The future of law is already here. It’s at a very early stage of what I believe will be a tremendous roller coaster ride of disruption over the next 5, 10, 15 years. I think there are four primary factors that are the biggest disruptors right now and are forcing change.
Technology is the primary one, of course. We all know the internet has changed everything in our lives and certainly in our businesses. What I mean by that is before the internet, business really had the balance of power in the relationship between consumers and businesses. That was because businesses could just assume that they had a fairly healthy margin of failure between themselves and their customers before they would feel significant negative consequences. And the reason for that was consumers’ power or ability to communicate their unhappiness with their experience was very limited. It would be to their family, their friends and some co-workers (their circle of influence), which, prior to the internet, was pretty small.
But what happened is that when the internet came, the balance of power within a decade shifted to the consumer because now, if a consumer has one bad experience with an otherwise fantastic company or an otherwise fantastic attorney, it takes them all of about 30 seconds to tell the entire world. That’s massive power. So it’s not enough anymore to provide a quality product or a quality service. Now it’s necessary to deliver outstanding customer experiences every time or as close to every time as possible.
It’s getting better now, but certainly when I first started practicing, which was before the internet, attorneys had no appreciation for the relationship piece with their clients. It was purely a technical, “I’m here to be the lawyer,” to provide the technical or legal results, and I don’t care whether you like me or not. Those days are long gone. So this idea of a total, complete client service experience from beginning (the consult) to the end is critical for us all to be very, very focused on because, frankly, those who don’t get this are destined to fail eventually.
This post relates to a video, The Future of Law (is here): Consumers, available here.