In an article by David Parnell for Forbes, entitled “Toby Unwin of ‘Premonition’: Mining Legal Data For More Effective Counsel Selection,” Parnell and Unwin discuss the effects of Big Data on the Legal Profession.
When asked about what law firms will look like in 10-15 years, Unwin noted that Potomac Law’s model will likely predominate:
The biggest overhead of any law firm are people and real estate. Semi-virtual law firms in less restrictive jurisdictions, like D.C.-based Potomac Law, will be far more agile and adaptable to a changing market. Technology already allows lawyers to work from anywhere, yet most firms are saddled with large, expensive downtown offices. Firms have to pay employees whether they are billing or not, so there is a huge incentive to keep them billing. Clients don’t like this because it makes for lengthy, expensive litigation. Firms need to keep a “big bench” of lawyers on payroll because corporate customers don’t like to choose firms with less than 100 attorneys. This adds to everyone’s costs. The future of law is 1,000 folding chairs, not a big bench. Semi-virtual firms that lease attorneys or hire local counsel on an as-needed basis will undercut those with big overheads while providing superior win rates. Uber is coming to law.
You can read the full article here.