When John Dittmar and Emmanuel Indrenius set up our firm some 120 years ago they were thinking ahead.
Before the first world war Finland and many other parts of the world witnessed unprecedented economic growth and transformation of society. Things were changing and the wheels of industry and trade were turning at a rate that had never been seen before. Social change was evidenced by Finnish women getting their right to vote as the first women in Europe and the second in the world.
D&I rode on this wave of change. The demand for legal services grew, especially within commercial law. It cannot have been easy for John and Emmanuel to think ahead in such times of fast transformation. I guess that is why they teamed up with some of the most important names in Finnish economic life and developed their services to be relevant for the growing Finnish industry.
Looking at the pace of change in the early 20th century from today’s perspective, is like looking at an old steam train from a modern passenger jet. While change has never been as fast as it is now, it will never again be as slow as it is today.
The pace of change is constantly accelerating. The kind of changes that used to take decades, may now happen in months. Digitalisation is a magical tool changing so much of what we lawyers do and how we do it.
In these times of accelerating change it is not easy to think ahead. We cannot see what the future may bring to the legal industry, but we do know that information will keep on getting more accessible and that artificial intelligence will play a role in the provision of legal advice.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that for a long period going forward, we lawyers will have an important role to play. The challenge already today is not that the contents of the law and market practice wouldn’t be available to our clients. The thing is that our clients do not have the time and resources to analyse what it means for them.
Our role is to monitor the huge wave of change in regulation and best practices, simplify what it means to our clients and present it in a form that is easy to access and comprehend.
At the same time not everyone can be an expert in any given area of the law and follow and analyse all the developments in market practice. It brings efficiencies to concentrate such expertise to dedicated persons and to share such resources.
That is what we at law firms are: shared resources of our clients in areas where it just isn’t meaningful for everyone to develop their own expertise. And that is why it is so important for us to be close to our clients – to have a constant dialogue on what type of resources and services our clients will need going forward.
… and that is why it is so important for us to be thinking ahead for our clients.