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Uberisation of the legal market – modernising the profession

April 26, 2016

We are seeing more and more references to the “Uberisation” of the legal market. The sharing economy is an essential part of the conversation when it comes to the future of work and therefore the future of law.

The sharing economy is not just about a better pricing model. It is also about creating a more efficient model which can service clients in a more effective way.  This is definitely required within the legal profession. As Rosemary Martin, Group GC of Vodafone states, “the cost is prohibitive” and within an increased regulatory environment, the pressure on legal teams comes from many angles; they need to keep costs down and at the same time make sure risk and regulatory matters are properly handled.  For legal service providers who are looking for alternative solutions to provide an excellent service in an efficient, cost effective way, the sharing economy provides many solutions.

In my view the Uberisation of legal services does not mean less quality. It means more access, more cost effectiveness, more efficiency and more flexibility.  This can be achieved by less structure, less hierarchy and less “middle man”.  This does not devalue the profession, it increases its value and modernises it.

There are other forces working in the traditional legal profession’s favour. Since the 2007 financial crisis, the level of regulation has increased. And companies are frightened of getting things wrong so they will continue to spend on legal services. This is particularly true when they enter new markets. There is a “fear factor,” says Joe Andrew, Dentons’ chairman. “People are always prepared to spend money on the unknown. You go into a new market, there are new risks. [There is a danger of] brand damage. CEOs get fired for that kind of thing.”

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