Here's a quick guide to five of the biggest issues for commercial law firms today.
Several City firms have just opened offices in currently booming Australia. Many would love to have outposts in Delhi or Mumbai, but they're currently prohibited from doing so by the Indian government.
The Legal Services Act 2007, the provisions of which are in the process of coming into force, allows entities other than law firms to provide legal services in the UK for the first time. The Act will also mean that law firms will be able to seek investment from stock markets.
Law firms are outsourcing more and more work to cheaper labour markets such as India or the Philippines, including IT support functions, word-processing services, and sometimes even routine legal tasks.
Post-qualification experience (PQE)
Numbers of years of PQE is the traditional measure of a lawyer's expertise and the basis on which they are paid. But with the advent of anti-age discrimination legislation, many law firms are switching to more merit-based systems.
As they're paying the fees, City law firms are demanding that the courses their future trainees study are more and more tailored towards their needs. Law schools are responding with firm-specific training materials and tutorial groups, and accelerated course timetables.