Richard Susskind is one of the most forward-thinking authors and leaders in the legal technology space. For more than two decades, he has accurately predicted many of the most impactful technology trends, while offering insight for lawyers from firms large and small on how to take advantage of and benefit from rapid technological advancements.
He continues this trend in the recently published second edition of his ground breaking book, “Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction To Your Future.”* In this book he predicts how technology will affect the legal industry as a whole in the coming years and offers advice for lawyers seeking to thrive in the new world order.
According to Susskind, adopting technology will be one of the primary drivers of success for law firms seeking to gain a competitive edge:
“One key challenge for the legal profession…is to adopt new systems earlier; to identify and grasp the opportunities afforded by emerging technologies. We need, as lawyers, to be open-minded because we are living in an era of unprecedented technological changes in what our machines can actually do. They are becoming increasingly capable.”
Susskind also explains that a fundamental strategy for success in the coming years is to stay competitive by ultimately charging less than your competitors do for the same services. But he’s not suggesting that you go bankrupt in the process. Instead, he contends that increasing your firm’s efficiency with technology such as law practice management software is the key to providing more for less, while still maintaining profitability:
“For law firms that charge by the hour and so have historically benefited from ineffective case management…workflow and project management systems represent new efficiencies and, in turn, the prospect of reduced fees.”
In this edition of the book, he also provides some additional insight into his views on the future of solo and small firm lawyers. According to Susskind, solo and small firm lawyers need to envision their place in the ever-changing legal industry and then pivot in order to succeed in the midst of incredible amounts of technology-driven change. He offers this great piece of advice to help guide the decisions of solo and small firm lawyers in that regard:
“Ask… in the 2020s, what unique value can we bring as a small legal business? Here are a few answers that pass muster: our clients have told us unequivocally that they do not want us to change; our community requires a wide range of legal services and there are no obvious competitors to our traditional offering; we are acknowledged specialists and, although small, we are as expert as anyone; although we are lawyers our clients come to use because we are their general business advisers; because we are smaller, we can offer a higher quality of service at significantly lower cost than any other legal businesses; our clients come to us because they are prepared to pay extra for a high touch, face-to-face service.”
What are you answers to these questions? What steps can you take today to help ensure your law firm’s success in the future? Certainly the path won’t always be easy, but if you plan ahead and make intentional, informed decisions about technology today, your firm will be in a better place tomorrow.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.