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Scoping the transformation of the professional services industry

Abstract : Services firms are engaged in an ongoing transformation. This allows them to remain competitive and survive. This change is enabled by two instruments. On the one hand firms can displace labor off/near-shore and on the other, they can replace labor thanks to information technology (e.g. digital application etc..). There is however an open question around the scope of this transformation on several services sectors, one of which pertains to the legal industry. Existing benchmarks indeed suggest a drastic change where most of the work (90%+) currently done locally could move abroad or be replaced. But does this really hold given that the industry seems to change at a slow pace? The view offered through this article is that the potential transformation of legal services firms should be much more conservative than originally anticipated. If most of the tasks associated to the delivery of legal advice can be done remotely, many of them cannot be separated from certain activities that must be performed locally. For example, if a significant portion of lawyers’ responsibilities can be assumed remotely, only 30% of them can be off/near-shored. Looking at the overall legal landscape, it therefore appears that no more than 20% of the work done within the legal industry can be moved abroad. Beyond reviewing to which extent work can be displaced, this paper also highlights that ambitions around the use of information technology in the legal space should be carefully weighted. Digital instruments do not appear to have a large potential when it comes to replacing labor but should be used as a medium for growth.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01889350
Contributor : Edouard Ribes <>
Submitted on : Monday, January 11, 2021 - 6:04:07 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 3:10:13 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01889350, version 4

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Edouard Ribes. Scoping the transformation of the professional services industry. 2021. ⟨hal-01889350v4⟩

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