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A time of disruption

A time of disruption

By Judith Bennett

Practice Management 


The legal profession’s fundamental competitive dynamics have changed and are changing. How can we understand better what is happening? Five Forces framework Business students are familiar with Michael Porter’s Five Forces framework that analyses the inherent attractiveness of an industry. For lawyers too, this framework is a powerful way to understand the dynamics of competition and profits in the profession now and as it evolves. Porter argues that often competition is defined too narrowly as a law firm’s direct competitors of today. Instead, competition goes beyond existing rivals to include the relative strength of four other competitive forces – the bargaining power of clients and suppliers, and the threats of new and potential entrants and substitute services. The extended rivalry that results from all forces defines and shapes the intensity of competitive interaction within an industry. Understanding this provides a framework for anticipating and influencing the future for law firms. At this time all five forces are simultaneously acting on and within the legal profession. Analysing how each of these forces operates gives perspective into how legal businesses can evolve in the future.

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