Emerging Trends of Entrepreneurship and Law

By | April 22, 2018
Entrepreneurship

Last Updated :

Emerging trend of entrepreneurship:

Entrepreneurship is a dynamic process of vision, change, and creation. It requires an application of energy and passion towards the creation and implementation of new ideas and creative solutions. Essential ingredients include the willingness to take calculated risks in terms of time, equity, or career; the ability to formulate an effective venture team; the creative skill to Marshall needed resources; and fundamental skill of building solid business plan; and finally, the vision to recognize opportunity where others see chaos, contradiction, and confusion.”

Entrepreneurship is more than the mere creation of business. Although that is certainly an important fact, it’s not the complete picture. The characteristics of seeking opportunities, taking risks beyond security, and having the tenacity to push an idea through to reality combine into a special perspective that permeates entrepreneurs. An “entrepreneurial perspective” can be developed in individuals. This perspective can be exhibited inside or outside an organization, in profit or not-for-profit enterprises, and in business or non-business activities for the purpose of bringing forth creative ideas. Thus, entrepreneurship is an integrated concept that permeates an individual’s business in an innovative manner. It is this perspective that has revolutionized the way business is conducted at every level and in every country.

Before 1991, Indian business success was a function of ambition, licenses, government contracts, and an understanding of the bureaucratic system. Decisions were based on connections, rather than the market or competition. Business goals reflected a continuation of the ‘Swadeshi’ movement, which promoted import substitution to attain economic freedom from the West. Pre-1991 policies were inward looking and geared towards the attainment of self-reliance. During this era, entrepreneurship was subdued, capital was limited and India had very few success stories. As well, society was risk-averse and the individual looked primarily for employment stability.

In 1991, the Indian government liberalized the economy, thus changing the competitive landscape.

Family businesses, which dominated Indian markets, now faced competition from multinationals that had superior technology, financial strength and deeper managerial resources. Thus, Indian businesses had to change their focus and re-orient their outlook outward. A few existing Indian business families adapted to the new economic policy while others struggled. Importantly, a new breed of business was born, one that focused on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and created wealth for owners and employees.

For the old business houses, success had come from the close-knit joint family structure that fosters family values, teamwork, tenacity and continuity. Under this structure, generations lived and worked together under one roof, reaffirming the Weberian values and trust that have built successful businesses. Wealth from the businesses supported the joint family by providing a social safety net for members. In the structure, businesses and families were intertwined though they were also distinct entities with separate rules. Hence, survival of the family became synonymous with the survival of the business.

Liberalization, however, changed the very nature of the joint family. If large Indian businesses were to succeed, the family would have to re-orient itself to compete in a global, competitive environment.

Post liberalization, IT businesses succeeded because they were customer focused and professionally managed.

The old, family-managed businesses, which formed the backbone of the economy, needed to evolve and become more institutional if they were to extend their life cycle. Below, using the Indian mythology trinity of creation, preservation, and destruction, I explain the changes that family businesses would have to make below.

After liberalization, business opportunities in India were manifold. A good number of entrepreneurs seized them and grew from small-scale contractors to large real estate developers, and from distributors to manufacturers. Success became the result of efficient capital allocation, strong execution, and a customer orientation.

Today, businesses have access to venture and growth capital, provided that their stories and business models are reasonable. In the pre-1991 License Raj era, abilities such as manufacture and deliver products to the market were the Key Success Factors, without regard for the customer and other efficiencies. Liberalization also brought in the age of Sarasvati [Goddess of Learning in Indian mythology]; businesses would now grow because they had knowledge not because of whom they knew.

One example is N.R. Narayana Murthy, who co-founded Infosys Ltd. in 1981, with an initial capital of INR 10,000 (CDN$ 250.00). At Infosys, he and his team designed the Global Delivery Model, which also laid the foundation for the knowledge industry. Narayan Murthy’s vision gave a fillip to the IT services industry, creating and encouraging the entry of several new IT businesses.

Emerging trends in law

As legal professionals position themselves to survive the peaks and troughs of an ailing economy, a number of distinct trends have emerged in the legal industry. Most of these trends help law firms and organizations become more efficient, productive and competitive in a global market.  Other trends result from changing demographics, attitudes and work styles.

Below are ten trends that are transforming the legal industry and law practice.

