An article in Lawyers Weekly “Economics forcing firms to cut ties” by Grant Cameron discusses how firms are de-equitizing partners and sometimes keeping them on as associates. http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&volume=34&number=29&article=5
De-equitizing partners seems like a band-aid approach to a bigger problem. In attempting to navigate the changes in the legal market, Richard Susskind recommends that we ask “[w]hat value, what benefits, do clients really seek when they instruct their lawyers?”.
Traditionally, lawyers have served as trusted advisors, usually in a one-to-one conventional manner. However, in these stressed economic times, legal services are under strain.
The Internet has provided a new channel for the delivery of knowledge and experience. We are seeing new online legal services like LegalZoom provide affordable and accessible legal documents. Although many lawyers object to the new ways of business, their claims are disingenuous.
Susskind remarks that the jealous guards (lawyers who object to online legal services) are primarily concerned with the threats to their income and their self-esteem.
While the profession undergoes growing pains in the digital age, Susskind echoes Alan Kay and says that the “best way to predict the future is to invent it”.