4. Firms will tap new talent and enable new pathways to practice.

Our findings: All kinds of companies are coming to grips with how they will acquire the skills and abilities they need in a workforce of unprecedented demographic and cultural diversity. Many organizations are also faced with the challenge of rapidly developing capacities they never needed before. Law firms will need to figure out how to hire new kinds of minds and address ongoing value concerns from clients.

The opportunity: The firms that prosper from volatility in the talent pool will be those willing to experiment with new paths to success. They will be willing to redefine traditional constructs such as partner, associate and of-counsel, while jobs like project manager and client service manager will become increasingly prevalent. New positions such as programmer, business analyst, industry advisor, etc. could be filled either by lawyers or professionals with other backgrounds. These new positions will organically increase firms’ intellectual and demographic diversity. Firms that adopt more flexible work practices and pay structures will be best prepared to compete with other industries for the capable people needed to fill these new jobs.