Blogs

Jo Geraghty

Director

Restructuring the law

Date added: 31st Aug 2016
Category: Organisational Culture Change

Creating a strong and innovative culture which continually seeks to deliver excellence will not only address legacy issues and stave off disruptors, it will also enable law firms to deliver a strong and differentiated service

Steeped in centuries of tradition, one of the strengths of our legal system is the way in which it continually flexes and matures in response to changing societal and other norms. Whether it be a case management pilot starting in the Court of Protection, a review of pathways open to those looking to move into the legal profession, or even the structure of legal practices themselves; not only does the law never sleep, it also never stops evolving.

But what does that mean in practice? How easily does the drive for continuing change sit alongside the strong desire to ‘do things right’ which sits in the hearts and minds of those to whom we have entrusted due process of law?

The answer lies at the heart of our legal system, in its culture and its people. It is that very culture of doing things right which can be harnessed to drive change not only for the benefit of the legal system but also for the benefit of the entire country. However, like any culture it cannot be left untended; for that way leads to stagnation and failure.

Let’s be honest for a moment. Whilst there is much right about our legal system, there is still more work to be done if it is to overcome legacy challenges including inequality, over-complex processes and client perception. And whilst these may be challenges for the entire profession, they are also ones which have to be tackled at individual firm level if they are to deliver meaningful change.

Admittedly, the regulatory bodies have their part to play in delivering the overall shape of the profession. For example, responding to the government’s consultation on reducing barriers to entry for ABS firms, the Law Society concluded that “Fair competition between solicitors’ firms and Alternative Business Structures (ABS) benefits clients and is in the public interest.”

However, regulatory bodies can only go so far in defining the overall direction of the legal profession. Responding to external disruptors, responding to client and public demand, delivering a legal service which is fair and just, requires strong action by those who practice the law on a daily basis. This means taking time out to review strategy and values, behaviour and attitudes; it means reviewing organisational culture to ensure that it is future fit and it means creating the conditions which will ensure that innovative solutions deliver client excellence.

Practising the law doesn’t simply mean applying the rules. Rather, it requires individuals and firms to deliver the optimum solution for their clients. Creating a strong and innovative culture which continually seeks to deliver excellence will not only address legacy issues and stave off disruptors, it will also enable firms to deliver a strong and differentiated service to the benefit of their clients, and of the practice, and eventually of the legal system and its influence on society as a whole.

 

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