Matt Broadbent - If you want to see the legal future, read….Legal Futures
If you haven't yet realised that all sorts of weird and wonderful things are happening in the legal services market, it's time to wake up and get with the picture. The Legal Services Act 2007 is really coming into its own as we observe the arrival of alternative business structures (ABS), heated debate over where the profession is going and a noticeable upturn in consolidation in the market (that's law firms merging by the way). The legal landscape is changing and, quite frankly, it's up to you to seek out the map to where you will be spending your future.
I'd recommend you do so with two imperatives in mind: firstly, you need to be looking at your employment prospects in the context of a changing, fracturing marketplace. There will be losers as well as winners, so it's important to suss out who is in good shape when you consider employers. Secondly, you need to show that you have the market awareness to be able to talk intelligently to recruiters about what is happening. If you display no knowledge of (or interest in) the industry that you plan to join, you're not going to do very well!
One place to keep abreast of what is going on is Neil Rose's excellent blog and website, Legal Futures. Even a quick run around the site every month will keep your ‘informed candidate' credentials well above average. Here are some of the things I unearthed in a session today:
Professor Richard Susskind, a veteran gazer into the legal crystal ball, has published a new book which identifies the fact that the rise of entrepreneurial inspiration around the professions offers massive opportunities for companies willing to alter the ways in which planning and processing work. In turn…
A recent survey has shown that firms are making significant changes to their strategies. The content of this piece is a great starting point for you to get your head around what's happening and develop your ability to speak intelligently about the topic (you never know when a rogue interviewer is going to leap from behind a bush and bellow, “How will ABS affect the way lawyers work?!”).
Who else might be stepping on law firms' turf?
Accountants? Yikes! And will-writers are getting into probate too? You say they will be regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers? Who are they? I thought the SRA was the regulator - so how many ABSs have they approved? To learn more about what's to come, have a chat with the SRA's very own Samantha Barrass.
And there's more, so much more. While we've not quite got to meerkats and opera singers, there is a growth in comparison sites for legal services and we may soon grow to loathe a talking wig!
There's a lot more to find out and, importantly, there are plenty of insights as to how and why firms operate as businesses. Don't say nobody told you!