In 2016, clients in India who are involved either in litigation or in any other legal process have become more demanding from law firms in India. They expect and ask for more at a minimum cost. Although technology is assisting law firms in India in the year 2016, but technology alone cannot provide legal and ethical value in legal profession. It also cannot increase focus of lawyers in India towards their clients. What clients expect in 2016 from law firms in India is not better technology, but better legal services.
The last decade has seen global economic recession which has touched all countries differently. India is also one of the countries which were affected by the economic recession and its economy declined. With this decline, worth of money and what is expected out of it increased. Clients therefore became more demanding and they demanded from law firms in India to become more efficient, provide more value and to do so at lesser costs.
In other words, clients now lead and legal services coming from law firms in India and individual lawyers in India in the year 2016 follow them. We are often asked by our domestic and international clients as to what is the probability of winning. They also ask us whether there are alternatives to litigation. This is because in today’s age, clients throughout the world want more value out of the legal services and this value has one important dimension which is legal expenditure.
This has also lead to a change in the way that legal profession has operated in India till today. There are more law firms in India now than last decade and less of lawyers in India now practice individually. This is because of the realization among the legal community that costs can be shared among lawyers and work can also be reduced by sharing the burden. This reduced cost and burden leads to immediate profits which also brings more client satisfaction.
A client who is already in loss, would always want a lawyer at a lesser rate and expect more out of him because he has much more to lose if he does not come out victorious in a court case.
In such a scenario, a good law firm in India would always see opportunity in the hardship. So much so that law firms are now making an alternative arrangement in which they are retained with the client on a monthly basis rather than on a case to case basis to reduce costs for a client. This means there is a management level change in the law firm.
In certain cases clients have multiple litigations in different levels of courts. In a typical Indian scenario in 2016 a client may have a land dispute in India in a district court, civil division in High Court, proceedings under section 145 and 146 of the Criminal Procedure Code in High Court, contempt of court either in district court or High Court and similar other matters are marching out of a single land dispute. In such a scenario, a law firm has to have a wider perspective and consider that the client is already having so much litigation and it would not be possible for him to pay high litigation fees in all these cases. In such situations, smart law firms in India offer alternative pricing to domestic and international clients.
In earlier days, clients used to call law firms in India for every small detail like the next date of hearing, what happened in the court in the last date of hearing and court orders of different dates. Because of changing technology, all these details can be sought from websites of different High Courts in India like Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh and Supreme Court of India.
With modern technology law firms in India can offer more efficiency and reduced expenditure to their clients. Certain aspects of legal profession which were earlier handled by law firms in house, are now being outsourced. One of the leading examples is maintaining documentation and records of the decided cases.
However technology alone cannot provide everything. For example it cannot provide the critical and analytical thinking that is required in a legal profession. Lawyers need to have better thinking process, analytical process and critical powers to succeed. No amount of technology can replace that. However technology has become better slave to the leading law firms in India. A combination of technology along with successful legal strategies and legal acumen amongst law firms in India has become a powerful combination for immediate and long-term success.
Another major change that has happened in the year 2016 in India is law firm mergers. There has been a consolidation in the Indian legal market. This means even the number of large-scale quality law firms is decreasing. This is because of better financial management which comes with consolidation of resources.
The start-up law firms in India in the year 2016 must have ability to adapt to the changing economic environment throughout the world. There managerial structure should be more scalable and flexible. Throughout the world, needs of clients and their behavior are changing. Lawyers in India must always consider this global change and then devise a winning and successful strategy for their own growth.