<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Herbert Smith CEO of Freehills, Mark Rigotti

Predicting the future can be a daunting task, especially for lawyers trained to follow precedents when they give advice. The political and economic events of recent years have been difficult to predict and the continued impact of President Donald Trump and Brexit will make 2019 no less volatile and easier to navigate.

Yet, one of the certainties regarding the direction of a global organization is that changes will occur. What guides me every day at Herbert Smith Freehills is the idea that tomorrow will not be the same as today. The pace of technological advances means that our employees need to be more responsive than ever to understand innovation and how it can improve the service we provide to our customers.

Sometimes the future fails to deliver. A group of futurologists consulted in 1989 are still waiting for the North-South economic divide in the United Kingdom to disappear, the three-day week – and everyone wears jumpsuits …

But even if the schedule is sometimes off and some forecasts are wilder than others, we can feel the direction of the technology. So much money is invested in driverless vehicles, so it is not surprising that their proliferation in the last 30 years is a common expectation. A greater act of faith is the nanotechnology announced in The matrix movies that could connect human beings with a microchip to the cloud so we can download all the information that interests us. And a longer active life seems inevitable if advances in health care can diagnose illness remotely before the symptoms manifest themselves.

Considering 30 years of what the first years of their career lawyers will encounter today, I think back to the same period until my first day in the cabinet in 1988.

The first step of my introductory visit was that of Ms Wickenden, the librarian, who kept a lot of information at her fingertips. Then I took a look at the huge central computer that was buzzing in an air conditioned room with its own power source. My third and final stop was to see the fax room, where 42 fax machines were transmitting and receiving documents without interruption. Fast forward 30 years and there are no libraries, no mainframes, no fax machines.

So what will the law firms look like in 2049? We have some clues today, especially about the changing role of a lawyer. In addition to mastering their area of ​​technical specialization, they will need to strengthen their wide range of skills to maintain the position of trusted business advisor. We are already seeing this with the broader group of professionals we have to help serve the roles of clients, including project managers, technology specialists and pricing experts from our Legal Operations team.

The technology eliminates all paperwork and much more work on commodities will be standardized or outsourced. Artificial intelligence simplifies data discovery so we can spend more time collaborating with our customers. The first contact interface will be managed and perhaps mediated by virtual assistants.

Some transactional practices – such as transfer of ownership, technology licensing, capital increase – are subject to change as technology creates new, more efficient markets on which our customers operate. transactions.

In its place, lawyers will do what they've always done and track down the next wave of economic change, which could come from stricter international regulators, emerging laws that will govern Big Data and privacy, induced developments through climate change and global customers. already rising in Asia.

Another important change is the lawyers' approach to risk and return. I can see a time when law firms are more willing to use their balance sheets and create their own "in-house" funds to help fund claims. Larger financing requirements may lead to the listing of many of the larger companies, creating an additional benefit of stock options that link the best and the brightest.

These trends are unlikely to lead to a single model. Despite the questions asked about the breadth of some accounting firms, I think law firms are far from reaching their size limits. More growth and mergers are a given for those who aspire to global aspirations. Accounting firms aspire to develop their legal practices so that competition does not diminish. But there is still room for shop specialists – startups with no legacy costs. There will be more and more that, with the needs of customers, will require large companies to review their effectiveness.

In 30 years, what will not change is that success depends largely on the customers and the talent that each company can attract, retain and build lasting relationships.

Will my vision prove right? Come ask me the question in 2049. Despite the unpredictability that 2019 will bring, I know that the future of forward-thinking law firms starts here.

Mark Rigotti is the CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills."data-reactid =" 19 "> Mark Rigotti, CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills

Predicting the future can be a daunting task, especially for lawyers trained to follow precedents when they give advice. The political and economic events of recent years have been difficult to predict and the continued impact of President Donald Trump and Brexit will make 2019 no less volatile and easier to navigate.

Yet, one of the certainties regarding the direction of a global organization is that changes will occur. What guides me every day at Herbert Smith Freehills is the idea that tomorrow will not be the same as today. The pace of technological advances means that our employees need to be more responsive than ever to understand innovation and how it can improve the service we provide to our customers.

Sometimes the future fails to deliver. A group of futurologists consulted in 1989 are still waiting for the North-South economic divide in the United Kingdom to disappear, the three-day week – and everyone wears jumpsuits …

But even if the schedule is sometimes off and some forecasts are wilder than others, we can feel the direction of the technology. So much money is invested in driverless vehicles, so it is not surprising that their proliferation in the last 30 years is a common expectation. A greater act of faith is the nanotechnology announced in The matrix movies that could connect human beings with a microchip to the cloud so we can download all the information that interests us. And a longer active life seems inevitable if advances in health care can diagnose illness remotely before the symptoms manifest themselves.

Considering 30 years of what the first years of their career lawyers will encounter today, I think back to the same period until my first day in the cabinet in 1988.

The first step of my introductory visit was that of Ms Wickenden, the librarian, who kept a lot of information at her fingertips. Then I took a look at the huge central computer that was buzzing in an air conditioned room with its own power source. My third and final stop was to see the fax room, where 42 fax machines were transmitting and receiving documents without interruption. Fast forward 30 years and there are no libraries, no mainframes, no fax machines.

So what will the law firms look like in 2049? We have some clues today, especially about the changing role of a lawyer. In addition to mastering their area of ​​technical specialization, they will need to strengthen their wide range of skills to maintain the position of trusted business advisor. We are already seeing this with the broader group of professionals we have to help serve the roles of clients, including project managers, technology specialists and pricing experts from our Legal Operations team.

The technology eliminates all paperwork and much more work on commodities will be standardized or outsourced. Artificial intelligence simplifies data discovery so we can spend more time collaborating with our customers. The first contact interface will be managed and perhaps mediated by virtual assistants.

Some transactional practices – such as transfer of ownership, technology licensing, capital increase – are subject to change as technology creates new, more efficient markets on which our customers operate. transactions.

In its place, lawyers will do what they've always done and track down the next wave of economic change, which could come from stricter international regulators, emerging laws that will govern Big Data and privacy, induced developments through climate change and global customers. already rising in Asia.

Another important change is the lawyers' approach to risk and return. I can see a time when law firms are more willing to use their balance sheets and create their own "in-house" funds to help fund claims. Larger financing requirements may lead to the listing of many of the larger companies, creating an additional benefit of stock options that link the best and the brightest.

These trends are unlikely to lead to a single model. Despite the questions asked about the breadth of some accounting firms, I think law firms are far from reaching their size limits. More growth and mergers are a given for those who aspire to global aspirations. Accounting firms aspire to develop their legal practices so that competition does not diminish. But there is still room for shop specialists – startups with no legacy costs. There will be more and more that, with the needs of customers, will require large companies to review their effectiveness.

In 30 years, what will not change is that success depends largely on the customers and the talent that each company can attract, retain and build lasting relationships.

Will my vision prove right? Come ask me the question in 2049. Despite the unpredictability that 2019 will bring, I know that the future of forward-thinking law firms starts here.

Mark Rigotti is the CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills.