Is Bay Street the source of all innovation?

If legal start-ups are all staffed with former big-firm lawyers, are they really that groundbreaking?
Peter Lukasiewicz of Gowlings
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Whether it’s Cognition LLP or Conduit Law, start-ups have ensnared the attention of the legal world. And it’s easy to see why: by slashing overhead and hiring lawyers on a contract basis, they offer legal services at a lower rate.

LightbuldSo will they, at some point, replace the big firms of today? Probably not, says Peter Lukasiewicz, managing partner at Gowlings. As innovative as those firms are, he explains, they still rely on big firms. “The Cognitions and Conduits of the world are populated by lawyers who, by and large, have come from big firms,” he says. “I don’t think those firms would exist if not for the larger firms, where these lawyers have learned their craft. If those learning environments didn’t exist, I question how successful these other service models would be.”

Lukasiewicz had plenty more to say about innovative legal solutions in our roundtable on how to make law better.

Photography by Margaret MulliganIcon by Isabel Foo