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Commentary – Law’s Emerging Global Community and What It Means

Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, December 18, 2017: “There is an emerging global legal community that is reshaping the culture, face, contours, composition participants, skillsets, and priorities of the legal industry. It is forging a culture that is transparent, collaborative, diverse, cross-border, data-driven, problem solving, tech and process centric, diverse, inter-disciplinary, merit-centric, flat, pedigree-agnostic, and innovative. It will ultimately replace the incumbent culture that is parochial, fragmented, labor-intensive, lawyer-centric, risk and change averse, and designed, regulated, and dominated by lawyers for their own benefit. Why is this change occurring, what are its manifestations, and how is it impacting the global legal industry? The legal industry is no longer solely about lawyers, and that’s one of the principal drivers of change. Law is now a three-legged stool supported by legal, technological, and business expertise. Technologists are working with lawyers—end-users—to design solutions that automate processes and morph labor-intensive services into products. Business experts have injected process and project management into legal delivery and have better aligned it with the speed, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and transparency of business. The infusion of capital from new sources —beyond traditional law firm credit facilities– has also impacted legal culture. It has fueled research and development of new technologies—and delivery models—that are transforming legal delivery in the corporate and retail market segments. It has also highlighted the business of delivering legal services, distinguishing it from the practice of law. Practice is constricting and delivery is expanding…”

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