随着
经济发展日益全球化以及跨司法管辖区交易数量的增加,客户期望亦不断变化,法律市场的压力也随之加大。律师事务所正在努力应对这些变化以及因此而产生的挑战,从而适应这些新的需求;与此同时,他们必须从提高竞争力的层面进行思考。律师事务所协作网络组织为其成员律所提供广泛的协助,从帮助他们掌握新的技术和工作流程,直至帮助改进他们与客户沟通和互动的方式。

 

 

随着跨司法管辖区业务量的不断增加,对最合用、最智能化工具的需求也不断增长,整个地区的律师事务所都面临着类似的挑战——如何在工作中实现更加智能化,为未来发展做好准备,从而脱颖而出?加入律师事务所协作网络组织为达成这一目标提供了可能,这些法律协作网络针对律师的需求调整其产品,帮助律师更好地装备自己,使他们在为客户提供最好的服务的同时不至于压力过大。

Interlaw的董事会主席Glenn M. Cunningham将律作网是“全球法律服革命中安静的巨人”。Cunningham表示,律作网是按照当今客需求的式建模,因此具有“ 灵活性,作性,专业性,和真正的国化”。作网与那些在其所在司法管区内的市领军地位的律所达成合作伙伴关系,将作网的能力与合作律所的知和技能相合,形成能与大型国争的优势,他

Lex Mundi的技新高级顾问Gordon Vala-Webb也持同的看法。他洲法律志》表示,跨司法管业务量的增加意味着律所需要既能以独的方式也能以同的方式推广他的服,“并且能向用户证明他同开展无合作的能力。“

Vala-Webb表示,然在去几年中作网的模型和客的期望都生了化,但由于涉及成律所之的合作,广泛的增以及管理客户预期的服务标准是客可的保和能力。

“其果是一种新的价,”他。“在本地有卓越司法能力的顶级所,他在共同利用数字工作空新技方面有良好的记录Lex Mundi其全球业务发团队直接潜在客提供种方法,支持成律所在方面的工作,并助各种由客的活,例如公司法律顾问协会和公司法律运营联盟等。”

新方法

随着争的加,律所要求作网提供越来越致而又多化的支持;作网自身也表示,培养新的思模式和开新的方法非常重要。他释说仅仅涉及到问题,同也涉及到技术问题

Multilaw行董事Adam Cooke洲法律志》的者,律所可以在多不同的施新方法从而找到得成功的途径。他Multilaw的网正在“改”全球工作的推广程。

“基于Multilaw 30年的经验,我可以Multilaw在某地的某个成律所以这样或那的方式代表了大多数的国际银行、全球500或富250指数成分股公司和国品牌,无是代表他们进行并交易,是提供注册商标这样的服意味着,我的成律所可以在行交易利用经验;而且通常会发现与交易目存在某种关系,无去曾是目前有的关系,而往往会优势,”他

协作网络的负责人表示,这是协作网络经常利用的一种关键优势——们有能力更好地联络律师事务所,向精明的客户们推介律师和法律人才——如今,这仅仅是他们职能的一部分

Lex MundiVala-Webb表示,他们的网络十分强大,拥有160个成员律所;因此,成功地确定新的方法,对所有成员来说都是有用的信息。当取得突破性进展时,Lex Mundi会确保这些新发现得到广泛推广,他补充道。

最近的一个例子是在亚洲。新加坡的一家律所Rajah & Tann发布了一款名为RTA Competition Trade RTA竞争交易)的移动端应用程序;该应用程序为用户提供有关东南亚竞争和贸易监管环境的最新信息。随后,该所在律所内外对该应用程序进行了推广。们在季度时事通讯《创新》(Innovation)中收入了这些内容,在各个会议中推广这些内容,并在成员间唯一的知识共享网站上发布了这些内容,Vala-Webb说。

最前沿的技

虽然新的方法是必不可少的,但由于法务团队在少花钱多办事问题上面临着来自各个方面的压力,整个市场都在密切关注新技术的发展。InterlawCunningham表示,这也是协作网络密切关注的一个领域。

在法律服务市场上,新技术解决方案呈现爆炸式增长,Cunningham说。们的合作律所一起分享最佳实践,并按照客户的需求共同筛选出最佳解决方案——根据我们的经验,当涉及到技术问题时,我们必须应用技术来作出选择。Interlaw许多领先的技术机构建立起合作伙伴关系,其中有大公司也有利基市场的专家。我们邀请这些技术专家在我们举办的会议上提供培训并讲授专业知识,确保我们的合作律所了解创新领域的最新进展,补充道。

