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Investment in technology and talent are key to client service excellence and the future of the legal profession, Deloitte report

The legal industry will be transformed by new talent models characterized by competition for experienced lawyers

Toronto, June 5, 2017 – In-house departments must invest heavily in technology and talent to keep pace with the objectives of the broader business, according to Deloitte’s legal services survey, Canadian legal landscape 2017: Issues and trends facing Canadian in-house counsel and law firms.

Deloitte’s survey of Chief Legal Officers (CLOs) and representatives from law firms across Canada found that only 15 per cent of in-house counsel surveyed view technological improvements as a top priority.

"Technology is a powerful enabler to achieving best in class status, but we found that it is a largely under-exploited area by both in-house legal departments and law firms," said Shelby Austin, National Strategic Analytics & Modelling Leader at Deloitte. "There is a significant opportunity for both in-house legal departments and law firms to leverage technology and accelerate from being responsive supporting functions to truly strategic and insight driven organizations."

Non-partner track and the new organizational structure
More than 90 per cent of CLOs surveyed are satisfied or very satisfied with their external legal service providers. CLOs appear focused on determining the optimal organizational structure for in-house departments to meet the needs of the broader organization, and law firms have begun to restructure to accommodate client needs.

Deloitte’s report found that in the last five years, the number of equity partners at law firms has declined, while the number of non-equity partners has grown by nearly 50 per cent. The majority of firms surveyed currently have or are contemplating developing career paths for non-partner track associates.

"The emergence of non-equity partners and career associates will expand the middle ranks of law firms and shift the traditional pyramid operating model to a model made up of more senior associates with greater technical expertise," said Karen Werger, Managing Partner for Deloitte’s Toronto Financial Advisory practice and Legal Services Sector Leader at Deloitte. "These experienced associates will also be desirable candidates to CLOs as they expand the scope of work completed in-house."

Deloitte’s report Canadian legal landscape 2017: Issues and trends facing Canadian in-house counsel and law firms and survey results are available here.

About the survey
Deloitte conducted a survey of approximately 100 General Counsel and representatives of law firms across Canada between July to December 2016.

About Deloitte
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private companies limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

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