Law 2023 Update #5: Has transparency pushed firms to seek niche markets?

by Deb Knupp /

For the next several weeks on the blog, we’re going check in on the progress of predictions made by the groundbreaking guide to the future of law firms, Law 2023. Check out all our updates here.


We’re halfway to 2023. Let’s check in on how firms are recognizing and developing niche markets.


The prediction: Clients will have much more access to objective information about the effectiveness of firms and individual lawyers. Public companies in particular will face increasing pressure to rely on firms with the best track records. This means forward-looking firms will seek to define and dominate niche markets in which they can credibly claim to be the best. As with other industries, changes to legal markets will increasingly be driven by organizations’ collective ability to produce disruptive innovations, in addition to individual lawyers’ skills and experience.


Where we are today: Industry focus and niche focus is now an avenue to drive business.


What it looks like so far: We know now that it is insufficient to rest on quality and capability of legal service alone for the success of a firm. Buyers have a need for services to be provided with a high degree of business acumen, which is leading to a growing sense of hyper-specificity. Law consultants (lawyer plus management consultant) have gained a lot of traction in the last five years because there has been client demand for it. In addition, partnerships with academic institutions and professional service providers are becoming more common as firms look for ways to bring consultants together in the name of rendering better counsel and service, and more collaboration among partners, who all benefit from this new work.