51cBYUnkdEL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-41,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Frozen in New York City? Nothing to look forward to in the UK but floods and transport disruption? Then read this book NewLaw – New Rules by George Beaton. The book contrasts the traditional law firm business model, termed BigLaw, with innovative legal service providers (NewLaw) against the backdrop of rapid changes in processes, technology, and client demands.

NewLaw – New Rules is the fruit of a social media exchange over the past three months among nearly 40 law firm leaders, practising lawyers, academics, industry experts, academics and commentators from six countries. “Notwithstanding disagreement about their exact causes and consequences, the contributors all agree major and accelerating changes in the demand and supply sides of the legal services industry” says George Beaton, “but the impact on BigLaw is hotly disputed”.

The seven chapters cover the changing legal services industry landscape and how the business model of large law firms is now being severely tested with the profit per partner of most firms expected to continue to fall. In a first, NewLaw – New Rules shows how the emergence of NewLaw firms (of which there are at least seven major categories, each with business models different from BigLaw) is changing the game – and adversely affecting BigLaw big time.

Writing in the foreword, Professor Richard Susskind comments “In the best spirit of peer production, with echoes too of rapid-fire Socratic exchange, the contributors have co-created an ebook that asks and to a large extent answers the key strategic questions that all law firm leaders must now be invited to address. This is mandatory reading for anyone who is interested in legal businesses of the future. Dr George Beaton is to be warmly congratulated for hosting and generating such a lively and informed conversation about tomorrow’s law firms.”

The ebook is available from a number of online sources, including Amazon, for US$16.60 www.amazon.com/NewLaw-New-Rules-conversation-services-ebook/dp/B00HCR98I4/

101217_Beaton_Portrait-0450About the author: George Beaton is a strategy and research consultant serving professional services firms, including law firms. He is an Associate Professor in the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne. His current areas of interest include the globalisation of professional services and the contemporary meaning of professionalism. He is also a regular contributor to Legal IT Insider. www.beatoncapital.com/blog/

COMMENT: We have a lot of time for George Beaton and his ideas – not only because he is a genuinely nice guy but also because he really understands the financial metrics underpinning the legal business model. This is something, sadly, that many partners in BigLaw firms have yet to grasp. The gravy train is coming off the tracks. Read this book for valuable ideas on how to avoid being part of a train-wreck – and how NewLaw firms are pioneering an alternative business model.