The three great unknowns in the legal sector today are NewLaw firms, artificial intelligence and globalisation. This is the conclusion drawn from responses to an extensive survey of lawyers and law firm principals undertaken by LEAP.

Disruptive technology was another emerging trend that the majority of lawyers weren’t sure whether it was an opportunity or a threat. A majority of principals however saw it as an opportunity. 

Everything else asked about in the survey appears to be regarded as a golden opportunity, such as cloud computing, social media and networking, virtual law firms, niche practice areas and multidisciplinary practices.

The survey paints a picture of lawyers being a highly optimistic group in the current market for legal services. There was not one emerging trend that a majority of practitioners saw as a threat more than an opportunity. At their most pessimistic, the survey respondents were not sure about whether a particular trend was an opportunity or a threat.

As mentioned above, in the ‘not sure’ category was the NewLaw business model, artificial intelligence and globalisation. What is the common thread amongst this group of three emerging trends and all the others?

We hear and read a lot about NewLaw, artificial intelligence and globalisation but aren’t these three also the hardest to define? Can we agree on what is a NewLaw firm? How do you even start to describe artificial intelligence? Globalisation sounds like economics jargon.

It is often a personal choice to decide whether something is going to be an opportunity or a threat. The practitioners surveyed overwhelmingly chose ‘opportunity’.

However, if you don’t know what you’re dealing with because it is too new or too technical then the honest and realistic answer is that you are not sure, and that’s how lawyers feel about NewLaw, artificial intelligence and globalisation. 

For more results and analysis from the survey, visit: