My father mailed me a link to an interesting article from The New York Times: Mass Layoffs at a Top‑Flight Law Firm (http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/big-law-firm-to-cut-lawyers-and-some-partner-pay/). The article deals with, what they call, the surprising move by Weil, Gotshal & Manges, one of the US most prestigious and profitable law firms, that in NYT’s view, underscores the financial difficulties facing the legal profession. I think they are essentially right, as the legal services industry is undergoing changes incomparable to anything it had to face in its millennial history. I have commented the article to my friends in the following words:
On a bigger scale, it appears that legal process is a product that is increasingly hard to sell in many instances. It could be said that its many aspects generally provide for a miserable user experience and the customers shun it for its inherent characteristics, not only price.
The clients seem to be realizing that that the ever increasing complexities of the legal system do not guarantee anymore any certainty. Could it be that the perception has formed that the legal system cannot serve as a guidance in the situation of vastly increased number of transactions and commercial interactions that have removed the possibility of real consistency? Legal risk seems to be increasingly managed along the lines of other types of risk, in terms of probabilities balance, without any attempt to deal with the specifics of a given relation.
Our societies seem to be reaching a point where a search for parallel, alternative modes of conflict resolution, such as mediation are becoming mainstream. There, the resolutions on the basis of the disputants’ legal positions decided by a third party are substituted by the outcomes resulting from the parties real interests based efforts. And these efforts seem to pay off. These results are usually reached by disputants taking responsibilities for their disputes back into their own hands rather then leaving it for the system to decide through an “objective” their person. Could it be that other segments of legal system will be reexamined in a similar way as a next step by our societies turning away from its reliance on law as the only way of running its affairs?