他列举了Interlaw最近完成的一个项目,说明如何更好地将建立连接与技术进行同步整合。该项目是一个数字基础设施项目,目的在于在合作伙伴律所及其客户之间建立起连接。

这一新的数字基础设施改变了游戏规则,并且屡获殊荣——们的数字产品之间连接性在律师事务所协作网络中属于首创。我们创建了一个新的网站,其中包含一个易于使用的按钮,能够实现一键连接到律师,方便使用者与世界各地的专家取得联系,说。

真正的变革性发展是数字客户管理和反馈系统,为每个合作律所实时提供所有推荐活动的完全可见性,以及在安全的在线环境中无缝协作的能力。此外,我们的新方法通过内置功能为每项工作自动生成客户反馈表,同时还支持服务交付的持续改进,Cunningham补充道。

Vala-Webb认为,技术确实对法律市场和客户预期产生了巨大影响。术正在改变律师事务所的方方面面,包括运营模式和提供服务的方式。通过将软件即服务应用模式与安全的基于云的数据存储技术的结合使用,可以显著地将优势从大型律师事务所转移到最具灵活性的律师事务所,说,并且透露Lex Mundi正在致力于加速其成员律所向云计算技术应用的转变,从而更广泛地鼓励创新技术的采用。

去年,我们启动了技术和创新计划,为成员律所采用创新技术提供支持。该计划旨在帮助律所分享其在应用创新技术方面的成功案例。我们与技术供应商建立起了合作关系,方便我们的成员律所尝试应用新的软件(例如:Diligen的机器学习合同评审工具),或者为成员律所使用HighQ协同办公网站提供便利,使他们在代表客户共同工作时能够使用数字团队空间,补充说。

展望未来

当然,连接性和技术仅仅是难题的一部分;协作网络表示,律所必须全面地重新思考他们与客户互动的方式。虽然许多律所已经将这件事提上了议事日程,但随着市场进入新的未知领域,在实际操作过程中实施改变的可行性可能会使这一问题变得十分复杂。

法律行业仍处于转型变革的过程中,新技术提供了一种新的办事方法,同时也影响了户的期望和需求。客户需要无国界、技术娴熟、有进取心且能提供无障碍服务的法律服务提供者——们既在全球范围内有影响力,又对本地专业知识有深入的了解。此外,客户越来越需要法律服务提供者能够为他们提供全天候、全年无休的服务;这就意味着,为了满足客户需求,提供无缝跨境服务,所有法律服务提供者都必须不断进行调整,并持续投资,Cunningham说。

这需要投资和认真的考量,以便将技术融入到法律服务中,使我们能够为客户提供更为有效和高效的服务。虽然考虑如何在当前的大环境里合理地应用技术非常重要,但我们不能忽视这样一个事实:有效的客户关系管理关键在于日常工作中有效和顺畅的沟通。作为一个以协作为宗旨的组织,我们与客户一起倡导“一个团队”的精神——没有‘他们和我们’之分,我们都在为实现共同的目标而共同努力。我们知道,客户想要的是拥有商业头脑的律师,而他们在工作中所采取的解决问题的方法,只有在真正的协作环境中才能发挥应有的巨大作用,”他补充道。

Vala-Webb指出,将来律所需要着重考虑发展几个关键的领域才能脱颖而出,而法律协作网络具备足够的能力支持律师事务所在这些领域的发展。

Vala-Webb表示:“律所需要了解,在经济全球化的进程中,他们应该如何证明他们有能力跨多个司法管辖区提供无缝、高效的服务。对于Lex Mundi成员律所而言,其基础是Lex Mundi集聚了世界各地顶级的律师事务所,这些律所彼此之间的关系深厚,从而形成了深层次的跨境能力。我们在此基础上增加了一套客户服务标准、创新技术、工作管理方法(基于精益/敏捷原则),以及对大客户事务的集中支持。”他随后又补充道,Lex Mundi已经在市场营销、业务发展战略、专业发展以及技术等方面为律所提供协助。

思维模式的改变也是至关重要的,MultilawCooke提醒道;同时他又补充说,律师事务所需要“ 明白,除了总法律顾问之外,他们还需要与很多人打交道,因此需要开始与首席执行官(CEO)、首席财务官(CFO)、首席技术官(CTO)、数据保护官(DPO)和人力资源总监建立联系;现在,越来越多的时候是他们直接与律师事务所接洽。”

“要从同行中脱颖而出,首先需要保证最基本的工作品质,即提供及时、专业的建议,提供物有所值的服务——这些事情说起来容易做起来难。协作网络能为律师事务所提供的主要优势是,让成员律所的客户有机会访问全球各地的律师事务所可以使用的国际网络,”Cooke补充道。

