Law Firm of the 21st Century: The Clients’ Revolution – a Study by Eversheds LLP

Eversheds LLP published this past Monday a 16-page report called “Law Firm of the 21st Century: The Clients’ Revolution.”

Their news release is here and summarizes their findings in these terms:

– Recession accelerates change in legal sector by 10 years
– Inefficient sector now puts value and efficiency first
– Hourly rate billing gives way to value billing
– Clients hold power in legal supply relationships
– General Counsel rises in status
– Magic circle category increasingly redundant

A new report warns law firms that that they need to modernise or lose out as a major power shift is taking place in favour of the in-house client. The report, which canvassed the opinions of 130 General Counsel and 80 law firm partners around the world, reveals that 78% believe that the recession will have a lasting impact on the profession, and that value and efficiency are now the non-negotiable attributes a client looks for in a legal partner

Clearly this echoes in part a trend that others in the legal industry have started to identify. What I found interesting is their description of “the perfect storm” that has caused these changes to come about, with the recent economic downturn only being a catalyst for these change and not the sole cause. There are also numerous discussions about the Middle East, Asia and Latin America being the “battlegrounds” for new legalwork. However, the “revolution” they discuss is what is important with their study, the notion raised by their report that clients are now starting to hold power in the lawyer-client relationship.

The report does not appear to be available for download on their website but can be ordered from them for free as a PDF attachment (here).

However, they have an 8-minute video discussing the issues raised in the report:

The Clients’ Revolution from Eversheds Web on Vimeo.

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