A combination of drivers is causing the legal profession to undergo significant and permanent change. Internal drivers include the current debate surrounding the Legal Services Charter and the pending Legal Practice Bill, while external drivers of change such as increased competition, changing client requirements, technologies like the Internet and even global warming continue to impact on the profession. Such changes occur every three to four generations and with them come concerns but also huge opportunities for the profession.
With this as a background, what do Reinhardt Buys's ten predictions entail?
- The hourly billing system and its fairness to clients will come under scrutiny.
- Lawyers will have increased competition from non-lawyers.
- Legal services will increasingly be delivered electronically.
- Law firms will increasingly develop and provide new and unique legal services.
- There will be more mega law firm mergers.
- There will be increased commoditisation of legal services.
- Bigger allocations for technology budgets will be made.
- SharePoint wave will strike local firms this year.
- Law firms will become more decentralised.
- The Legal Services Charter will be accepted and the Legal Practice Bill will be promulgated.