The words of BT Legal’s Leeanne Whaley, in ‘Held to account’, particularly stand out in this issue: ‘We spend a lot of money with external law firms. It historically suited law firms to not be transparent, but outside of big-ticket M&A and litigation, the job of a commercial lawyer is more replicable than ever.’
That this type of comment, made recently but equally has been repeated in many guises since the global financial crisis, needs to be repeated today is alarming. Put simply, in this day and age clients should not need to remind law firms that their existence is on a knife-edge: they should just vote with their feet. Traditional reputations should carry no weight with clients and firms should be judged on what they are doing now, rather than what they used to do. In the feature, Tony Williams of Jomati says firms can no longer rely on getting the lion’s share of the work based on their market reputation alone, adding that traditional law firms need to ‘get sensible’ and innovate on billing or risk being left behind.