The most recent Managing Partner’s dinner – hosted jointly by Lexis Nexis and The Lawyer – catered for 18 managing partners from law firms within the 50-100 bracket of The Lawyer’s UK Top 200, including those in London and various regions across the UK.
Over the past decade, this section has proven to be one of the most fluid in the market – with many firms finding different ways to respond to growing client demands, emerging technology and ruthless competition for talent.
The event in late September consisted of lively debate, with partners putting forward their preferred business models for the future and pushing the boundaries of how to use technology in the best ways. Comparisons were made with the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and Just Eat, as many delegates expressed ambitions to cater for clients in the most convenient manner possible.
However, partners recognised that client convenience must also be matched by an inherent drive to innovate and that keeping things static can easily be a recipe for disaster – none more so than in the 50-100 bracket.
In seeking to tackle this problem, several interesting ideas were floated across the different tables – one being a new community-driven legal service where clients are placed at the heart of the business. This concept included a fee-paying community of members – a platform that would allow clients access to legal advice without the need to interact directly with lawyers.
Other themes covered included the corporate vs consumer debate, with partners largely agreeing that the latter would be the most profitable market to enter, and the question of whether or not to specialise.
In the most entertaining metaphor of the night, one delegate explained the benefits of a broad one-stop-shop approach via their hypothetical “lilypad” model. With tech at its “pistil”, the firm’s various “petals” represented other legal services such as risk advice, compliance and regulation just to name few. This concept was inspired by the Big Four accountants that are currently flooding the market with fresh competition.
Ultimately, embracing technology was very much at the heart of the evening’s debate, as delegates thought openly about how to expand and develop both and new and existing legal services.