Often, the phrase “law new” refers to a practice area or to legal services that are innovative in terms of process and technology. Increasingly, it also means new ways to deliver legal services. It can be a significant source of growth for law firms. It can also offer a way for companies to meet the ever-increasing demands of their customers and clients.
As a result, the law new trend is changing how large and small law firms approach the business of providing legal help to their customers and clients. This is not just about finding ways to cut costs but it is a new way of looking at legal service delivery in terms of what can be done more efficiently, as well as in terms of what kind of help clients want and need.
The nature of this change is evolving as well. In the past, firms looked for ways to deliver legal help more efficiently and effectively by cutting salaries or reducing the use of full time staff. While this will continue to be a vital component of the legal industry, it is becoming more important for firms to understand what they can do to unleash their potential and provide the kind of legal help that clients want and need.
A good place to start when considering what is law new is by thinking about how we define law and what it does for the world. The earliest definitions of law tended to focus on the idea that it is a set of commandments, enforced by force or threat of force, from a sovereign to whom people have a habit of obedience. This is sometimes called the utilitarian argument for the existence of law. More recently, scholars have suggested that a more accurate definition of law might be one that incorporates the notion of morality and is based on a set of principles and standards of conduct that all members of society should agree to respect and uphold.
This is a new definition of law that recognizes that, in a more nuanced way than utilitarianism, there are core values and fundamental principles that all legal consumers should expect and demand from the providers of their legal services. It is this type of new law that is transforming the industry and will ultimately lead to a different type of law firm (and in-house legal department) paradigm. Legal ops, legal innovation, and ALSPs will become part of a larger law firm or in-house legal department delivery structure that is integrated and built around a customer-centric, purpose driven, data-backed, technology enabled delivery model that drives impact and enhances end-user experience and outcomes. The new law is a change in paradigm driven by the need to produce law that is truly new.