Remaking News of the Week: Canadian business is turning away from BigLaw

I re-phrased the headline of this week’s Remaking News of the Week to read Canadian business is turning away from BigLaw because, like some others, I find the reference to ‘alternative legal service providers’ in the source of the news an anachronism.

Close to 50% of Canadian businesses will turn to alternative legal service providers within 5 years. In using the alternative legal service providers phrase, Anita is quoting the language of the joint authors the Thomson Reuters report, no less than Georgetown Law School, Acritas and the Said Business School at Oxford.

In my opinion, using this language risks perpetuating a fallacy, namely law companies, NewLaw business model law firms, legal services from the Big Four and lawtech service providers are not (yet) mainstream.

Three of those pushing for more appropriate semiotics are contributors to Dialogue on Remaking Law Firms, Heather Suttie, Ron Friedmann and Mark Cohen.

If as Anita reports, more than 50% of Canadian corporate clients are turning to these new types of legal services provider, it follows they are turning away from traditional providers – at least for certain types of service. Hence my headline, Canadian business is turning away from BigLaw (business model law firms).

The international survey of the US, Canada and the UK was sponsored by Thomson Reuters (👏) with the purpose of measuring the adoption of legal services provided by accounting firms, outsourcing or staffing firms, and technology companies. It’s worth scanning the whole report.


I can’t authenticate my memory, but I recall it was Tom Peters who famously said: “The real danger lies in that part of the pie chart labelled other.”

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