Experts need forward thinkers: How legal firms are impacted by financial services disruption

Last year Travelers and The Lawyer collaborated on a research report entitled ‘Legal innovation and risk management'. The report tackled two main questions - how are law firms innovating to respond to client demands and what impact is this having on risk management?

In summary the report revealed that, from the use of disruptive technology and flexible working practices to alternative fee arrangements and the provision of non-legal services, law firms are innovating in many different ways. But these innovative practices are creating a new set of risks that need to be carefully managed.

This follow-up paper takes some of the questions we asked and turns them on their head. Instead of querying how law firms are innovating we interviewed private practice lawyers and in-house counsel to understand how clients are innovating and how their demand for legal services is changing. We also asked how law firms are responding to these changing demands, both in terms of seizing new opportunities and managing new risks.

This is a wide ranging question, so in this paper we focus specifically on innovation in the financial services sector. This report summarises the views of a series of partners at financial services practices and in‑house counsel at innovative companies.