While lawyers have long dealt in the knowledge-based experience for their clients, perhaps it is time that firms start looking towards the future and begin to focus on a client-centric market approach, Spark New Zealand Assistant General Counsel Rod Morris says.
Addressing the LawFest conference in Auckland on 17 May, Mr Morris considered digital disruption in the context of traditional markets and business models.
He said the client-centric market approach was needed to complete with online legal programs and "digital lawyers". This was much like how online companies such as Facebook, AirBnB and Twitter have cut out the middle man in their business model, giving clients more choice and independence.
"Customer experience is becoming the new market monopoly," Mr Morris said.
"Companies are moving faster, there is more competition in most industries and digital disruption is forcing companies to change how they operate to stay competitive. As such, firms need to be more efficient and responsive.
"This doesn’t mean turning around advice or transactional documentation faster, but addressing how they are processing instructions and in what form they are providing their services."
As a starting point, Mr Morris said, firms need to consider looking at the form of engagement they have with clients.
"For example, do they have engagement methodologies that allow for real time collaboration with clients to better assist understanding of commercial issues and solve for these in adaptive ways?"