6. Firms will launch R&D departments to create new offerings.

Our findings: The variety of demands on law firms will lead to a new diversity in the way legal solutions are conceived, packaged, sold and applied. Some of these novel legal products will immediately find vast markets; others could take years to catch on or turn out to be false leads.

The opportunity: To keep up with the pace of change in the field, firms will create R&D departments that use product development methodologies to explore new ways of practicing law. These departments will be tasked with imagining offerings that respond not just to changes in technology, but to shifts in industry needs and client preferences. They will also initiate “Skunk Works” projects in which a small group within the firm is given greater autonomy in the name of rapid innovation.