France | Study on the business law firm of the future | 2018


The digitalization of the firm is the practice that will be the most structured in the next 3-5 years.

Because general secretaries are at the heart of the way business firms operate, we wanted to conduct our reflection on the law firm of the future by interviewing office managers. We therefore questioned the members of the COM’SG association on the level of maturity of their firms on 11 organisational practices today. We then asked them to project their firm into the future and to evaluate the maturity at 3-5 years on these 11 organizational practices. The results are rich. Surprising at times. Above all, they shed light on the discrepancy between the rhetoric of change we hear and the reality of the transformation of business law firms. This study is intended as a reflection tool for firms and a spotlight on priorities for the future. Above all, we hope that it will help raise awareness of the systemic dimension of the changes to be made in business law firms.

The quantification of the maturity of firms on these practices has made it possible to organize them by priority and to identify those that constitute the main challenges or priorities for the firm of the future. “This study confirms that the digital transformation of the legal market is prompting business law firms to rethink themselves and quantifies this change. It also highlights the lack of structuring of certain practices in firms that might have been thought to be optimized, such as client satisfaction management,” says Jérôme Rusak, a partner at Day One who led the study.

The results of this study confirm the need for business law firms to strengthen their processes and organization to become law firms prepared to face the challenges of change. “The results of the study show the reality of our law firms and give hope for the changes that will be necessary if the firms are to be part of this process”, says Angela Trivisonno, President of COM’SG.


3 Key lessons of the study

1. The digitalization of the business law firm, which is not very advanced today (2.18), is the practice that will be the most structured in the next 3-5 years, rising from 2.18 to 3.23. It is also the practice that will have the greatest systemic impact on business law firms.

2. The business law firm of tomorrow (at 3-5 years) will have structured 5 other practices

  • Development of key messages (3.55)
  • The monitoring of performance indicators (3.53), which today account for 75% of the financial indicators.
  • The budget process (3.51)
  • Alternative billing methods (3.25)
  • CRM (3.19) despite the associates’ low appetite for sharing customer information (6.2 out of 10).

3. On the other hand, tomorrow’s firm will still be insufficiently structured around 5 practices

  • The development of skills in legal project management (2.55), which will be the least mature practice of the firms, even though the firms’ clients (corporate lawyers) are already training in this area.
  • Client satisfaction management (2.81), which is and will remain the second least mature practice among business law firms.
  • Management of generational changes (2.81)
  • Knowledge Management (2.87)
  • Pyramid management and leverage (2.87), actually addressed by only 1 firm in 3

Access the study


The study was conducted from 20 April to 24 May 2017 among the members of the COM’SG association. A questionnaire was put online on a secure web platform accessible via a link sent by the COM’SG office (CAWI method). Responses were anonymous. The questionnaire covered 11 key practices of business law firms. Closed and open questions were answered by 51 secretaries general representing 51 firms of different sizes and profiles. The open-ended questions were re-processed for statistical analysis.





They talked about it

Les Echos : “Les avocats négligent la satisfaction client

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