Definitely Mabey

The Barbarians have passed the Gate

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, defines barbarian:

A member of a people considered by those of another nation or group to have a primitive civilization”. The word originated with the Greeks and later, the Romans used the same term to describe anyone who was not Roman.

Stephen Mabey Author

I always like to start any presentation off on challenges facing the legal profession with the following quote from an unknown source (or at least to me):

"Lawyers should not fear the changes going on in the legal profession today, but rather should really fear their inability to change".

There are any number of existing challenges that "threaten" the legal profession's historical way of life including in no particular order:

  • Cyber security
  • Technology, specifically artificial intelligence
  • Control of clients resting with the 60+ year olds
  • Continuous oversupplying of new lawyers
  • Millennials
  • Commoditization in all areas of law
  • Pricing at the partner rather than the firm level
  • Decision making methodologies
  • Inflexible compensation systems
  • History as a hitching and not a guide post

But the one that may best qualify as the Barbarians who have passed through the gates already and will have the greatest impact on mid-size firms are the Accountants.

In an article published in early 2015 in The Economist the "big four" - Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG - are reputed to have combined annual revenues of over a $120 billion (yes billion). To provide some perspective, the largest 100 law firms are supposed to generate a combined $89 billion in revenue.

So lawyers should not doubt the "barbarians" financial clout.

Now we all know about the failure of Donahue & Partners in Canada when EY acquired a small "full service" firm and made the mistake of attempting to run a law firm like an accounting partnership!

But this gives rise to a real difference between the Barbarians and the genteel legal civilization - "what would you do if you were not afraid of failure?"

The rest of this article is available in Stephen Mabey's new Book

Book Cover - Leading and Managing a Sustainable Law Firm - Tactics & Strategies for a Rapidly Changing Profession by Stephen Mabey

Available for purchase on BookBaby.



A thought I would leave you with - It doesn't have to be a direct competition with the Barbarians as there are an abundance of accounting firms that are competing with these same Barbarians and the enemy of my enemy can be my friend.

Collaboration and cooperation with these firms can provide mid-size law firms with differentiation that may not be available to "big law" when the Barbarians start in on their world!

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