Legal Business

DISSENT: A self-deceiving return to business as usual

RSG’s Reena SenGupta argues an improving economic climate is leading top law firms to wrongly assume the ‘new’ normal is the same as the old one

In 2010, Georgetown University, under the direction of Professor Milton Regan, held a conference of academics, practitioners and leading thinkers on the profession. To delegates, the atmosphere was heady; change was palpable in the room.

There were no dissenting voices. People knew that there was no turning back for the legal profession. Legal services would be unbundled, equity structures in law firms would change, clients would exert their buying power and demand radically different fee arrangements, Chinese law firms would stride onto the global stage and new technologies and service providers would fundamentally alter the law firm business model. It was going to be, as the title of the conference predicted, a brave new world.