Is The Legal Profession Really On The Verge Of Revolution?

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By Alex Aldridge on

There was excited talk of “profound change”, “broken business models” and “the end of Law 1.0” at a debate hosted this morning in Middle Temple Hall by Riverview Law, the new firm-chambers hybrid that refuses to charge its clients by the hour.

As the assembled legal futurists’ speeches crossed the hour mark, audience members were showing symptoms of having been hypnotised by the charms of life “at the forefront of Law 3.0 going forward” when Legal Futures editor Neil Rose went and spoiled everything…

“Have you convinced the partners at Slaughter and May [where profit per lawyer is £296,000] that their business model is broken?” he asked the panel.

No one had much of a response to that one.

Still, Riverview may well be onto something in a legal market where many big corporate law firms operate far, far less efficiently than Slaughter and May. And the signs are that, so far, the new firm on the block has been doing pretty well, with its chief executive Karl Chapman revealing during the debate that two law firms had recently approached him with a view to being acquired by Riverview. Who knows, in a couple of years Riverview might even be offering training contracts and pupillages…