Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ABA Journal: Legal Services Companies Are Eating Law Firms' Lunch

COverABA Journal:  Who’s Eating Law Firms’ Lunch?, by Rachel Zahorsky (Director of Marketing, Novus Law) & William D. Henderson (Indiana):

2012 revenue for the top 100 U.S. firms totaled more than $70 billion, according to American Lawyer magazine. Since the recession hit the legal profession in 2007, these firms have grown in headcount, often through mergers and the absorption of lawyers from several law firm failures. But on a per-lawyer basis, revenue has been essentially flat.

Novus Law, by contrast, is tripling its revenue year over year. And as Novus and many other legal vendors snatch millions of dollars in work typically done by traditional law firms, the growth of the Am Law 100 could disappear completely.

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What do they do about conflicts? It seems like this would be a big problem trying to be a service instead of a firm. Do they just have their customers, I mean clients, sign good waivers?

Posted by: JudgeSmails | Sep 25, 2013 3:31:11 PM

"License at risk" A silly comment!

Posted by: planwiz | Sep 25, 2013 3:24:34 PM

I have no doubt these legal services companies can manage documents. I have some doubts about the quality of their review and analysis of the documents they manage. (Certainly, if my freedom, property, or livelihood were dependent upon document review and analysis, I would want the review and analysis done by live associates working in windowless rooms, employed by mid- to large-sized law firms rather than a legal services company.) But I have very grave doubts that legal services companies can produce high-quality briefs and motion papers. Nor would I want to put my license at risk in a case in which such shortcuts were employed.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Sep 25, 2013 6:38:06 AM

Marc Andreessen forcefully predicted this in 2011: "Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming."
Even earlier, the cyberpunks were predicting a shift of normal human intereactions into digital space and one author, Ian MacDonald I think, featured a lawyer-character negotiating against an automated lawyer, a kind of Think Blue with Checkpoint.

Posted by: Yo Gabba Gabba | Sep 24, 2013 1:00:05 PM