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Three of four lawyers who embrace change have a growing practice

Women and millennial lawyers are most willing to embrace change, LexisNexis survey finds

22 October 2015

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

Women and millennial lawyers are more likely than others to embrace change, a survey has found.

The survey of sole practitioners and lawyers in small to mid-sized firms in the UK found that nine out of ten respondents recognise they are operating in a period of unprecedented change.

More than half (55 per cent) of women said they agree strongly with the need to change, while 70 of lawyers who qualified after 1997 have a positive attitude to change.

"It's time to innovate or die," commented William Robins, operations director at Keystone Law. "Those who innovate can expect to ride a wave of unprecedented client demand, and those who don't, can expect ever tougher competition and insolvency within three years."

The respondents who agreed strongly with the need to change the way they work "tend to include as one of their reasons for practicing law a wish to give something back to their community" and are also "more positive about how they see themselves and conduct their business," the researchers found.

The most popular reason given for practising law was "making a difference to my clients' life/business". This was followed by enjoyment of client servicing and solving legal problems.

The research found that, among the lawyers who do not embrace change but are conscientious about their work, many lack engagement with practice management.

Nearly two fifths said they do not enjoy managing the business part of their role, 36 per cent said they are not entrepreneurial, 34 per cent are not early adopters of technology and 15 per cent do not have a clear strategy for the future direction of their business.

In addition, 23 per cent think investment in the best systems and processes is not important, 21 per cent think it is not important to be technologically advanced, 14 per cent do not think it important to be forward looking and 13 per cent do not think it important to have a clear business development strategy.

By contrast, progressive firms were more likely to score all of these dimensions as 'very important'. They also scored highly on having planned or implemented changes to training, client satisfaction and technology, among others.

Three of four respondents who said they embrace change also noted their practice is growing. They are also more likely to have confidence in the future.

However, a proactive attitude is no guarantee of sound financial management. One of four respondents who embrace change are also experiencing bad debts or cashflow problems, the research found.

The results of the LexisNexis survey of 118 solicitors are published today in The Art of Keeping Up.




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