WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Britain’s largest publicly traded law firm is in acquisition mode, “expanding its legal presence in Poland, Spain and Germany. It even has its sights set on expanding in Canada.” – CBA/ABC National

I worry for the law firms that are not monitoring such changes to our profession.  Even a small committee to keep an eye on things global will act as an early warning system. Get a few people at your firm up into the crow’s nest now. (For an explanation of the Crow’s Nest, see my post “Icebergs and Sea Monsters in Treacherous Legal Seas.“)

THE STORY: As reported in a recent issue of the CBA/ABC National, DWF Law – a major publicly traded law firm in Great Britain – has purchased Mindcrest, a firm based in Chicago that operates primarily out of India, for $18.5 million. Mindcrest is an alternate service provider “which offers low-cost document review and legal process outsourcing.”

The article reports that according to Andrew Leaitherland, DWF’s CEO, “the company sees itself as a disruptor of an overly complacent business.”

We look at legal services as a very slow, reactive marketplace that (provides) a fantastic market opportunity to transform into a more efficient platform to deliver the right services to clients in the right locations and at the right price. – Andrew Leaitherland, CEO, DWF Law

The National article points out that DWF “still provides what it terms as ‘complex’ legal services in areas like litigation and regulatory services using lawyers charging hourly rates. But it sees an opportunity in offering its clients managed services of more routine work that can be handled on an annual contractual basis at a lower cost.”

As legal consultant and former Edge International partner Jordan Furlong points out, unlike the recent purchase of a legal process outsourcing company by EY (Ernst & Young), this is the first significant instance of a law firm undertaking such a purchase. Furlong rightly notes that this marks a turning point in law-firm strategy. All firms, no matter their size or purview, must take notice.

I INVITE YOUR FEEDBACK: I would be interested to know your thoughts on this or any other matter relating law firms and their management, either in the comments section below or or directly via email.