One of the last bastions of the old world

In his review of Remaking Law Firms in the Journal of the Law Society of New South Wales, Justin Moses refers to the traditional law firm as ‘one of the last bastions of the old world’. Read what the Head of Knowledge & Development: Compliance, Legal & Secretariat at the Westpac Banking Corporation has to say.

“For centuries, our profession has been imbued with tradition, precedent and gravitas and its practitioners seen as conservative, risk-averse and slow to change. But in 2016, if you were to eavesdrop on the conversations among lawyers in the cafes and restaurants of the city’s legal precinct, you would overhear liberal references to new and momentous concepts and ideas. Concepts such as the demise of BigLaw, the emergence of NewLaw, the rise Legal Processing Outsourcing, artificial intelligence and IBM’s “Watson” supercomputer rendering lawyers less valuable than robots.

For the times they are a-changing, and one of the last bastions of the old world – the traditional law firm model – urgently needs to consider whether, and how, it needs to reinvent itself.

In Remaking Law Firms, George Beaton, an eminent academic and long-standing commentator on the profession, together with co-author Imme Kaschner, provide law firms with a primer on determining their readiness to embrace these changes and on prioritising the myriad factors that can influence the scope and pace of their change agenda. Even the inspiration for this book – an earlier Beaton e-book that emerged from a highly active blog about the “NewLaw” phenomenon – speaks to a major change in the way lawyers are thinking about the way insights should be shared.

The true beauty of the author’s approach lies in his drawing liberally on the knowledge and experience of more than 40 expert commentators on the change dynamics that are currently, and increasingly, in play. With job titles such as Executive Director on Innovation, Chief Edge Officer for the Centre for the Edge and “lean law evangelist”, there’s a lot to be fascinated by in sections with headings such as “Stealth Innovation and Skunkworks”.

These are not our terms of art, but maybe they’re about to become so?”

Justin MosesReview written by Justin Moses, Head of Knowledge & Development: Compliance, Legal & Secretariat at Westpac Banking Corporation.

Justin may be contacted via LinkedIn.

Reproduced on Dialogue with the permission of the Managing Editor.

Law Society NSW Beaton review June06


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