Beaton Capital hosted an elite forum the future of BigLaw firms with leaders of major law firms in Australia… These notes on the future of BigLaw firms cover some of the highlights of the forum.
Implications for General Counsel
To extent to which there is an ‘old guard’ (with BigLaw DNA) and a ‘new guard’ amongst GCs was discussed; the consensus and evidence suggested ‘yes, there is’. Implications include willingness to use NewLaw firms with British Telecom appointment of Axiom for anti-trust work being cited as evidence of the latter.
Recognition by BigLaw of what client GCs define as law firm expertise in their businesses and industries was recognised as a major opportunity for those firms who deeply understand how to align themselves with clients. The power of being differentiated in this way is rewarded by mitigating price-down pressures exerted by clients.
This led into a discussion of the merits of law firms managing, or at least co-managing, the whole legal supply chain as Seyfarth Shaw is already doing.
New, and not-so-new, competitors
Finally the impact to-date of NewLaw business model firms was assessed. It was noted that for the first time in Australia large firms are encountering competition from brands such AdventBalance, Bespoke and Plexus.