Read about debates, discussions and factors that will determine the future of the legal profession, identified by experts. Law Society President Robert Bourns shared his expertise on the future of law firms.

On 21 October, the CCBE (Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe), which, through its members, represents more than 1 million European lawyers, brought together experts from Europe and beyond to explore the future of the legal profession.

The conference “Innovation and Future of the Legal Profession” covered four main themes:

  • The future of justice
  • The future of legal services
  • The future of law firms
  • The future of Bars and Law Societies

You can take a look at the whole programme attached to this article.

The future of law firms

The Law Society’s recent report on the future of Legal Sercives confirmed that the solicitors’ profession is facing a future of change and that competition, buyer behaviour, globalisation, technology and policy agendas are drivers of that progress.

Together with his co-panelists Carlos Valls Martínez, Partner at Fornesa Abogados; Jaap Bosman, Co-Founder and principal partner at TGO Consulting; and Bas Boris Visser, Global Head of Innovation and Business Change and Partner at Clifford Chance, Robert Bourns discussed issues such as the commoditization of legal services and the nature of the profession and firms.

Law Society President Robert Bourns’ speech 

Law Society president Robert Bourns spoke on the future of the law firms. He stressed that to be successful, law firms need to demonstrate value, as defined by their clients, delivering advice and support in the way that clients recognise as useful.

  • We heard that small firms will continue to provide the backbone of legal services, but they will likely look different in the future and use technological innovations that lower costs of entry and practice.
  • He reiterated however that all firms, big and small, need to anticipate changes affecting or driven by clients and their own employees to ensure their viability and high standards as to clients’ demands.

Moderated by Hugh Mercer QC, Chair of the CCBE EU Lawyers Committee, this varied panel stimulated a lively discussion with interaction from the audience. It was especially valuable to learn about both European as well as international perspectives.