[Modernize Legal] Practice Modernization Field Study: FAQs for Law Firms

This page provides additional information for firm leaders who wish to participate in the Practice Modernization Field Study.

1. What is the Practice Modernization Field Study (PMFS)?

Purpose. The study aims to capture a comprehensive view of practice modernization across major law firms through four focused surveys for associates, practice technologists, law firm leaders, as well as technology vendors serving the legal vertical. It seeks to understand the impact of technological advancements, strategic planning, and innovation on the legal industry, with the purpose of identifying actionable insights for each of these stakeholder groups.
Scope. The crux of our study is that it is multi-dimensional: we're providing channels for three groups within your firm (associates, practice technologists as well as law firm leaders) to give feedback in parallel, as well as technology vendors serving the legal vertical. Each group has received a dedicated survey designed to explore different aspects of practice modernization distinctly relevant to their experiences and roles.
Participation access. While associate, practice technologist, and vendor studies are open-access surveys, the law firm leader study is invite-only for 240 law firms based in the US and UK.
For associates, we will accept responses from those who self-identify as lawyers in private practice without equity share in their firm.
For practice technologists, we will accept responses from all professionals who self-identify as working in a law firm at the intersection of law and technology.
For both groups, however, we are prioritizing outreach to those working in the 240 firms selected for inclusion in the law firm leader study.
Validation and analysis. While we are taking an inclusive approach during data collection, we will only include in our analysis responses from associates and practice technologists who disclose a business email that we can validate by matching to a law firm in private practice and active operation. Participant responses will be segmented appropriately for meaningful analysis by industry experts who are trusted to do this work for industry trade media and major law firms.

2. Who is conducting the PMFS study?

The study is conducted by industry experts and veterans , , and , The motivation behind the study is to generate expert insights backed by research rigor that can support more informed decision-making in an era of rapid technological change.
This study is self-funded with no vendor sponsors or media partners, although we expect to earn media coverage. More background on the study can be found here at .

3. Which firms are included in the PMFS study?

Based on expert evaluation of practice and sector-based league tables and financial rankings, 240 firms based in the US and UK were selected for inclusion in the Law Firm Leaders Survey. These firms include US and UK headquartered Global 200 law firms, as well as preeminent boutiques and specialty firms that typically do not appear in financial rankings. Leaders of selected law firms are invited to participate by email.

4. How does participating in the study benefit our firm?

Participating in the "Modernize Legal" study offers tangible benefits for your firm, designed to provide strategic insights and foster high-level discussion among industry leaders.
Receive an advance look at the study's findings. In advance of published reporting, participating leaders will receive exclusive access to deeper study findings and strategic benchmarking on key issues like AI expectations and impacts, associate satisfaction, and tech adoption maturity. These insights can inform your firm’s strategic planning, talent value proposition, technology adoption roadmap, and operational improvements.
Enhance your firm's client- and talent-facing brand. Firms distinguishing themselves as industry leaders in associate training, technology adoption, and practice innovation will be recognized in highly visible thought leadership.
These include the Power Rankings and market commentary feature for ALM’s annual Am Law 100 issue and webinar in April.
Study findings will also inform a forthcoming special report on law firm AI readiness that will be released in the summer.
Participation-gated access to peer insights. Leaders of firms achieving full participation (see Q6 for invitation criteria) across all three dimensions of the study relevant to private practice – leaders, associates, and practice technologists – will be invited to a closed-door executive roundtable in June. This event will allow for in-depth discussion with peers under the .

5. Who should participate in the study from our firm?

We provide here a short summary of guidance on participation.
For the law firm leaders survey, we request a single submission per firm, reflecting the institutional viewpoint and represented by the firmwide Chair, Managing Partner, or Chief Operating Officer.
Many firms are led by multiple partners sharing firmwide responsibilities holding varying titles. Other firms have empowered the senior-most business professional to direct and oversee the topics covered in our study. We have distributed invitations to individuals we believe are in the appropriate roles as described above, based on best available information.
We have included in cc the individual we identify as the firm’s marketing leader for awareness.
We are conducting our associate and practice technologist studies independently without requiring coordination by the firm. However, we ask that you consider some communication to encourage participation, particularly if you are interested in deriving more useful and actionable insight. Leaders of fully participating firms will receive complimentary invitation to an executive roundtable in May (see Q6 for invitation criteria).
: We ask law firm leaders to consider a brief communication to all associates encouraging participation. We will handle segmentation and cohort analysis by both law firm and by associate attributes.
: We ask law firm leaders to consider some coordination with the senior business professionals and partner sponsors leading the firm’s initiatives across innovation, knowledge management, and practice technology. The individuals we are seeking to survey are in varied titles but will typically be found working in these areas; for clarity, we are seeking many submissions from each firm for aggregation and analysis.

6. How are you defining “full participation”?

Invitations to our Executive Roundtable in May will be extended to firms that meet all three of the following participation criteria:
Submission of the survey response by the firmwide Chair, Managing Partner, or COO by March 25, 2024;
Submission of the survey response by at least one individual in Director, Chief, or partner sponsor roles by March 25, 2024; and
Achievement of 10% participation rate in the survey by March 18, 2024. This will be calculated by taking the number of validated responses and dividing by the headcount figures reported to ALM in the 2024 data collection cycle.

7. What will be required from participants, and how much time will it take?

Each survey is crafted to take less than 10 minutes, ensuring that participants can efficiently share their insights. Law firm leaders may wish to reflect a bit longer on their responses, given the strategic nature of the questions.

8. How will the study's findings be shared with participants?

A high-level report will be published in July for open access by all. Participants contributing to each survey will receive an advance preview and some exclusive views beyond public access. This approach ensures participants are rewarded with deeper insights ahead of the broader market.
Law firm leaders who submit a response will receive highlights in June, regardless of firm participation in associate or practice technologist studies.

9. How will the data collected be used?

Data from the study will be analyzed and findings reported and published in aggregate. For clarity, we are requesting every respondent disclose their business email for validation and matching, with a promise to honor strict confidentiality of individual responses.
We expect to segment responses along a number of dimensions to provide meaningful benchmarks and strategic guidance for the legal industry. Study findings insights will be published and shared in a number of channels, including self-published special reports, industry commentary in trade media, and closed-door briefings for leaders of major law firms and corporate law departments.
We will also offer a limited run of paid briefings for select law firms featuring in-depth, customized analysis.

10. Will our firm's responses be confidential?

Yes. All responses will be kept confidential and used solely in aggregate form for analysis. Individual data will not be disclosed.

11. When will the study results be available?

The public report detailing the study's findings will be available in July, with an early look and exclusive insights provided to participating law firm leaders in June.

12. Are there opportunities for discussion or feedback on the study findings?

Participating law firm leaders will be invited to an executive roundtable discussion in late May, offering a forum for in-depth dialogue on the findings and strategic implications for the industry.

13. Who can I contact if I have questions or need assistance during the survey process?

For any questions or assistance, please send them
. Our dedicated team is available to support participants throughout the survey process.

14. What are the key dates associated with the study?

To facilitate your planning and participation, key dates are listed below.
February 15, 2024: survey open
March 4, 2024: and surveys open
March 11, 2024: Vendor survey open
March 18, 2024: Associate survey close
March 25, 2024: Law firm leader and practice technologist surveys close
April 1, 2024: Vendor survey close
Late May: Executive Roundtable Discussion open to leaders of eligible firms
June: Participating law firm leaders will receive a preview of the study findings, ahead of the public release
July: Public report of the study's findings will be published in July, accessible to the broader legal industry.
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