Will technology kill legal jobs? Only if lawyers don't become budget friendly.

Author:Anderman, Jason Mark
 
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Legal work will be transformed on the high and the low sides of the profession. On the high side, top notch multiservice law firms will be forced to contend with strategic sourcing managers who finally understand the legal industry. These managers will require a level of disciplined performance through defined processes and consistent knowledge management, which is currently heavily resisted by major partners. Through such disciplined performance, metrics will emerge capable of allowing true benchmarking across different firms and individual lawyers at those firms.

Even better, this kind of discipline bodes well for a future where legal matters can be chunked into discreet projects with a high degree of foreseeability built into the work, allowing the law firm and the client manager to reasonably predict the law firm's internal cost and negotiate an appropriate markup fee, including the additional value added by the attorneys involved. Such a fee will either be flat or include safeguards designed to incentivize both the client and the firm to perform efficiently and in a timely manner. But this will not happen soon. Recently, I saw a survey that said only 14 percent of major corporate legal department billings are handled via flat or alternative fees. As long as the dominant financial approach in legal services is the leveraged model...

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