The “State of the Legal Industry” carries a bit of a scary outlook for small and mid-size firms, while on the other hand there is amazing potential and opportunity available for small and mid-size firms.

One of the keynote addresses at Legalweek 2018 was from two ALM Market Analysts, Nicholas Bruch and Steve Kovalan. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from the presentation, but both gentlemen did an excellent job breaking down the data statistics that they had compiled over the last several years, and had an outstanding presentation with effective graphics.

For the downside, this first slide provided an overview of the last 24 years for the general legal industry and the future.

The presentation focused on the fact that many in-house legal departments across the spectrum are now starting to increase their internal efficiency on legal matters, as well as becoming more sophisticated in the management of their legal concerns. A lot of this comes from incorporating and adopting effective technology.

Now on the upside, here is where I see the opportunities for small and mid-size firms, mostly in the area of legal technology. Smaller firms are more flexible, and therefore can accommodate the demand by in-house law departments to adjust quickly to market demands, and provide responsive legal counsel based on current needs.

There are many areas where smaller firms can take advantage of legal technology, but the one area of the focus of this website (and our accompanying eDiscovery Buyers Guide) is with electronic discovery, and the applications to litigation matters as well as compliance and investigatory scenarios.

The kicker, of course, is whether the small and mid-size firms are willing to learn, adjust, and generally have an open attitude towards embracing a newish mindset for the future. If they are timid, or hesitant, then they will fall prey to the same fate as Big Law – slow-to-no growth, volatile financials, and client push back (for whatever clients stay with them).

Plus, there’s another kicker – Big Law isn’t going to slip away quietly. It may take Big Law longer to turn the ship, but make no mistake that they are watching the trends just as well, and they will step up. There’s a reason they became Big Law in the first place, and they will not go silently.