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"Disruptive innovation can hurt,...

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"Disruptive innovation can hurt,...

..if you are not the one doing the disrupting”*

I recently went to a busy legal policy forum in London.

The topic for discussion was ‘Innovation in the legal services market’ and the role of regulation in this.

Effective regulation is so important to ensure high standards, accountability and a right of recourse for customers. But it also needs to evolve to remain relevant and effective.

So it was great to have a Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) executive give an update on how its Looking to the Future proposals are progressing, which aim to simplify and improve regulation. These proposals have also been supported by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

I was also interested to learn that the SRA have set up an Innovation team to help drive change.

I’m a fan of the proposals. Some would argue that’s hardly surprising given Hybrid Legal’s business model is well placed to take advantage.

The other perspective is that I genuinely believe regulatory change is critical to improving the way customers engage with law firms.

The changes will allow individual solicitors to describe themselves as such and practise whether they work on their own, work for one of the modern newer entrants who conduct ‘non-reserved’ legal activities or work in a traditional regulated law firm.

The idea is greater choice and competition leads to better customer value for money.

There seemed few strong supporters for the improvements in the room. Some suggested it would add to complexity. I find this disappointing but not surprising.

If you are a partner in a traditional law firm, does it benefit you if the way legal services are accessed changes?

Or does having a regulatory system, which dictates only your type of firm can deal with certain legal matters, protect your interests?

Personally, I am looking to the future with much excitement.

If ever there was a market crying out for disruption, it’s the legal industry.

* Clay Christensen.

By Alan Reid