Business of Law

Inspired by Richard Susskind, Lawyers Form 'No-Staff, Paperless' Firm

Renowned for big bills, the legal profession is changing in response to technology and pressure from clients to cut costs.

One of the latest examples is Temple Bright, a United Kingdom law firm established by three attorneys described by the Law Society Gazette as a trio who have “trained and practiced at a senior level in major City or regional firms.” (The “City,” of course, is London.)

Their commercial practice, which is based in Bristol, provides what partners Tim Summers, James Howell and Justyn McIlhinney bill as “City”-quality advice based on a “no-staff, paperless office model,” reports Bristol 24/7.

“Through listening to our clients we have developed a fresh way of working,” the firm’s website explains. “We use technology to give a streamlined service without the traditional law firm infrastructure. This means we can offer you greater value for money and certainty on fees.”

The nontraditional practice has outsourced its accounts services, “know-how lawyers” and law library to online providers, Summers tells Bristol 24/7, and plans to expand, when the time is right, by seeking to attract new lawyers by offering flexible work hours and the opportunity to take home a high percentage of their billables.

“The market for legal services in the U.K. is worth 25 billion pounds,” he says. “But how much of that is actually spent on the high quality-legal advice clients need to make critical business decisions or conduct their transactions?”

The model the Temple Bright firm has adopted, the blog article notes, has been predicted and encouraged by Richard Susskind, an n Oxford University-educated lawyer and legal technology consultant who is something of a Cassandra-like prophet to the legal profession.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “No Way Back” “Prophet Richard Susskind Predicts the Future of Law; Internet is Key” “Murmurs of Change in BigLaw Practice, But Where’s the Proof?”

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