Social Networking

Social networking has the potential to transform the business and practice of law in the coming years. Legal professionals have a growing number of social media tools at their disposal to accomplish a variety of legal tasks and career objectives. Social networking is changing how legal professionals recruit, job hunt, network, locate and discredit witnesses, manage their careers and interact with clients.  Social media tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are also key marketing tools, helping lawyers and legal professionals reach a broad audience and accomplish branding, advertising and client development goals.

Legal Process Outsourcing

In recent years, the legal industry has experienced a global paradigm shift in the delivery model for legal services. This new model, known as legal process outsourcing (LPO), transfers the work of attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals to external vendors located domestically and overseas. Legal outsourcing, both onshore and offshore, is transforming law practice as law firms and corporate legal departments seek to minimize costs, increase flexibility and expand their in-house capabilities.  

Work-Life Balance

An ailing economy, billable hour quotas and a competitive global market for legal services have driven many law firms into overdrive.  The pressure to do more with less has forced a growing number of employees to sacrifice their personal life in order to work harder and longer.  As recession-related layoffs pile greater workloads upon legal professionals, workers are demanding a better work-life balance. New workplace policies such as flex-time, telecommuting, part-time work, phased retirement, temporary leave, compressed schedules and other alternative work arrangements are transforming the law firm environment from sweatshop to one of flexibility.

 Globalization

Domestic law firms are expanding across borders, collaborating with foreign counsel and forming intercontinental mergers, erasing traditional boundaries on the geographic scope of law practice. Although globalization is not new, it is gaining momentum due to the growth of the Internet, the automation of legal processes, developments in data security and emerging technology tools.  As law firms continue to expand their footprint worldwide, globalization will continue to reshape the landscape of the legal industry in the coming years.

Eco-Consciousness

As going green becomes a global priority, green law initiatives are impacting the business and practice of law.  In response to global warming, economic pressure and eco-conscious clients, law firms and legal professionals across the globe are establishing green initiatives that cut expenses, reduce their carbon footprint and promote social responsibility.  Environmental law or “green law” is a growing practice area and many firms are establishing niche sub-practices in fair trade, organics, renewable energy, green building and climate change.

Virtual Law Firms

Powerful mobile devices, software-as-a-service, and secure, web-based technology allow legal professionals to work from virtually anywhere.  As a result, more legal professionals are working remotely from home or a virtual law office.  Virtual law offices provide an alternative method of practicing law that permits flexible work hours and fosters a better work/life balance for legal professionals. Virtual work is not just for lawyers – a growing number of legal professionals are working remotely.  Working virtually allows legal professionals to serve their employers and clients while maintaining a better work/life balance and modifying their schedule to fit personal and family needs.

Alternative Legal Service Delivery Models

Lawyers no longer have a monopoly on the law.  The legal marketplace is changing and clients can seek legal assistance from a growing number of non-lawyer professionals including paralegal technicians, legal document preparers, legal self-help sites, virtual assistants and offshore legal vendors. These new options enable bringing affordable legal services to disadvantaged populations and empower citizens to address their own legal matters.  As the cost of legal services continues to rise, new legal delivery models will continue to emerge and gain momentum in the coming years.  

 Alternative Billing Models

Pressure to rein in legal costs has forced law firms to diverge from the traditional billable-hours model –  a century-old staple of the legal industry that has been criticized for rewarding inefficiency –  in favor of new alternative billing models such as fixed, flat, blended or capped fees. In fact, a new law department metrics survey reports that 72.8 percent of fees paid to outside counsel in 2009 were based on billing arrangements other than standard hourly rates or the billable hour.  In order to foster long-term relationships and maximize value, more law firms are embracing alternative billing as a way to meet the needs of cost-conscious clients.

Conclusion

Large and midsized law firms percolating down to the smaller center to cater to the demands of litigants there. This has paved the way for –

  • better-trained lawyers, with vast improvements in Indian legal education and the arrival of more national and international law schools
  • a more litigious society, as rising literacy levels result in greater awareness of individual rights and a corresponding growth in lawsuits;
  • “first-generation lawyers” on the rise, eventually bringing to an end the tradition of law as a family-run profession;
  • increasing use of ADR techniques such as arbitration and mediation, as they receive unprecedented levels of recognition and acceptance in the corporate world; and
  • the ongoing march of liberalization, with the eventual entry of foreign law firms creating more and better lawyer job opportunities and an increase in the quality of litigation.

By – Ayush Jain

Presidency University Bangalore 


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