There must be something wrong. No profession has more jokes about it than ‘The Law’.
This humour veils a pretty disturbing narrative – The Law is a failed profession. Its undercurrent suggests that lawyers care more about squeezing dollars out of their clients than they do about delivering value. Depressing? It’s far worse. The people who are most upset about this paradigm are the lawyers themselves.
The Law has the highest rate of depression of any industry in Australia.
Only 11% of respondents to a recent poll of Australian lawyers said their career had fulfilled their expectations, and less than 12% of clients are satisfied with their law firm.
We don’t believe the solution is to wholesale ship legal work offshore in a LPO model – the salary of a top Australian lawyer is not the problem. Nor are we so sensationalist as to prophesize the end of ‘Big Law’ (as our bLAWg argues. It will fail…but mostly it will fade out). Talented people at traditional law firms will continue to deliver value to their clients – if they are engaged in an effective way.
However, the status quo is too broken to remain. The Law is the last of the guilds – medieval confederates of craftsmen who guard their trade secrets and eccentricities to earn oligopolistic profits.
Today a confluence of market forces and technology are providing unprecedented opportunities for change.
These opportunities highlight the inalienable truth: most legal tasks shouldn’t cost a lot, and the few that deserve a premium can be performed far more efficiently. Sadly most legal service providers who claim they are ‘innovative’ or ‘disruptive’ are hiding a traditional firm behind a thin veil of smoke and mirrors.
At Plexus we believe in a better future. When we began our mission five years ago, most people told us it couldn’t be done. “If that worked someone else would have done it by now” they said. Yet in Plexus we launched the vanguard of a revolution in Australian Law.
We built a better model. We ‘disaggregated’ large legal projects, like litigation, for the first time in Australia. We invented ‘Lean for Lawyers’ our proprietary process re-engineering methodology. We pioneered the ‘in-sourcing’ of legal work through our secondment model. We were the first law firm in Australia to apply artificial intelligence to end-to-end the automate legal tasks. And we have many, many wonderful clients to thank for their support of these radical innovations.
In the process, we are helping to build a new norm founded on a central belief at odds with the traditional law firm – if you are smart enough in business and in life everyone should win. A refreshing thought? This is just the beginning.
To do all the cool things we do for clients we have to be a law firm. But the similarity stops at the legal entity. We have unshackled talented lawyers from grey suits, high overheads, billable hours and the costly partnership structure…along with many other anachronisms. We are super-empowering our people with work/life balance, process re-engineering, technology and a compelling culture.
Our clients love it. Our people live it. If you want to be part of our vision to ‘Create the Future of The Law’ contact us about joining the revolution.
Andrew Mellett – cofounder Plexus