Could your firm be suffering from ‘law lag'?

A reluctance to adapt certain out-dated methods has barred many firms from tapping into a new generation of talented lawyers who crave a different employment model. The head of a legal outsourcing provider explains which ideas have had their time

Law firms are failing to adapt their workplaces to the needs and aspirations of the current generation of lawyers, the managing director of a legal outsourcing firm has said.

Stanislav Roth, managing director of Source Legal, has told Australasian Lawyer that ‘law lag’ – the belief that the legal industry is always lagging years behind other fields - is real and the legal industry does in fact trail when it comes to development and innovation.

“Law lag is undeniable. It is a much broader issue than law firms not adopting technological developments, and it effects women lawyers in particular,” Roth said.

“In my view, law firms are simply not providing services in a way that businesses need and are sticking to an archaic model of employing lawyers, getting them to meet ridiculous billable hours targets and flogging those hours to clients at ridiculously expensive rates.”

Firms sticking to their traditional models will ultimately suffer as they will no longer appeal to young lawyers, losing out to firms with more innovative approaches.  

Roth believes that abandoning the billable hour is an important way of giving lawyers more flexibility.

“Allowing them to work in their own time and to work without watching a clock is crucial,” Roth said.

“It allows them to focus on the deliverables instead of worrying about the speed in which they are delivering them.”

Roth also said that all lawyers today want the flexibility to work from home and while travelling by using the latest technology that is readily available to facilitate this.

“This is especially so for women with children who are often unable to pursue their careers in law firms when they have children, despite law firms paying lip service to them and saying they will be accommodated.”

Roth said that the same problems were also prevalent in in-house legal departments.

“Giving lawyers the flexibility to work from home through technology is very simple.  It does take a degree of trust, but if that is there, they can virtually work anywhere.”

Does 'law lag'exist?  Does the legal industry really lag behind everybody else?

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