The future of the legal industry isn't what it used to be.

For years, the headlines have been pessimistic: fewer jobs for law school graduates, downsizing at firms, and a declining reputation with the public. But we foresee a future where the legal sector not only prospers, but leads the most exciting changes in our society.

We are lawyers and executives in the legal industry who spent a full year mapping the most significant trends in technology, economics and cultural change to how law firms actually work. We consulted big thinkers at leading companies and universities, authors and reporters, and designers from around the world who are already sketching the future. 

Our conclusion?  Law is facing disruptions like those that reconfigured media, telecommunications, health care and other fields. As in those industries, the changes will introduce unexpected challenges and unprecedented opportunities, and will undoubtedly produce new winners and losers. Firms on the right path will have to face the hard truth that their actions today won’t be understood for years. Yet their reward will be an opportunity to reshape the legal industry.

This is our guide to how today’s firms can prosper from the coming disruption. Think of them as seven rules sent back from the future.