After reading Ron Freidmann’s post on the Eversheds 21st Century Law Firm Report – as well as the various posts he linked to, I had to go have a look. The 10 page document is a quick read and gets right to the point. The survey methodology appears sound, so the results are worth considering.
The other posts I read on the survey were on point – and they combined to confirm an ‘untrend’ I’m seeing in the market. On each point in the report, the basic response is resistance to change by lawyers. Even on the work-life balance topic, law firm partners don’t seem to be concerned about adapting – noting that work-life balance is “a contradiction in terms.”
As someone who has been pushing for industry change like alternative billing for some time now (my first article on this was in 1994), you would think I would be acutely aware of this untrend. I suppose it’s a lesson I will re-learn ad nauseam in this industry. Lawyers look back – not ahead. I’ve termed this the paradigm of precedence. So not only does change come slowly, it’s highly resisted.
I keep waiting for the impact of this paradigm to come home to roost. Maybe it never will. Or more likely, it will be the “death of a thousand cuts.”
My bottom line: The Eversheds Report appears as another nail in this coffin. Although some of the findings appear on the surface to be significant trends, in my opinion this more of the same. Change is seen as inevitable, but then resisted at every step by lawyers.