LOD co-founder Simon Harper talks to The Lawyer ahead of this year’s Business Leadership Summit in association with Propero Partners, which focuses on the law firm of 2025.

Simon Harper LOD
Simon Harper

Will every lawyer be agile working/working remotely by 2025?

By 2025 it will just be called “working” again. We won’t notice the agile or remote. But this doesn’t mean we’ll all be dispersed – as human beings, relationships matter. Time spent together matters. But that doesn’t mean we need the constructs designed for the issues of 100 years ago. That brought us the ever-increasing infrastructure of the firm and rigid working practices. The 21st century is receptive to ways of working designed differently.

Will market consolidation see the rise of a “Big 4” equivalent of law firms by 2025?

It could do. That’s one possibility and it might not be the names we expect. But it could also bring us the “farmers’ market” equivalent of law firms too – individuals selling their perfectly baked products for premium prices.

And it could bring us the “Amazon” equivalent of law firm – a new entrant that starts in one area of service but then keeps adding new things until suddenly you realise that’s where half of your spend is going. Amazon now accounts for 40 per cent+ of all online retail sales in the US. It’s not that long ago that they were still thought of as an online bookshop.

What technology do you anticipate will revolutionise the industry by 2025?

Nothing that we have in its current form will revolutionise the industry. It will need to be something new. By that I don’t mean wholly new. It could be two things that haven’t been put together before. Or something we already have but packaged and understood in a better way – like the iPod, “1000 songs in your pocket”. MP3 players had been around for years but the iPod took it out beyond the geeks. Technology doesn’t cause a revolution until it gets beyond the geeks – and I say that as a big fan of geeks.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I was once followed by a secret service agent for 3 solid days.
  • The Tate Gallery bought a video installation I made in the late 90s.
  • My last stand-up comedy gig was a Kings Cross sell-out.

With agile working becoming the norm, which spot in the world would you most like to work from?

I’d retreat to South America for February and March.

Simon will be speaking at this year’s Business Leadership Summit on a panel discussion exploring whether law firms are asleep at the wheel as new competitors rise. For more information on the summit, a copy of the agenda, or to enquire about tickets to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(0) 20 7970 4017 or kenan.balli@centaurmedia.com