A successful lawyer knows that the legal profession may play by its own set of rules and regulations, but it is not sitting in an isolated bubble.
From time to time it is good to take a multidisciplinary approach to reevaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a law practice by thinking more like a business owner than a trained lawyer. Before you start to unbundle your law practice, ask yourself the following six questions. Answers will differ for every law firm depending on the stage it is at now and its willingness to think outside of the box about how the firm delivers legal services, how it defines the practice of law, and how it operates its business to be competitive and to maximize profitability.
- What is the true value of the legal services that the firm provides to clients? In the services offered, the value to the customer is _______________.
- What current compromises does the firm make between the quality of legal services delivered and the firm’s ability to provide good customer service and affordable legal fees? Are there situations where the firm could increase customer service and improve communication and affordability without having to compromise on the quality of the legal services delivered?
- What processes does the firm conduct with the client that could be unbundled? Consider more than just the standard handling of legal cases for clients and think about a holistic approach to the business, such as evaluating other client support or services the firm could provide that would make the client’s experience more positive.
- In any of these processes of interacting with the client, are there ways that the operations involving information and tangible data might be streamlined either through the use of technology or recreating new systems of organization and delivery?
- To facilitate this, are there any new roles that will need to be created within the law firm? How might the firm fill that position and gain the necessary skills, or how could part of the process be outsourced?
- Would any of these new areas of focus in the business become liabilities instead of assets, and how would the firm prepare for that possibility and balance the risk?
Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online
This post was adapted from the Law Practice Division’s publication Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online, Second Edition. In this book, Stephanie Kimbro shares how web-based technology may be used by legal professionals to work with online clients and avoid malpractice risks.