The Future of Legal

A look at how changes to the profession might impact the future of legal services

#LegalMeansBusiness

See what the future of legal holds 

The legal profession is going through significant change. Legal teams must adapt quickly to changing client and employee demands brought on by advances in technology. There is a growing need to get more value from legal services and those teams that succeed will be agile, innovative and knowledgeable.

Find out more about three areas where we expect to see significant change in the future: technology, people and business.

Technology

Technology has been one of the biggest disruptors to the legal sector in recent years, and we don’t expect that to change. Whether teams embrace this and turn it to their advantage will be the difference between success and failure.

How technology will impact legal teams

Legal teams will increasingly complete standard and basic tasks through automation. This will free up fee earners to focus more on billable work.

‘LegalTech’ businesses will start to challenge traditional legal services. There will be increasing financial backing in lawtech start-ups from outside investors looking to capitalise in this new environment.

Teams will see cost savings as technology begins to replace humans for simpler, more routine tasks. These cost savings can then be re-invested elsewhere in the business.

Legal teams will focus on advising on cyber security, data protection and new technology laws. They will also invest heavily in cyber security to keep their own (and client) data safe

The rise of technology has created plenty of headlines, but we need to consider it an opportunity rather than a threat. Automation will take on more routine tasks, but this will allow non-fee earning staff to upskill and add even more value to the business. In the future, technology will free up resources, allowing legal teams to provide a high-quality, personalised service to all clients, regardless of their individual needs. 

We are able to provide in-house legal expertise, proven consulting services and an innovative approach, to help legal teams embrace technology and transform. Because we work across the entire transformation journey, from advisory to operations, we can help you merge technology and legal expertise to protect, grow and optimise your business.

“Legal environments are getting ever more complex and legal teams are coming under pressure to reduce costs. The best way to tackle this challenge is to build trust between legal and business units, focus on business outcomes and improve legal services and associated costs”

Andrew Giverin, PartnerNewLaw

People

All organisations will be affected by changing employment laws and the workforce of the future. Understanding and complying with these changes will require business leaders to collaborate with tax, procurement, HR, finance and legal teams.

Legal professionals and general counsel must have a central role in a future people strategy for any business. 

Preparing for these future legal issues early is important for success. We can partner with general counsel, HR directors, heads of reward and diversity teams, and other legal advisers to help them understand any people-related legal issues they want to address. 

"The pensions industry is facing a period of uncertainty and change. The upcoming changes will create risks and opportunities for employers, trustees and insurance companies. Taking practical steps, particularly contingency planning, will help to mitigate risk and ensure that schemes are resilient to a changing landscape."

David Farmer, Partner, Pensions

The future of employment

Changing workforce

With the gig economy and contingent workers representing fast-moving areas in employment law, businesses will need to ensure related risks are properly mitigated.

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Diversity

Inclusion and diversity will remain a top priority for organisations. Employers will look for detailed legal advice and data analytics to understand pay gaps, such as gender and ethnicity, within their organisation. As a result, they will be able to effectively communicate to employees, and take appropriate steps to address any inequalities they identify.

 

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Immigration

As business becomes increasingly global, legal teams will be able to show their value by seamlessly managing the movement of staff across the world. 

 

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Pensions

Pension schemes will continue to come under increasing scrutiny from regulators and legislation, as well as costs pressures. Legal teams will help trustees take practical steps, particularly contingency planning, to mitigate risk and ensure that pension schemes are prepared for the future.

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Regulations

New IR35 tax rules will come into force in April 2020, as will other legislation changes intended to benefit individuals with diverse working patterns. Organisations that prepare for these changes in advance will see a smoother transition process.

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“There are three major developments that will impact immigration over the coming years: Brexit, protectionism and technology. Our relationships give our clients a seat at the table, as well as the expertise and global presence to help them deal with these problems effectively.”

Sharan Kundi, PartnerImmigration

Business

The increasing globalisation of business is putting considerable pressure on multinational organisations to transform. We are seeing a significant increase in international groups looking to restructure for regulatory, business, operational or tax reasons. Others are also restructuring to improve efficiencies: by rationalising supply chains, minimising tax spend and labour costs, or restructuring group financings and funding arrangements.

For global businesses, understanding the combined impact of regulatory, economic, political, social and technological trends is paramount. This fast-changing, global environment means that those large organisations which put innovative plans in place will be the ones to benefit most from this new future.

Drivers for transformation

  • Expanding into new markets 
  • Moving operations overseas
  • Pre-sale reorganisation
  • Post-acquisition consolidation

Global restructurings of business can create significant legal (corporate, commercial and IP), tax, HR and operational issues. Legal teams that have the benefit of combined global business insight and local knowledge can ensure that any new structure meets its objectives and allows organisations to focus on business strategy.

However, business reorganisation can be a technically complex task that requires a dedicated, specialist team. We combine business expertise with lawyers across the globe to simplify and speed up your restructuring projects.

“Groups should plan for, and undertake, large-scale business and corporate reorganisations, often on a global scale. Achieving a successful structuring in a timely manner is key to achieving regulatory compliance, cost savings, or efficiencies from an acquisition or other corporate transaction.”

Georgie Blyth, Partner, International Business Reorganisations
International Business Reorganisations

Navigating the complexities of global restructuring projects

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Employment Law

Advising on all your people needs, handling immigration, and managing pensions schemes

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NewLaw

Innovation, technology and efficiencies for the future legal function

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Contact us

Ed Stacey

Partner, Head of Legal, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7725 445168

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