I worked as a solicitor in BigLaw firms for my first three years post-qualification, until 1988 when I went in-house. I didn't work in BigLaw again until 2011. To my surprise it all seemed so very familiar. Despite the great advances in technology (lawyers had laptops and smartphones) very little had changed. Why this lack of innovation? Well, this article by Robbie Friedman explains the reasons very insightfully.
If you were to ask an attorney to identify areas in which his/her firm shows innovation, the likely answer is, “We offer alternative fee arrangements on some projects.” Sorry, Example Attorney, AFAs are not innovative and the billable hour is not the problem. Pricing alternatives (such as flat fees) may be profitable. Or comforting. But they are not innovative. Referring to AFAs as an example of the legal industry’s innovation is akin to a movie theater that offers a “new, exciting experience” by accepting credit cards. 3-D is innovative. IMAX is innovative. Bring pizza and beer to my seat during the movie is innovative. The fact that I can pay by cash or credit is simply a convenience.