Disruptive Innovation: New Models of Legal Practice

118 Pages Posted: 2 May 2015 Last revised: 1 Jul 2015

See all articles by Joan Williams

Joan Williams

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Aaron Platt

University of California, Berkeley, Students

Jessica Lee

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Date Written: April 9, 2015

Abstract

For decades, lawyers have been complaining that they hate working at law firms, and clients have expressed increasing frustration with high legal fees. But complaining is as far as either group went, until recently.

This is the first attempt at a comprehensive review of a wide variety of new business organizations that have arisen in recent years to remedy the market’s failure to deliver business organizations responsive to the complaints of either lawyers or of clients.

The “New Models of Legal Practice” described here typically offer a new value proposition for lawyers and clients. For lawyers, New Models offer better work-life balance and more control over other aspects of their work lives — in exchange for which lawyers typically (though not invariably) shoulder more risk, giving up a guaranteed salary, to be paid instead only for the hours they work. For clients, New Models typically drive down legal fees by sharply diminishing overhead through elimination of expensive real estate and the high cost of training new lawyers, and (again) dispensing with guaranteed salaries.

Keywords: law firm, legal practice, lawyers, law practice, secondment firms, virtual law firms

Suggested Citation

Williams, Joan and Platt, Aaron and Lee, Jessica, Disruptive Innovation: New Models of Legal Practice (April 9, 2015). UC Hastings Research Paper No. 142. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2601133 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2601133

Joan Williams (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Aaron Platt

University of California, Berkeley, Students ( email )

525 F. Haas School of Business
Berkeley, CA
United States

Jessica Lee

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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