Watch out – there goes the legal eagle! I hadn’t even started my first day at House of Performance when I heard the first remark: “Ugh – lawyers! What’s it like being one? Are you one of those people who avoid any kind of risk like the plague?” With five years of experience in the legal profession and having only just married a lawyer too, I immediately felt cornered. There’s no doubt that the legal profession is a very traditional profession in which you need a headful of knowledge and an eye for detail. But it’s nothing like as predictable as people think. Each question is different, and each client is unique. So let’s do away with all the preconceptions.
As I step back to reach a more objective viewpoint, I can regard the profession from a better perspective. I can also see what’s behind the questions I’ve already mentioned. My stark conclusion is that the legal profession continues to lag behind. The developments in today’s society are taking place at a pace that even Usain Bolt couldn’t possibly match. Over the past few years, legal rules have been relaxed a lot. Whereas you used to always need a lawyer to go to court, that’s no longer necessary. LegalTech has come from nowhere to suddenly become a booming business, and contracts can now be plucked off the internet by all sorts of tools at significantly lower rates – while the quality is practically the same.
The legal profession is a traditional one – and in fact one of the oldest trades around. It’s a fabulous line of work, and is of tremendous value to society. Whichever legal field you work in, you serve a social purpose. That’s also one of the reasons why the legal profession comes in for such close inspection. And it’s also one of the reasons why the legal profession has to change. It simply cannot afford to continue standing still. After all, legal professionals need to operate at the top of their game. But new developments – and in particular LegalTech – are shaking traditional legal firms to the core. Yet at the same time, digitisation has a huge amount to offer the legal profession, which could take advantage of it to provide even better services. So why is change proving so difficult? It is being resisted by factors such as the current business models, the fact that time gains also mean turnover losses, the inability to realise the urgency of the situation, and simply the lack of knowledge about the possibilities.
House of Performance already had its sights on the legal profession long before I started working here. We are focusing on helping legal firms to take their first steps in dealing with these kind of trends – in a manner that fits in with their existing business model. For example, by starting up flexible ‘speedboat offices’ alongside the large, sluggish ‘cruise ship offices’, which we are doing from our Powered By branch. But also by setting up tools whereby clients can be served better, or by thinking up new ways of charging for services.
I’ve represented the legal profession proudly and with great pleasure for five years. And now I hope that I can contribute to it in a different way. Because there is absolutely no doubt that it is a wonderful and important vocation, nor that it must be treasured and protected. If you’d like to know more about the changes I’ve talked about and how best to respond to them – or if you want to have a sparring partner to discuss them with, without committing yourself further – just call my cohttp://hofp.nl/team/mikebakker/league Mike or myself, or get in touch with us by email.