I received an email from an "integrated communications specialist" telling me about some new research on the legal profession. Legal recruiters, Badenoch and Clark, commissioned research on how associates and partners see the future of law and legal practice.
The expectations of law firm partners and their associates differ on a number of management issues, ranging from defining the skills required for future legal talent to succeed to how assistants should be paid and the challenges both groups will face in five years’ time...[and] relationships between associates and partners [are] coming under increasing strain.The survey is based on a sample of 900 lawyers. It's clear among lawyers the recession has upset typical career routes. And interestingly in answer to where the responsibility lies for developing solicitors by 2015, the two main institutions are private practice firms and solicitors (61% and 32%). The academy is marginalized at between 3% and 6%.
This is reinforced by the skills that lawyers are considered to need now and in the future. They are:
The survey lists nine areas of impact on the legal profession by 2015. They are ranked thus:
My perception of what is taking place is that lawyers--both partners and associates--are somewhat aware of the changes coming through the legal profession. But they are abysmally ignorant about changes outside their narrow ambits. Lynne Hardman, in an article attached to the report, says the legal profession is in an analogous position to management consultants and advertising companies 30 years ago when they went from being fragmented to mega-concentrated institutions. Perhaps law will go the same way, but not necessarily. Only hindsight is going to tell us that.
A website to encourage discussion has been set up at www.future-lawyers.co.uk.