Sunday, August 14, 2011

Prof says lawyers of future must offer "Wal-Mart efficiency with a Neiman Marcus feel."

Thomas Morgan, a law professor at George Washington, recently spoke at a meeting of the Florida Bar Association's  Board of Governors in Palm Beach where he predicted that the future of practice will see more commoditization of legal services a la LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer.  Those who don't learn to compete with these low cost providers will perish.  Professor Morgan says lawyers will have to deliver "Wal-Mart efficiency with a Neiman Marcus feel."

Among his other predictions:

  • The present trend of too many lawyers compared to the number of available jobs will continue.
  • Domestic lawyers must learn to compete in a climate of globalization and off-shoring.
  • Cyber-firms will find solos advising clients across state lines as well as teaming up with attorneys from other states to pool their expertise in order to deliver legal advice more cost-effectively.
  • Lawyers will increasingly try to "brand" themselves through blogging and other online activities in an effort to develop a reputation as the "go-to" person on specialized legal issues.
  • Because client problems are becoming increasingly complex, no single lawyer will have the expertise to handle it all. Instead, attorneys will have to become experts in very narrow niches and excel at those specialities in order to attract and retain work.
  • Attorneys will have to better understand the non-legal aspects of their clients' problems since that may become the most important way to hold onto a client in a climate where inexpensive alternatives are just a click away.

You can read more about Professor Morgan's remarks at the Florida bar meeting here.

Hat tip to Professor Steve Wisotsky.


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