This week Thomson Reuters Institute and Georgetown Law Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession released their 2021 Report on the State of the Legal Market. It is always an interesting read but this year offered a petri dish for the transformation of law firms in real time. 2020 was a perfect storm of pandemic, financial uncertainty, social change and political stress.
The Report adopts the theme of Malcolm Gladwell‘s meme-able book The Tipping Point. Contrary to the popular assumption that social change happens slowly and steadily over a period of time Gladwell argues with a metaphor that is equally appropriate for our present circumstances that in many cases change happens more like an epidemic. As he puts it ideas and products and messages and behavior spread like viruses do. Although forces of change may build slowly often a a singular set of circumstances triggers a profound change. The 2020 Report examines whether law firms have reached such a tipping point.
Some of the data points highlighted in the report :