Nov. 9, 2022
The Daily Report recently reported on a trend of rising client expectations for both law firms and in-house legal departments. According to a report cited in the article, rising client expectations are forcing law firms to embark on measures to control compensation expenses, with many law firms expected to hold budgets flat in 2023 – even pausing hiring and delaying associate classes.
Michael E. Hollingsworth II, managing partner of Nelson Mullins’ Atlanta office and a member of the Executive Committee, told the Daily Report he, too, sees client expectations changing.
“I think this is probably accelerating a trend that was already going on,” he said. “Clients were already demanding more efficiency, more value for their legal spend even before [the] COVID[-19 pandemic], frankly. As macroeconomic trends continue to create headwinds in the economy, it’s only natural they would accelerate upwards.”
When asked how he handles increasing client expectations as a firm leader, Hollingsworth said some of the firm’s practices, including mergers and acquisitions, rely heavily on Artificial Intelligence software to help with due diligence.
“We use Kira as a form of AI software we run contracts through to look for certain provisions, and it’s really accurate, instead of using an army of associates to go through contracts on a deal,” he said. The firm also uses nonpermanent contract attorneys for volume-based projects, reducing the overall cost.
“My No. 1 advice, and law firms aren’t great at this, is to be flexible and creative,” he said. “You still have to be profitable to stay in business, but leaders need to find more ways to align themselves with the clients, so they’re on the same side to the table working together instead of being viewed as an offenders or someone who is misaligned because the rate structure is so out of whack.”
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