Times Online has a nice little piece from an interview of Rosemary Martin, the new chief executive of The Practical Law Company, in which Ms Martin argues that law firms will need to change the way they do business, and in particular move away from charging by the hour.
“The clients have been supine,” Martin says crisply. That may be about to change if she has her way. “For the past 25 years lawyers have largely resisted changes. My goal is not to make lawyers poorer but I do want to make law firms more productive and effective.” If successful, legal fees should fall and clients should get a better deal. Ultimately everyone would benefit…”
PLC, she says, is poised to help law firms lower fees by helping them provide routine service much more cheaply thanks to the combination of knowledge management and information technology.
This is not a new idea by any means. It’s been mooted on Slaw a number of times. My guess, however, is that as slow as Brit lawyers might be to change their modus billandi, Canadian lawyers will be even slower. This would be a shame, of course, if only because a business like The Practical Law Company looks like a fascinating enterprise, appealing to me, at least, as a challenge to provide the best of what knowledge management has to offer in the legal field. A Canadian equivalent would be fascinating.