Thomson Reuters Legal: The Future is Now – predicting the evolution of large global law firms

The Space

Legal Services – an industry worth nearly £1bn in annual spend. A service sector steeped in precedent and tradition, the top 200 global law firms have looked and acted much in the same way for the last 50 years. But with cloud technologies, data and analytical platforms, change is afoot. How law firms are adapting to changing client requirements, to provision of digital services, and to new ways of winning and doing business, is very much in flux. Who will be the new sector leaders and what is driving their success is evolving.

The Brief

Thomson Reuters has the ambition to be the leading provider of legal services support tools. With a pipeline of new products, platforms and services in development, the global large law team wanted to know: what is going on, how are our clients thinking about changes and where is this wave of change likely heading? Would all firms adopt these new tools and ways of working, or would the traditional firms remain much the same? Venturebright were asked to gaze into the future and predict what global large law firms would look like 10 years from now.

What We Did
  • Finding Signals and Inflection Points: Our proprietary research methodology uncovered new emerging patterns showing how large law firms were evolving their strategies and tools to meet the demands of their clients, resulting in five predictable evolutionary models for law firm transformation. 
  • A new paradigm for large law: We found that many structural changes had already been undertaken, resulting from the cost pressures on the legal services industry over the last 10 years. Automation had already happened within law firms through outsourcing and flexible resource banks. We articulated a new, but already existing model, for how large firms operate and defined a new paradigm for Thomson Reuters’s go to market strategy and product development in large law that the organisation could work against right now. 
  • A roadmap to navigate possible evolutions: Based on our 5 evolutionary models, we defined a set of predictors, indicators and the context and constraints under which a firm would evolve. This was codified into a playbook for how the Thompson Reuters team stay on top of change signals and customise their approach to each firm depending on where on their evolutionary path they fit.  

What Happened Next

We implemented the playbook with both the global large law sales and product development teams and have rolled out a digital market tracker to help the organisation stay on top of changes.