Maybe it’s just me, but 2015 had some themes running through it, in terms of the legal industry. I’m hoping that some new ideas will spring up in 2016, because by December, this really felt like beating the same drum over and over and over again. Here are my “top three” over discussed law trends of 2015:
1. New Fee Structures
Please. If your law firm isn’t flexible enough to discuss fee structures with you that work for you, it’s not the right firm for you. Our firm has always offered a variety of billing options to our clients as we recognize that each client is unique and has unique requirements. If your business is being treated with a “cookie cutter” approach, reach out to our firm and see how we’re a different type of business law firm.
2. Virtual Firms
If you like the idea of talking about your business law issues in a crowded Starbucks where everyone can overhear discussions with your lawyer, we might not be the right firm for you. Our firm has rooms, with doors, for confidentiality when we talk to our clients. You know, that important part of the lawyer/client relationship: the part where you can be completely honest and trust it will not be used against you in the future.
Starbucks is great for a social chat, but when you’re planning your corporate takeover strategy, or selecting a Trademark, you want to be able to discuss freely without wondering if that iPhone next to you is recording your lawyer’s advice to you.
If your law firm is a “virtual firm” ask the lawyer where your files will be kept. No one wants their Minute Book having a Dora the Explorer sticker plastered to the front. Also, is the lawyer keeping your data on a laptop that would easily be stolen, or do they have a proper server with backups and security?
We encourage our lawyers to be mobile, but mobile is different than virtual. With our firm, you know your files are behind locked doors, both literally and in the IT sense.
3. Access to Justice
What a great concept: you get a lawyer and you get a lawyer and you get a lawyer (with apologies for channeling my inner Oprah).
From a business law point of view, Access to Justice does not mean free legal work. It means that you, the business owner, need to understand the value a lawyer brings to you and we, the law firm, must provide those services at a rate and in a manner that works for you.
So, where do we go in 2016? What themes will emerge as important? Buckle up, it’s likely going to be a bumpy ride !
Inga B. Andriessen JD