Yesterday I caught up with a long term client and friend, Chris Moody (brandaudits.com.au) who is a leading branding advisor and designer, with a particular focus on design led thinking. We spoke about the challenges facing the legal industry. It’s always useful to talk to someone outside the legal industry about how they perceive the industry and law firms in particular. While not rocket science, we spoke about the changes in clients’ buying of legal services, the move away in some areas from large law firms, the need for flexibility across all areas of legal service and more particularly, the need to put clients first and to think outside the box.
Why do most legal service providers just provide legal services? Legal services are an enabler not the main game for clients, but too often those services are provided in a vacuum without regard to commercial realities or the other services that might be relevant. We have already seen traditional and perhaps obvious bolt on services such as accounting and finance, but why not design, coding, project management, HR and other less obvious services? Why not a coding company that provides legal services?
These are some of the issues I hope to explore in this blog and I welcome your comments and thoughts. My two cents is we are at a turning point in the provision of legal services and the traditional big firm model while still appropriate and indeed necessary in some areas, will face continued pressure and will need to innovate to face the coming (and current challenges). Nothing new there I know, but my cards on the table.
More nimble providers have significant opportunity in front of them, but it’s more complicated than just replicating a big law structure on a smaller scale – there needs to be some unique selling proposition to succeed. Part of that equation is listening to what clients want and providing that, rather than a one size fits all “here is what we think you need” approach. Actions speak louder than words.
So, watch this space. We are already seeing and will continue to see the rise of very different law firms that may not even look like law firms. Take a look at http://lawcadia.com for starters. Watch this space!