COVID has accelerated technological adoption to a point that would have taken decades if it had evolved organically, says Bernstein. Normality can slow things down, but he expects the forward momentum to be maintained.
Currently, lawyers and law firms are looking to automate documents and take an inventory of their document management systems, he says. Many national and international companies use different products in different jurisdictions and are now working on a uniformity of the platforms. Larger organizations are increasingly looking for non-judicial tools that work in different languages, says Bernstein.
“There is now a belief that things should not just change, they must change, and that feeling comes not just from legal innovators but also from law firms realizing that services must be delivered in different ways under all circumstances. “he says.” And in many ways it needs to be better delivered to ensure the customer experience. “
Montreal-born Bernstein attended McGill Law and completed a joint MBA program. He jumped between law school and business school and got a window into both worlds. He merged the two and delved into alternative legal structures in the law. He selected the subject for a research project that he needed to complete for his degree.
It was late 2013 and early 2014, and his research introduced him to the business considerations affecting a legal practice – such as law firm structures, affiliate compensation, and branding. Alternative business structures are used in Australia, the UK and parts of the US, and Bernstein compared this experience to that of investment banks in the 1970s, 80s and 90s who also moved from partnership to a publicly traded model. From a business and legal perspective, Bernstein believes there is a strong case that they could be allowed in Canadian jurisdictions in the future.