now, it’s goodbye and thanks for reading. If you’re a new visitor, take some time to explore the links in this post. If you’re a regular, thanks so much for your support. You are the reason I’ve been writing, and I sincerely hope you’ve found some of my posts helpful.
Postscript – how the year turned out.
For the curious and any of my regular readers who return in a fit of nostalgia, WordPress sent me some interesting facts and figures about the blog which I thought I’d share:
- The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
- The busiest day of the year was January 18th with 2,870 views. The most popular post that day was You are wrong. I am right..
- Most visitors came from The United States. The United Kingdom & Netherlands were not far behind.
- Top referring sites were wordpress, twitter and linkedin
Top search terms were: intelligent challenge, value disciplines, chargeable hours, and identify the best value discipline.
Thanks again for visiting.