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3 CRE Q&A with Cushman & Wakefield: Trends Shaping Law Firm’s Today

Cushman & Wakefield’s 2017 National Legal Sector Benchmark Survey included responses from more than 1,500 domestic law firms and associate respondents on many key topics. Those ranged from business, financial and operational drivers that touched on areas such as competition, virtual offices, recruiting and retention, growth plans, diversity, real estate (the No. 1 expense to law firms other than salaries), technology, future and ‘Out of the Box Trends.”

Connect Media asked Cushman & Wakefield Legal Sector Advisory Group’s Tom Usher, who is based in Portland, OR, and Sherry Cushman, who is based in Washington DC, to share some of the key report findings in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: How and why are law firms using technology and AI today?
Cushman – Smart law firms are partnering with technology companies to provide automation and artificial intelligence (AI). They do this to streamline processes and increase efficiencies, saving their clients time and money, while freeing attorneys up to focus on much higher level, value-add work. We are seeing how the use of technology is becoming the new disruptor in the legal industry. Technology is allowing attorneys to work more efficiently and effectively outside the office. Coupled with the expanding use of artificial intelligence in the legal sector, smart law firms are looking for ways to harness these new innovations to increase their profits while reducing operating expenses.

Q: In representing law firms in Portland, what are some of the key trends you are seeing?
Usher – We are seeing a continued shift to rightsizing and incorporating new workplace strategies that help firms make the most informed and appropriate fiscal decisions, while improving operations and client services. Often, these modern strategies and efficiencies incorporate new technologies by replacing old file storage rooms and/or reducing the size of or eliminating libraries altogether with more advanced electronic system options and cutting-edge digital or online legal research, or in implementing other technological solutions such as due diligence automation and more efficient matter management. 

Q: What is a new hot topic people should be aware of in the legal sector today?

A: Cushman – Succession planning is a new hot topic in the legal sector and one that anticipates significant scrutiny in coming years. With the younger generation’s views on long term commitments to partnerships, in-house counsel departures and overall shifts in the legal sector’s business model, developing a short- and long-term succession plan will be key to a firm’s future success in recruiting and retention.

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Inside The Story

Read Cushman & Wakefield’s 2017 National Legal Sector Benchmark SurveyConnect With Cushman & Wakefield’s UsherConnect With Cushman & Wakefield’s Cushman

About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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