In the law, as in many other industries, change is accelerating at dizzying speed. But for some, navigating that change is challenging. The legal function, which traditionally has been a slow adopter of new technology and business models, is coming under pressure to transform rapidly to meet customer demands. This is driving a number of companies, startups and law firm subsidiaries augmenting traditional practice to take on the label “New Law.” While the exact nature of what’s considered new in the field isn’t fully established, it’s clear that the term is meant to convey innovation.
To be called new, a concept needs to be relevant to current legal challenges and opportunities, and it should provide a viable pathway to the future of the practice of law. It must have a distinct, separate management team and structure from traditional legal partners (though that’s not always the case) and utilize different fee structures. New legal concepts are leveraging new technologies and approaches to deliver better legal help at lower cost. And that can be a real benefit to customers and society at large.
But what does this all mean for the law? The answer lies in the idea that, as the world changes at an ever-increasing pace, the practice of law has to do the same. That means being open to new ideas at every turn, using innovative technologies, embracing technology-driven process and focus, and working with clients in a way that’s more collaborative than the standard partnership model.
What will the practice of law look like in 2023? The most notable changes will occur at the provider level. The dominant provider sources are law firms and in-house legal departments, but they operate from different economic models, cultures, remits, data, and technology platforms. New law will embrace collaboration between and among providers, erasing artificial, lawyer-created distinctions and creating a fluid supply chain that’s integrated into the wider enterprise, providing significant value to customers and business colleagues, reducing risk exposure and cost, and freeing up legal management to concentrate on core objectives.
The New Law that matters
The laws of 2023 include some major new ones that will impact the lives of many Californians. Among the more notable, one bans stores from charging higher prices for shampoo and other products marketed to women, ending what is called the pink tax. Another requires that city agencies disclose when private identifying information is breached, a move to help people protect their privacy. A final law will increase transparency about how much a job pays, a tool for improving wages and workplace equality. This is the kind of law that could inspire other industries to rethink the way they do business. And that, in turn, could help bring about even more change.