Richard Foley
Richard Foley

What is the biggest challenge facing law firms today?

For a range of reasons – from the rise of populism to rapid advancement of technology to increasingly complex legal and regulatory environments – there’s no doubt that we live in an increasingly volatile, complex and ambiguous world. This means change at an unprecedented speed for our clients, and for us. Businesses that are resistant to change will struggle.

For the rest of us, the question is how we pursue necessary and meaningful change without losing sight of the fundamental purpose of our businesses. We need to get better at understanding what it is that makes us relevant to and valued by our clients, our people and wider society.

What is your one big prediction for the legal industry?

I doubt it is controversial to say the rate of change is going to increase exponentially, and I hope that we will see a more genuine focus on that question of purpose and values in consequence. As a profession we can sometimes be a little cynical about these areas, however it’s my belief that as firms embark upon change on an unprecedented scale, there will necessarily be a greater focus on understanding the DNA of our businesses.

Growth and profit are the by-products of successful businesses, but they cannot be objectives in and of themselves. The good news is that law firms have a multitude of options for change; however if you don’t have a clear North Star, it would be easy for those options to become overwhelming and cause organisations to lose sight of what’s most important to them.

What is your “vision for the future” for Pinsent Masons?

Our vision is to continue to build a business that is seen by clients and our peers as a market leader in our five global sectors, as we also continue to transform from a purely expertise-based law firm.

To achieve that we believe we need to deploy a wider range of professional disciplines, enabled by process and technology, and that we need to turn up the dial on collaborating with our clients and others to develop solutions consistent with our clients’ needs and our purpose.

The future of the legal industry and what role technology will play in law firm strategy are topics explored at this year’s Business Leadership Summit in association with Propero. For more information on the conference, a copy of the agenda, or to inquire about attending, please contact Nathan Graham on +44(0) 20 7970 4672.