Cunningham同时指出,虽然可能感觉有很多选择,但鉴于市场的迅速发展,行事果断是非常重要的。“现在全球处在一个竞争激烈的环境中,要想脱颖而出,你就不能停滞不前。Interlaw非常重视其培训计划,确保我们的律师能够获得世界级的持续学习机会,”他说。

“我们希望帮助我们的成员律所根据客户的需求发展、成长。法律行业目前可能仍然倾向于注重内部事务——忙于应对律所日常经营中所遇到的挑战。但我们紧紧围绕客户及其跨管辖区业务方面的需求,关注不断变化的商业环境,调整我们的产品以满足全球企业的需求,”Cunningham说。

 

New Approaches for a New Era

As the nature of business becomes increasingly globalised and multijurisdictional deals ramp up, so too does the pressure on the legal market amid evolving client expectations. While law firms grapple with these changes and the challenges they create, and adapt to meet these new demands, they must also think competitively. Law firm networks are lending a hand by helping members with new technologies and workflow processes and even improving the way they interact with their clients.

 

With cross-jurisdictional work on the rise and a burgeoning demand for the best and brightest tools, law firms across the region face similar challenges – how can they work smarter, prepare for the future, and stand out? Enter law firm networks, which are finetuning their offerings to better equip lawyers so they can give clients the very best without stretching themselves too thin.

Glenn M. Cunningham, chair at Interlaw, refers to law firm networks as “the quiet giants in the global legal services revolution.” Cunningham says networks have been modelled in the image of today’s clients’ needs and are “flexible, collaborative, specialist, and truly international.” These capabilities combined with the knowledge and skills of partner firms that are market leaders in their juris-dictions birth operations that can compete with large international law firms, he adds.

Similarly, Gordon Vala-Webb, senior advisor of technology and innovation at Lex Mundi tells Asian Legal Business that the rise of cross-jurisdiction work means that firms need to be able to promote their services both individually and collectively, “and also be able to demonstrate their ability to work seamlessly together.”

Given the many network models and client expectations have evolved over the past few years, Vala-Webb says that extensive value-added services and service standards governing what clients can expect when member firms are working together are reassurances and capabilities appreciated by clients.

“The result is a novel value proposition,” he says. “Top law firms with extraordinary local juris-dictional capabilities with a track record of working together leveraging digital workspaces and innovative technologies. Lex Mundi helps to bring this approach to potential clients directly through our global business development team, supporting member firms doing so, and by sponsoring various client-driven events such as ACC and CLOC.”

NEW APPROACHES

While law firms require increasingly nuanced, yet diverse support from networks as competition intensifies, networks themselves also say that new mindsets and approaches are highly important to consider. It’s not just about resources, but about technique, they explain.

Adam Cooke, executive director at Multilaw, tells Asian Legal Business that there are many different areas where law firms can implement new approaches and discover success. His network, for example, is “transforming” the pitch process for international work, he says.

“Over Multilaw’s 30-year history it is fair to say that a member firm somewhere is acting for the vast majority of all the international banks, Fortune 500 or FTSE 250 companies and global brands in one way for another whether it be putting together an M&A deal or simply registering a trademark. This means that our firms can call upon that experience whenever they are putting together a pitch. There will almost inevitably be a history or current relationship with the target and this will often provide a competitive edge,” he says.

This is one key advantage that networks often trade on – their ability to better connect law firms and provide referrals for lawyers and legal talent for savvy clients – but today, this is just one part of their function, say network heads.

Vala-Webb of Lex Mundi says successfully identifying new approaches, as discovered by teams within its 160-member strong network, is useful data for all its members collectively. When break-throughs are made, the network makes sure it promotes these findings widely, he adds.

One recent example in Asia has been Singapore firm Rajah & Tann releasing a mobile application called RTA Competition Trade which provides users with updates on the competition and trade regulatory landscape across Southeast Asia. Following this, the firm has promoted this both internally and externally. “We include those in our quarterly Innovation newsletter, highlight them in our conferences, and post in our members’ only knowledge sharing site,” Vala-Webb says.

TECH AT THE FOREFRONT

While new methods are essential, given the pressure all-round on legal teams to do more with less, the whole market is closely watching for new technology developments. Cunningham of Interlaw says this is also an area that networks are closely watching.

“There has been an explosion in new technological solutions in the legal services market,” says Cunningham. “Together, our partner firms are sharing best practice and collectively filtering the best solutions for their clients’ needs – in our experience, when it comes to tech you have to use it to choose it. Interlaw has forged successful relationships with many leading technology partners – big players and niche specialists – and we have invited them to deliver training and expertise at our meetings so that our partner firms can be sure they are abreast of the latest innovations,” he adds.

