Lawyer - 2020: what changes are expected within the legal profession in the next five years

The Managing Partner Galina Pavlova has shared her considerations about development of legal services in Russia with the portal Pravo.ru.

The Law Society, association of solicitors of England and Wales, made a report on the future legal profession. So, in the next five years the legal market members will see significant changes: the researchers have explained what will lead to competition between corporate lawyers and consultancies and what legal professionals shall be ready for to remain competitive in the marketplace in future.

Those who wish to remain competitive in future must never underestimate other players, either. According to the authors of the study report on the future legal market Legal IT companies using actively technologies in the own legal firms and companies of so called Big 4 are the biggest
players. According to the British researchers it is possible that traditional leaders in audit will expand the legal market. This view is supported by facts. E.g., Ernst & Young (through its legal arm EY Law) hired over 250 lawyers in 2013, increasing its total lawyer headcount to 1,100. Also in that year it launched legal services in 29 countries around the world, including Australia, China, Japan, Mexico, and etc. The company services cover transactional, commercial, and employment practices, with a strong focus on the financial services and banking industries. In 2013, Deloitte Legal opened its law firm in Shanghai. PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG offer legal services within alternative business structures in the UK.

“Traditional” law firms become disrupted by niche players, too. Cordell & Cordell, ‘a family law practice that
has more than 100 offices across the US’ has opened in London with the prediction that it could
very quickly dominate the UK market. The firm has a slogan "A partner men can count on" - the firm’s lawyers advocate for fathers' rights and defend the interests of former spouses at divorce. The experts belive that the number of niche firms has been growing and today they compete with major companies occupying the market share taking into account that the businesses try to save money on legal services and are not willing to overpay for a brand. The British experts predict that the number of niche firms will continue to grow.

“In Russian market, also, the number of firms specialised on some particular legal and economic fields is growing and they win the right to be selected by clients of their fields”, says Galina Pavlova, Managing Partner of Pavlova&Partners law firm. Pavlova adds that there is also a trend of legal firms splitting: “Recently we very often see that partners and lawyers split from one firm and establish other firm. This is quite normal and evidences the development”. In recent years, niche firms are developing in Russia. The number of boutique law firms has grown, as a rule, they are coming from foreign legal firms. Among them there are KK&P - a litigation firm, Antitrust Advisory specialising in antitrust law, VB&P specialising in real estate law. The prices lower than those of International Law Firms and the high quality services let them to win the market share in the highly competitive market.

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Ирина Кошечкина