Blog Post

What does 2020 hold for you? Our CEO tells it how it is.

January 30, 2020

Every year we like to look back and take stock – what have we achieved, where are we going in the next 12 months and what is going to have the biggest impact on our business from a market and competitive perspective. And 2020 is no different. Our CEO, David Holme has more years in the industry than he’d admit, but that’s what makes his predictions so sought after. Below he gives his annual take on the year ahead.

Back in 2018, we said that 2018 was a transition year, where the Big Four would make their first real forays into legal and they did. We predicted that 2019 would change the industry and in many ways it has. So what about 2020?

As the start of a new decade, 2020 will likely throw up a few curveballs – the U.S. election and Brexit are sure to have an impact. The Big Four will continue their stampede into legal services, but as 2020 brings new challenges for them, they will pursue partnerships, incubators, and fewer restrictions from the regulators, but will this be enough?

As we’ve discussed, legal technology shows no signs of abating or becoming any less intimidating for GCs. But adoption is still slow, and with more players than the market can sustain, it won’t be long before the weaker players start falling by the wayside. GCs that show little interest in, or understanding of technology, will follow a similar fate in 2020.

What else is in store? Find out below and read the full list of Top 10 Trends for Legal in 2020.

Here are David’s Top 10 predictions for 2020:

  • The Big Four – more feasting, but a storm is brewing. Too much to lose and too many challenges, 2020 will prove tough for the behemoths.
  • LegalTech – running after zombies. Too many players and not a big enough market means zombies are looming.
  • Alternative Big Law business models – glorified temping will cause more problems than it solves. Thinking differently is a great sign – but are big law firms just grasping at straws?
  • New entrants – smaller law firms are opening weekly, but costs might drag them down quickly. How many law firms do you think are in special measures with their lender already?
  • ALSPs continue massive growth in 2020 – with more acquisitions and overvaluations. As lawyers rush to be the customer (not lawyer) -centric use of ALSPs will continuously grow.
  • Data will become all-powerful at prediction – with more new players challenging law firms. Clients will see the value in forward-thinking law firms offering this prediction service – but how will it impact the traditional firms?
  • Legal education is changing – but still not enough! Law schools aren’t disruptive enough, but at least one major university is leading the pack. Will lawyers ever make good CEOs?
  • Compliance will be the key to legal tech (slow) adoption. Legal Tech uptake is still painfully slow, but as it matures, there is legislation that might help.
  • AI will still need a human hand. It’s not about AI, it’s about AI+HI. There’s a secret to the success of AI projects, and it’s not necessarily what you think.
  • Blockchain gets real (well, a little more real.) Certain legal areas will take the lead on adoption as corporations start to see the benefits. We see what’s already started working in 2019 that will have an influence in 2020.

As always, some of our predictions will be right and some will be slightly off track. Whatever you think, a new year is an opportunity for us to think about our sector in a new way, learn new things, and start to galvanize our teams around areas that can develop not just the business, but the mindset of those around us.

Start by reading our full list of Top 10 Trends for Legal in 2020.