This is a live post from the Reinvent Law Silicon Valley conference in Mountain View, CA. Please forgive any typos or errors in conveying what speakers say. Now up is Raj Abhyaker, CEO of LegalForce, on “Making Fat Law Firms Flat through Operational Redesign for the age of the Internet”.
[RF note: LegalForce hosted a reception last night at their retail store in the heart of downtown Palo Alto. It’s a very cool space.]
Background: Raj was a an IP lawyer. When he raised ideas to be more efficient, lawyers with whom he worked were not interested. So he started as a solo in 2005 and, at same time, created a start-up company. In 2008, started a company to collect government trademark data and make it accessible on the web, which Google was not indexing. Trademark site gets a lot of web hits; one of biggest on web. His firm has become the world’s largest trademark filing law firm. Now has 24k clients, adding 500 clients per month. To make law even more accessible, started a retail outlet. Most interesting to Raj is that AmLaw 10o firms are asking him about his technology and methods.
Nine ways to redesgin large law firms into a modern force:
1. Globalize Operations, without sacrificing quality. Move repetitive, detail oriented, recurring tasks to global workforce in lower cost locations. “Redesign the supply chain.”
2. Rethink Associate Compensation. Move from tenure to contribution-based compensation. Reward responsiveness within minutes or hours (implicitly: not at end of year at review time!). ID and reward fiscal and business talent, even in new associates. Firms should develop clien. Legal ‘t service metrics and then evaluate associates based on how well they service clients.
3. Hire JD/MBAs for Management Functions: Partners should elect a president with real power to act; he or she should be JD/MBA, no billing responsibility, and ability to bind direction of firm on own w/o partnership vote.
4. Broadcast Goodwill via the Web: Spread any public event over the web. Use more video. Broadcast educational video widely. Hire a full-time video producer. Let the community use conference space for beneficial events.
5. Invest in Retail Access to Law, Not Lobbies: Create destination retail experiences that enable firm to operate on Main Street Be accesbile retail hours, including nights and weekends. Change the paradigm of what the firm is and how clients access it. Open kiosks at your clients. Large firms have big opportunity here.
6. Make Lawyer Calendar Visible to Clients: Web based access to lawyers; web-based appointment making
7. Legal Dream Teams May Span Firms: Let corporate clients build their own ‘dream team’ across firms
8. Preventive Care at Subscription Rates:
9. Predictive Intelligence. Get smarter about the future and decision making