Altman Weil Sponsors Legal Transformation Study

Newtown Square, PA – March 25, 2008 – A pioneering study of the global legal industry conducted by a group of legal and business thought leaders has identified 11 key trends and uncertainties likely to impact the legal profession over the next decade, and presented four provocative strategic planning scenarios for how legal services may be delivered in 2020.

The Legal Transformation Study: Your 2020 Vision of the Future, published earlier this month by Decision Strategies International and Legal Research Center, resulted from scores of in-depth interviews conducted throughout 2007 and 2008 with senior partners at law firms, executives at corporate law departments and senior management at legal service supplier organizations.

“The comprehensive industry assessment identified 11 key global trends and uncertainties shaping the future of the legal industry, then developed four possible planning scenarios that the legal industry may face in the next decade,” said Paul Schoemaker, Ph.D., research director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at Wharton Business School, and the founder and executive chairman of Decision Strategies International.  “These four scenarios can be used as a framework for challenging current service models within the industry, answering key strategic questions, and helping stakeholders, including corporate law departments, law firms and legal service suppliers, identify proactive strategies to ensure future success.”

According to Dr. Schoemaker, four possible scenarios for the delivery of legal services between now and 2020 are summarized as follows:

- Blue-Chip Mega-Mania: A model that emphasizes the global consolidation of legal service providers and the dominance of giant law firms with vast global presence and offerings spanning all legal areas.

- Expertopia: A scenario that envisions the increasing complexity of the law and challenges of corporations operating in multiple environments worldwide, thereby placing a premium on specialization and expert-driven cultures at legal services organizations.

- E-Marketplace: A model built on the premise that technology will be a catalyst, but not the core, for an industry transformation in which an array of Web-based technologies will make information more available and expert judgment more valuable.

- Techno-Law: A scenario that contemplates rising corporate investment in automation capabilities throughout the legal services industry, leaving only the high-end services to be delivered by legal professionals and potentially requiring a complete reconstruction of the traditional business models in the legal services industry.

“In the past, law firms and corporate law departments have frequently been taken by surprise by unexpected forces that directly influenced the practice of law,” said Jim Seidl, president of Legal Research Center and co-developer of the Study.  “The findings of this Study will empower legal service providers to proactively compete more successfully in the global legal marketplace, reduce the risk of unexpected business surprises and threats, and identify new opportunities for business growth in the next decade.”

“As a provider of services within the dynamic electronic discovery services arena, we closely monitor current trends and anticipate the future of our profession to help our clients make well-informed decisions and achieve favorable results,” said Greg Mazares, president and CEO of Encore Legal Solutions.  “The Legal Transformation Study is an important tool we can all use to prepare for any number of potential business scenarios.  We are pleased to have been a primary developer of the Study and look forward to sharing the results with our clients and other legal professionals across the nation.”

“This Study is a tool to test the resiliency of law firm strategic plans across a range of possible futures, or to develop new plans more likely to assure their success,” said Ward Bower, strategy consultant at Altman Weil.  “This is critical stuff for law firms.  If they get their basic direction wrong, they’re toast.”
 
“There can be no doubt that we are poised for significant change between now and 2020, with a wide range of business, technological and regulatory forces sure to have a major impact on the way that legal services are delivered to corporations worldwide,” said Mark Chandler, general counsel of Cisco Systems, and a Study contributor.  “This groundbreaking Study identifies the likely components of these industry changes and prescribes important guidelines for how corporate law departments, law firms and other legal service providers can start planning now to seize these emerging opportunities while protecting against competitive threats.”

Sponsors of the Legal Transformation Study include Encore Legal Solutions, Altman Weil, Inc., Jomati Consultants LLP, Bridgeway Software, Inc., Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, DuPont Legal, Eversheds, Intellevate, Meritas and Solomon Page Group LLC.  Co-producers of the Legal Transformation Study are Decision Strategies International  and Legal Research Center. 

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Contact Information

Ward Bower
Altman Weil, Inc.
(610) 886-2021
wbower@altmanweil.com

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