The following previous trends will also remain topical in the future:
1. Efficiency: customers will continue to require their providers to be efficient.
2. New law: alternative legal service providers will continue to gain ground and to increasingly consolidate and professionalise their operations. This also includes services offered through platforms. Traditional providers (law firms and legal departments) will have to consider their integration into their own value creation chains.
3. Stagnating growth of legal departments: as a first consequence of these two trends, the growth of legal departments may slow down.
4. Challenges to procurement are increasing: as a further consequence of this, the purchase of legal services will become more demanding. This applies to both customers and providers.
5. Procurement departments are becoming (more of) a matter of course: the acceptance of procurement is constantly on the increase; only the distribution of function between them and the legal departments has to be sorted out.
6. Adjusted business models: in future, the above changes will have to be taken into consideration by all legal service providers. There is no standard solution for everyone; solutions will depend on each individual case. One thing is clear, however; the sale of legal knowledge will not be sufficient as a USP any longer.
Besides these current trends in the legal market, I can see further challenges for the year ahead that will accelerate the upheavals in the legal market:
7. New services and products: costs can be optimised to a certain extent only (for example, more favourably priced office space and downsizing of personnel). Once the base has been reached, the earnings side will have to be strengthened. This can only be done by offering new services and now also products, on the one hand, and through an adjusted business model, on the other hand.
8. Digitalisation: legal service providers will increasingly check in which areas the available technical support can be used and will be helpful.
9. Market liberalisation: the legal market will admit further providers; indeed, it will even welcome them in the light of improved access to the justice.
10. Leadership and soft skills: legal providers’ (new) USP will begin to emerge in the area of their non-legal skills and competencies. These include a convincing presence, clear and comprehensible communication vis-à-vis customers and staff, as well as convincing leadership and negotiation competencies.
In sum, it may be noted that another exciting year is in the offing and that it will be interesting to see how the legal market will continue to change.
Would you like to have a closer look at the 2020 trends? Please read my article which was recently published in the AnwaltSpiegel issue of 8 January 2020 here (German only).