What is Law New?

Law new describes the fluid and collaborative delivery of legal services. It encompasses new methods of legal problem solving and a more holistic approach to business of law issues, including technology-enabled innovation, the incorporation of alternative fee structures, and strategic alliances with other businesses, professions and industries. It also involves the use of innovative, creative and often unconventional strategies to meet client needs. In practice, it is difficult to define law new in precise terms. The concept is sometimes linked to “legal tech,” “legal ops” and “ALSPs” — all of which describe elements of the legal industry’s evolution.

Collaboration is fundamental to the success of a business in today’s rapidly changing, hyper-competitive and risky marketplace. Companies routinely collaborate on research and development projects and with competitors across industries. The automotive industry, for example, regularly partners with rivals on joint ventures to develop and market new cars. And while the concept of collaboration is relatively new to the legal industry, it is gaining acceptance and traction at many firms.

Firms that are embracing the ideas of law new are seeking to create strategies and business models that enable them to deliver legal assistance in different ways, and to address clients’ business issues at a higher speed and lower cost. They are integrating with other parts of their businesses, and are working with other companies in their supply chains to achieve better economics and more efficient processes. These firms are creating relationships that extend far beyond their traditional law firm clients, and are forming alliances with the clients’ other suppliers.

The idea of law new is gaining currency because it reflects how many lawyers are adapting to an increasingly complex and challenging business environment. It is a response to the need for legal practitioners to be more agile, creative and effective, and to be prepared for constant change. In doing so, law new is preparing the legal industry to better serve its clients and society.

One example of this change is a new California law that takes effect on Jan. 1 to end the “pink tax.” Previously, stores in the state were allowed to charge women more for identical products sold to men. The law will require stores to disclose the prices of their products by gender, and could put them in the financial crosshairs if they fail to comply.

As more and more firms, in-house departments and legal service providers adopt this new paradigm, the legal industry will begin to resemble its corporate customers and society at large. The workforce will be more diverse, cognitively, demographically and culturally. It will be more collaborative, technology- and data-proficient and empathetic. It will work as part of a more integrated, customer-centric legal function that embraces change management and focuses on producing customer impact and high net promoter scores, rather than legacy delivery model profit preservation and self-congratulatory awards.