Towards the Uberisation of Legal Practice
Uber and Airbnb signify new ways of working and doing business by facilitating direct access to providers through new digitalised platforms. The gig economy is also beginning to percolate into legal practice through what is colloquially known as NewLaw. Eschewing plush offices, permanent staff and the rigidity of time billing, NewLaw offers cheaper services to clients in order to compete more effectively with traditional law firms. For individual lawyers, autonomy, flexibility, a balanced life, wellbeing and even happiness are claimed to be the benefits. The downside appears to be that NewLaw favours senior and experienced lawyers while disproportionately impacting on recent graduates. This article draws on interviews with lawyers in Australian and English NewLaw firms in order to evaluate the pros and cons of NewLaw.