Separate the lawyer from the process to focus attention on the complex and strategic advice your clients really need you for. Build out a suite of digital tools that enable your clients to access less complex, process-driven requests on demand and unlock new fixed-margin revenue streams in the process.
Productised Legal Services is the process of translating legal knowledge, practical experience and commercial judgment into a digital format or “application” that your clients can access from anywhere in the world, on demand.
Why Should Law Firms Productise Legal Services?
The days of legal practice operating in a ‘black box’ are long gone. Clients expect transparency and real-time insight across their legal service provider’s value chain – in terms of both the scope and substance of inputs, outputs, deliverables, cost, price and implied margins. In many ways, the veil has been lifted and collaboration between supplier and client is the ‘new normal’.
Clients recognise the value of a lawyer’s technical skill and experience and are willing to pay for the application of this to help guide commercial decisions, manage risk, enforce rights and pursue opportunities – provided they feel confident that the sticker price reflects the most efficient and effective application of resources to provide the ‘product’ delivered.
Clients don’t want to pay top dollar for the time of an experienced lawyer generating a standard form employment agreement, or advising on what is and what isn’t permissible under a statutory scheme where they have answered the same questions in the same manner multiple times before. They want to ensure that those aspects of that process that can be standardised, streamlined and automated have been, and that any human intervention and thought process involved is essential to ensuring the quality and value of the service.
The structure, operating models and operational profile of legal teams are undergoing a well overdue evolution, in part enabled by and in part enabling the availability of affordable technology. In parallel, demand is becoming increasingly elastic, as corporations look to diversify the allocation of legal spend across a rapidly evolving supplier landscape – leading to a structural, rather than cyclical, shift in the value equation. Law firms now compete on a global stage, with traditional law firm competitors, new law firm market entrants and an increasingly broad range of companies that provide legal services but aren’t even law firms (as we know them) at all!
How do law firms continue to add value to their existing clients? And how do they compete for a share in an increasingly fragmented market?
- Workflow cannibalization – Sacrificing the traditional cash cow areas of work in areas of increasingly high supply and static or declining demand, where knowledge has become commoditised and the value of a lawyer’s brain is already ‘priced in’ to a generally accepted market price.
- Workflow creation – Using new processes and new ways of working to re-tool existing service lines or develop new ones to create new revenue streams, ideally recurring.
- Mindset change – Adoption of a sales and marketing business strategy for growth and survivalDisciplines like legal operations (or ‘Legal Ops’) have emerged and are seeing legal departments run like a business and focus on optimising the delivery of legal services to their business clients – with legal automation being a key pillar to achieving this.
These three areas for thought, can be tackled from a wide variety of methods, though you will be hard pressed to take technology out of the equation.
Areas for Productisation of Legal Services
Productised legal services can take on any number of unique use cases, and it will all come down to the area of law you are competing in. Though there are some constants that we see as being good foundations for success:
- Regulatory frameworks. The word framework should give the game away, though for the uninitiated, regulatory frameworks are the gift that keeps giving to law firms. Not only are they often complex to initially understand, but they keep changing, evolving and reproducing. Law firms are experts at decoding the message and relating it to their clients and the implications it can have on their daily business operations. The good news is that more often than not, the advice is prescriptive – do A to avoid B. Sound like a good opportunity for automation?
- Document Generation. Not a new concept in the world of law firms. However, taking a business development lens, the opportunity is clear: remove yourself from the actual process of compiling these documents for your clients and give them the power to do this themselves, charge them less, and focus your skills on maintenance and upkeep.
- Asset Registers. Who wants to receive a weekly email containing an updated excel document? Clients will eventually begrudge you for charging them for “data entry”. Allow the client to build the register themselves and have them pay you to manage it.
- Proactive Due Diligence. Compliance has become the single largest liability for many corporations. It is no longer okay to bury your head in the sand until the government tells you to “prove it”. The regulator wants to see you being proactive about maintaining and adhering to compliance frameworks, be that either industry or organisational risk. Providing your clients with the tools to forge ahead without fear or repercussions can prove to be very valuable.
Benefits of Productised Legal Services
There are many reasons for building out your Productised Legal Services strategy. Here are a few:
- Client stickiness – the more value you add to a client, the less likely they are to shop around and leave you. It is much more profitable to retain a client than to acquire a new one.
- Business Development – Stand out from your competitors by demonstrating tangible innovation and win new business, and even push into brand new markets and service lines.
- Revenue generating – Productised Legal Services by their very nature lend themselves to new and innovative revenue models, enabling larger margins and competitive pricing on fixed price offerings, or scaling revenue beyond the billable hour through recurring subscriptions on managed legal products.
Checkbox as a Legal Services Productisation Platform
Checkbox by its very design is a no code app development platform, making it the perfect solution to launch your productised legal service creations. What this means in reality is that law firms are able to achieve this without building software development capability in-house, which has traditionally been one of the reasons why law firms typically fail at developing software.
Building out Apps on Checkbox is as easy as drag and drop. The customer experience is modern, Apps are accessible on any device, white labeled with your branding, and can be deployed in a matter of days, not months.
And as your productised legal services offering grows, Checkbox becomes your central platform of visibility and control over all of your Apps launched into the market and most importantly a single point of entry for your client.