[COLUMN] The Rise of Legal Entrepreneurship

Exploring the unexplored has always been a basic human instinct. The desire to know about things that we do not know has compelled us to embark on perilous journeys throughout history.

There is no denying the fact that every such journey involves an end number of risk factors, which need to be addressed efficiently whenever they arise. Every profession involves risks, and it requires vision, passion, knowledge, expertise, resources, and continuous improvement to overcome such unforeseen situations.

The entrepreneurs are often associated with unanticipated risks, but well-equipped to deal with such contingencies in developing innovative business models. It is interesting to note that entrepreneurship has gradually emerged as the trend of the contemporary times.

With the rapid growth of new technology and diverse avenues, entrepreneurs are getting exposure to the extraordinary world of opportunities leading to innovations in their respective fields.

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The term ‘entrepreneurship’ is not very commonly associated with law. In fact, legal profession is often considered to be traditionally conservative, which stems from the fact that most of the prominent lawyers have an emotional attachment with the existing social and economic order that has brought them fame and reward and are, thus, not inclined towards bringing any fundamental social and legal change that would disrupt the status quo.

There are reasons inherent in the structure and purpose of the law that account for much of the legal profession’s historic conservatism and provide it a sense of inevitability. On the other hand, it is an established fact that lawyers are cautious about the precedents and risk mitigation.

However, it has been an accepted fact that every profession, including the legal profession, requires innovation to be able to provide unique and effective solutions to the contemporary problems.

Justice Cardozo addressed the issue of how to reconcile the requirement for legal stability with the need for change. He finally concluded with the idea that the spirit of conservation and change are both necessary components of the concept of law although it may be subject to certain reservations.

Today, the legal profession has undergone significant transformation due to global forces at work. The recent Covid 19 pandemic has not only disrupted the health care system, but also the legal system. Courts all across the world have had to react rapidly to the pandemic’s challenges such as switching to virtual mode of delivery of justice while maintaining social distancing regulations. This has posed considerable issues for the legal system, which are likely to be exacerbated in the post-pandemic phase with series of complex issues.

Two years back, India’s first RoboCop was inducted by Kerala Police giving it the rank of Sub Inspector to perform duties of the front office of a police station in the state.  As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to disrupt numerous industries, including the legal services business, experts in the field agree that AI will continue to expand exponentially as a critical technology for bringing new tools and features to improve legal services and access to justice.

This trend will certainly continue to make its way into the day-to-day work of legal professionals and revolutionise the legal sector with AI-powered judges, lawyers, and AI-driven features for contract or team management applications. Michael Sander, a lawyer, found the legal research tools at his New York law firm to be too expensive and cumbersome. This had led to his establishing Docket Alarm, which provides legal search, analytics, and litigation notifications for the United States court system. The legal profession has become increasingly entrepreneurial as a result of financial demands and opportunities brought on by innovation and globalisation.

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The expansion of law companies with offices in multiple locations across the globe has aided the formation of multinational law firms, with globalisation being the slogan for transnational corporate operations. As indicated by international mergers, multi-national firms, and international law firm networks, cross-border consolidation of legal business has become a common phenomenon in the present scenario.

Furthermore, it has become very pertinent for new lawyers joining the field, whether as sole practitioners or as employees of law firms, to be adequately equipped to apply the law and manage the variations that occur inside law companies.

The entrepreneurial interaction with the legal profession has also been recognized through statutory provisions in some of the countries. The Legal Services Act of 2007 in the United Kingdom supports increased competition in the legal sector by permitting the development of alternative business structures, which allow non-lawyers to partner with lawyers to provide legal services.

Various factors play a crucial role in lawyers turning into successful entrepreneurs, such as a rational and analytical mind, communication skills, self-confidence, teamwork, problem solving etc. There is no doubt about the fact that technology has drastically changed the legal profession in recent years, resulting in widespread innovation and the emergence of the “legal entrepreneur.”

The Rise of Legal EntrepreneurshipInnovation and entrepreneurship are undoubtedly ‘trending’ in today’s legal scene, driving competition and highlighting the differences between progressive and regressive law firms, legal professionals, and legal service providers.


Dr. Archana Sarma

Head, School of Law

The NorthCap University, Gurugram

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