Product Developments

by Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP
Contact

When I transitioned 12 years ago from business development in public accounting to the legal sector, I began advocating the development of legal products. I had witnessed, as long ago as 15 to 20 years, the development of tax consulting products, first at Price Waterhouse and then at Grant Thornton. There, I watched (and even helped) tax accountants develop a discrete solution for first one client, and then – via replication – for additional clients with similar fact patterns. For example, clever accountants would, perhaps through a series of IRS private letter rulings, find a way to restructure a multinational company so as to significantly reduce the global tax obligation. Arriving at the solution for the first client required an extraordinary investment of time, but even so the reward was high – often a material percentage of the overall tax reduction over the course of a few years. But that was only the beginning. True profit leverage was achieved when the accounting firms located additional clients with similar facts and circumstances and repeated the exercise at a fraction of the time of the original solution.

Being able to package and promote a service like this was a business developer’s dream. For openers, as a proprietary solution, it automatically was differentiated in the marketplace. We easily could describe the replicable process, define the tax savings that would be generated, accurately price the offering, and identify very specifically (through public information) the target audience.

When I arrived on the legal services scene, I assumed that we could start right away packaging legal services products related to new court verdicts, unique business structures, tax rulings and so forth. But lawyers have more difficulty than other professionals in coming to grips with the concept that each engagement, each matter, is not bespoke. Needless to say, this attitude totally chokes the legal services products.

But the tide may be changing. At a Lex Mundi Annual/Leadership Meeting in Amsterdam last week, I had the opportunity to speak with two presenters, both of whom – to my delight – covered the concept of legal products. Simon Thompson, former COO of Linkaters and currently president of Change Harbour Ltd. referred three times in his remarks to the potential for law firms to replicate, package and sell legal processes.

The next speaker was Richard Susskind, whose new book Tomorrow’s Lawyers takes the concept of the productization beyond replicable services delivered by human beings and into the realm of delivery over the internet.

“‘Packaging’ of legal services,” he writes in Tomorrow’s Lawyers says, “occurs when lawyers pre-package and make their experience available to clients on an online basis. It offers an entirely new way of tapping into lawyers’ expertise, under a form of licensing arrangement. For the client, this can mean dramatically lower costs of service, while for the law firm it offers the opportunity for them to make money while they sleep…. because the lawyers’ expertise is used without any direct consumption of time.”

It is said that law firms lag 15 to 20 years behind the accounting and consulting firms in business processes such as sales and marketing. If that is true, then the time may be right for the emergence of product development within law firms. At least the discussion has made it to the big time!

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP
Contact
more
less

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.