He cites the network’s recently completed project – a digital infrastructure programme to connect partner firms with each other and their clients as an example of how connectivity and technology can be synched better.

“This new digital award-winning infrastructure is a game-changer - the connectivity between our digital products is a first among law firm networks. We created a new website, with an easy-to-use ‘connect to a lawyer’ button, to allow easy access to our experts across the world,” he says.

“The real transformative development is digital client management and feedback system, providing every partner firm with complete visibility of all referral activity in real-time and the capability to work together seamlessly in a secure online environment. With the built-in functionality to automatically generate a client feedback form for each piece of work, our new approach also supports continuous refinement in service delivery,” Cunningham adds.

Vala-Webb agrees that technology is indeed having a drastic impact on the legal market, and on expectations. “Technology is changing every aspect of the ways law firms operate and deliver services. Moving to use software-as-a-service with secure cloud-based data storage is dramatically shifting the advantage from the very big laws firms to those who are the most agile,” he says, noting that Lex Mundi is working to accelerate member firms’ shift to the cloud which encouraging innovative technology adoption more broadly.

“Last year we started our Technology and Innovation program to support member firms do this. The program works to help firms share information about their successes; and we have established partnerships with technology vendors so member firms can easily try new software (e.g. Diligen’s machine-learning contract review tool) or to make available HighQ’s Collaborate sites for member firms to use as digital team spaces when working together on behalf of a client,” he adds.

INTO THE FUTURE

Of course, connectivity and technology are pieces of the puzzle, but member networks say across the board firms must completely rethink the way they interact with clients. While this is already on the agenda for many firms, the practicalities of changing practice as the market enters new and uncharted territory can make this complex.

“The legal sector is still in the midst of trans-formational change, with new technologies offering a new way of doing things, as well as impacting on the expectations and needs of clients. Clients want borderless, tech-savvy, enterprising and accessible legal service providers that can combine global reach with in-depth local expertise. Clients increasingly need a 24/7, 365 days a year service, which means that all legal providers must keep adapting and investing if we are going to deliver the seamless cross-border service clients demand,” says Cunningham.

“This requires investment and careful thought so that technology is incorporated into legal services in a way that makes us more efficient and effective for our clients. While it’s important to think about how technology fits into the picture, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that effective client relationships are about day to day communication and working practices. As an organisation designed to collaborate, we promote a ‘one-team’ ethos with our clients. There is no ‘them and us’, we’re all working together to achieve a shared goal. We know clients want commercially savvy lawyers who adopt a problem-solving approach to their work and that can only flourish in a genuinely collaborative environment,” he adds.

Vala-Webb notes that, going into the future, there are several key areas of development that firms will need to consider to stand out – and legal networks are well equipped to support them with this.

“Firms need to understand how, in a globally-integrated world, they can demonstrate their ability to deliver service seamlessly and efficiently across multiple jurisdictions. The foundation of this, for Lex Mundi member firms, is the superior collection of top firms around the world who have strong relationships with one another which creates a deep cross-border capability. We add to that a set of client service standards, innovative technologies, a work management methodology (based on lean / Agile), and central support for large client matters,” Vala-Webb says, adding that his network firm already assists in matters of marketing, business development strategies, professional development, and technology.

A change of mindset is also critical, warns Cooke of Multilaw, adding that firms need “to understand that there is a whole world out there beyond the general counsel and start speaking to CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, DPOs and HR directors as well. They are increasingly the ones who are directly engaging law firms these days.”

“Standing out from the crowd involves doing all the traditional things well i.e. by offering timely, expert advice and delivering value for money - which is easier said than done. The key advantage that a network can lend a firm is the opportunity to give that firm’s clients access to an international network that the global law firms can,” Cooke adds.

While it may feel like there are a vast array of options, Cunningham meanwhile notes that given how swiftly the market is evolving, being decisive is important. “This is a competitive landscape and to stand out, you can’t afford to stand still. We take our training program very seriously at Interlaw to ensure our lawyers have access to world-class continual learning opportunities,” he says.

“We want to help our firms evolve and grow in response to client needs. There can still be a tendency for the profession to be inward-facing – preoccupied with the day-to-day challenges of running a law firm. Our focus is firmly on the client and their multijurisdictional needs, looking out to the ever-changing business landscape and adapting our offer to meet the needs of global enterprise,” Cunningham says.

To contact the editorial team, please email ALBEditor@thomsonreuters.com.