Last year, some well established firms completely disappeared from the business arena however at the same time, there are also fairly traditional firms which are at their busiest yet and are wondering what all the fuss is about.
This leads us to think about the link between the disappearing law firms and the digital age. Although on first glance the connection’s not immediately obvious, once its understood it conveys a very real threat.
When taking a long term view of the market its clear that they operate in very predictable ways. They develop a structure and then compete with others based on this. The companies who operate the best enjoy the greatest performance which leads to an ongoing evolution of the industry structure. As this is normally gradual and pain free when a shock occurs it can disrupt the market. Even fairly recently some examples have included the freedom to compete for clients, freedom to work across jurisdictional boundaries and freedom to incorporate and last but not least the rise of the educated client.
Out of all these shocks however the most impact-full in terms of economically are those arising from technological shifts and digitisation. This fast moving and little understood force can obliterate a linear labour intensive and expert based activity into a product that can be much more efficient and effective powering on at a exponential rate.