Future Proofing Midsized Law Firms:
A Guide for Strategic and Innovation Leaders
Consultants who prowl the corridors of Midsize law firms have been offering gloomy advice for years. “Merge, grow, or die,” they say, as though there are only three alternatives for any business in this market that wishes to prepare for the future. The gloom has sharpened since the Great Recession. Some pundits are now predicting that by 2035—in roughly 15 years—more than half of the traditional law firms in the Midsize market will no longer exist. Despite such pronouncements, however, the Midsize segment had its best year in a decade in 2018.
That one good year notwithstanding, many Midsize firms are feeling the pressure. While Big Law firms crow about their commitment to innovation, most Midsize firms are still trying to figure out where they fit in the new legal landscape that is taking shape. Some have embraced the “merge, grow, or die” dictum, and are busy trying to expand in some manner. Many others are still studying the problem and taking the first tentative steps—appointing committees, for example, or designating partners to lead their efforts. The key descriptor for much of this activity seems to be innovation—hence, we see the multiplication of innovation committees, innovation partners, innovation initiatives, etc.