Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Thomson Reuters has been asking some of the company's legal business leaders to make predictions about trends in the legal marketplace we can expect to see in the coming year. Based on the two opinions solicited thus far, we can expect flat demand for the services of BigLaw, increased demand for alternative legal service providers and a continuing trend towards greater globalization.
First on deck is Chang Wang, chief research and academic officer:
“The legal marketplace will continue to be globalized, and the legal professionals will have to struggle to deal with the challenges presented by this globalization. It is predictable that the development of the law will be behind the reality of globalization in the coming year.
International firms will continue to handle multi-national mergers and complex, multi-jurisdictional business transactions; domestic firms will aspire to go international by wading into the water of cross-border transactions, or by dealing with issues related to the acquisition of domestic businesses by foreign investors; and some legal services will continue to be transferred offshore.
The rapid development of technology and the integration of global economic systems will generate more and more legal issues: miscommunication; choice of law; data security and cyber espionage; export control; Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); and unprecedented, potential human rights violations – Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). All these will challenge existing processes and protocols for managing international transactions and enterprises, and will change the way in which we perceive and calculate the benefits of globalization. Furthermore, fundamental tensions among different ideological and political systems will continue to play a larger-than-anticipated role in economic affairs, creating even more complications and uncertainties intra legem, legally speaking.”
Next up is Mark Medice, senior director of Peer Monitor:
“Growth and differentiation is the focal point for law firms in 2013. Demand is flat for large law firms and shifting to other providers (e.g., in-house, down-market, LPOs), and pricing power has moved to clients. These pressures will drive refined talent strategies, much greater efficiency movements, matter management discipline, and smarter client development strategies. We are in the early innings of a structural change cycle.”
Hat tip to the Law Librarian Blog.