There’s a lot of interesting discussions around how lawyers will play a part in this new world of artificial intelligence / machine learning technologies that promise to do almost anything human beings can do.
We’re living in an information revolution where human brainpower is being expanded the same rate steam engines grew human physical power during the industrial revolution.
But I don’t necessarily think that machines will replace lawyers–rather technology will augment lawyers to eliminate time spent on low skilled tasks so they can focus on high-level decisions.
With that said, here’s my top four strategies to stay ahead of the curve:
- Learn more beyond the law
As software gets smarter, you’ll focus lesser time on routine legal tasks like interviewing clients, drafting documents, legal research etc…
You should capitalize on that extra time to learn other skills such as marketing, biz dev, customer service, and handling more sophisticated legal issues. Start embracing new efficiencies and assume that better software will replace work that associates would traditionally do.
Sign up for, learn how to learn, and meet like-minded lawyers on sites like .
2. Minimize your overhead
Run a lean law practice. Operating with less overhead means you can offer more competitive rates to clients and increase your margins.
The biggest contributors to overhead is rent and administrative people.
Get rid of the physical office and start a virtual law firm. Maybe the past generation cared about that fancy office in Park Avenue –but clients today care more about speed, accessibility, efficiency, and affordability.
If you need a physical place to work, join aor any other shared co-working space. It’s cheaper + good for networking. We’re (LawTrades) with WeWork and offer our services at a reduced priced for members.
Regarding administrative people, look for better software instead of throwing bodies at the problem. Streamline your client qualification process, intakes, project management, retention etc… That’s actually huge part of what we’re building at.
3. Be open to alternative fee arrangements
Give clients what they want and go beyond the hourly rate. Fixed or flat rates is a popular for routine legal work, but you can get creative with this.
Here’s a some ideas:
- Flat rates – This is the simplest method it means charging for a predefined service at a fixed rate.
- Fixed fee plus hourly – charge a portion of it on a fixed fee basis and a portion based on an hourly for the part that can’t be easily defined.
- Unit based billing – identify tasks or components of the transaction to measure the fee.
4. Be fanatical about your clients
This ones a little old school—but it’s crazy how many lawyers lack this skill when operating their practice. Learn anything and everything about your customers and deliver the best experience possible. I promise it will set you apart and keep clients coming back.