Simmons in revolutionary high-tech focus shift

Simmons & Simmons is preparing to revolutionise its business model by investing in technology to assist with the delivery of legal solutions at a hugely reduced cost.

Managing partner Mark Dawkins told The Lawyer about his vision for the future, as set out in the global partnership-endorsed business plan.

Dawkins said: “Technology opens up a number of options. A law firm could reorganise its structure away from the pyramid shape and develop new career paths, where instead of associates aiming for partnership there are knowledge management lawyers who have far more control and flexibility regarding their career paths. Taking that further down the line, lawyers would perform different functions and require a different skill set.”

The firm is already laying the groundwork for future radical change, with the ultimate aim of slashing overheads, and possibly offices, and changing the structure of the firm away from the traditional model.

“We want to look afresh at the way the law firm operates,” he said. “I’m interested in seeing the result of a converging set of trends, which may mean a new model law firm can emerge.”

Dawkins said the firm’s investment in technology would pave the way to cutting overheads.

“My view is that all law firms have a responsibility to clients to manage their cost bases more than they have previously,” he said. “Clients have become tired of paying more and more each year for the same work. [Clients] are under huge pressure to cut costs, as should law firms.”