Lawyer Monthly - April 2023

There is a quiet revolution taking place amongst law firms – and it could protect firms’ operating profits in a challenging year. And while the change involves technology and automation, it is not found between practitioners and clients. It is not a ‘front office’ trend. No, the quiet revolution is occurring behind the scenes. For years, law firms have modernised, embracing technology to keep pace with change. From time-keeping to document storage and processing, technology has helped the legal profession to become a mobile, adaptable industry. Indeed, the founding father of the so-called Quiet Revolution was a lawyer: Jean Lesage ushered in a period of modernisation and much change in mid-60s Canada from his base in Quebec. The changes being adopted now, however, are hard to spot. If you are a client, you would not notice. If you are a front-line practitioner – unless in management – you are often unlikely to see it, too. Yet it is there. Scores of firms are not only revamping their client propositions; many are turning to their operations to seek efficiencies and improvements. The most important reason for this is to reflect in firms’ day-to-day operations the same modernity and pace now experienced in client services. And at no time is this more important than when two different organisations consolidate. Over the last decade, mergers and acquisitions in the legal sector have been a big trend. Last year, Legal Futures confirmed just how active the market is in a survey of 100 law firms. They found that nearly 50% (47) were considering M&A, and a quarter of this group (23%) were already in talks about a possible deal. Meanwhile, a further 57% of this group were ‘actively’ seeking one. Looking ahead, things are only set to pick up pace, with analysts now predicting that M&A activity will surge in the recession as bigger firms look to take advantage of the economic downturn and acquire smaller firms at lower prices. And as consolidations pick up pace, so too will the discreet movement away from the past way of doing things. There are many reasons why it is important for firms to transform operationally as they consolidate. The situation that Dutch multinational HR service provider Randstad found itself in in 2015 provides a great example. Randstad merged various units that year 40 LAWYER MONTHLY APRIL 2023 Special Feature Digitalisation has been a catalyst for the rapid growth of many businesses over the past decade. The legal sector is no exception to this, with many law firms singling out technological innovation as the single greatest area for investment in the coming year. Below, we hear from Ilija Ugrinic at Proactis on the significance of modernisation for the legal sector. The Legal Sector’s Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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