For twenty years, lawyers have complained about issues with work-life balance, but a report released today by Professor Joan C. Williams and the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings proves that now they are actually doing something about it.
Disruptive Innovation: New Models of Legal Practice is likely the first comprehensive study on the rise of over 50 new business organizations created by lawyer-entrepreneurs who typically link better work-life balance for lawyers with lower overhead, and lower fees, for clients.
“Something remarkable is happening in the legal profession,” writes Professor Williams and her co-authors, Jessica Lee and Aaron Platt. “Many lawyers have begun to found – and to join – businesses that organize legal practice in novel ways. The new ventures in legal entrepreneurship have been referred to as ‘New Law,’ a challenge to the behemoth Big Law firms which monopolized much of the legal industry for so long. We refer to the innovations as New Models Legal Practice, reflecting the novel business model they introduce, which hold the potential to disrupt established pathways in the practice of law.”
The report identifies five distinct kinds of New Models being put in place by legal entrepreneurs:
The report speaks specifically to four groups: clients, lawyers dissatisfied with law firms, lawyers who want to become entrepreneurs, and large law firms.
“For decades, a market failure existed in the law. Many lawyers were dissatisfied with Big Law-but they saw no alternative if they wanted to remain in the profession,” notes the report. “That market failure is now over. Entrepreneurship has hit the law, with entrepreneurs innovating a large variety of different models to offer not only a new value proposition for lawyers, but also a new value proposition for clients.”
Alex A.G. Shapiro
Director, Communications & Public Affairs
UC Hastings College of the Law
Office: (415) 581-8842
Cell: (415) 813-9214