The Rise of Value-Based Legal Practices
Author: Haley Altman, CEO, Doxly
In this world of emerging technology, professionals are constantly greeted with new resources to help simplify their business for quicker, sustainable growth. Tools like HubSpot and Salesforce help companies manage their sales and marketing so they can hone in on what efforts are closing deals. Other cloud-based tools like Freshdesk and Intercom have simplified support and communication for businesses, so they can focus on delivering the best possible experience for their customers.
In the legal world, we look to these new technologies to enhance our practices’ value-based services. When working at a leading law firm practicing transactional law, I began to search for tools that I found imperative in order to do my job. I saw the necessity of a resource that provides a comprehensive view of where everything stands in the transaction process. Coupled with workflow management, the need for a technology tool that reports valuable data from deals – trends, key terms, unique provisions – was something I found crucial to uplevel the work I was doing.
There is, however, reservation to introducing new technology in the legal profession for fear of being replaced by machines, a lack of security in the cloud, or by reducing billable hours within a practice. While there’s always reservation for introducing technology, we need to identify that these key technologies are not replacing efforts, but actually enhancing them.
An American Bar Association article titled, “How Technology Is Changing the Practice of Law”, author and attorney Blair Janis, JD, breaks down the reservation of new technologies in the legal world, stating, “Lawyers in general are risk averse. We need to be. One of the primary benefits of using a lawyer for legal services is to obtain some level of guarantee that the advice or outcome of our services will actually accomplish the purpose for which the services were provided.”
Unsurprisingly, this “burden of responsibility”, as Janis calls it, establishes a level of hesitation when it comes to new technologies and efficiencies in legal practices. Legal practices, however, are not only being measured by their clients on the notion of execution, but more so on the layer of value provided.
Janis, like many legal professionals, knows that the legal practices that will continue to thrive are ones that adapt their workflows to include new technologies, while also “promoting and delivering the part of the legal service value proposition that the machines are not able to provide.” No, legal thought-leaders aren’t saying that The Matrix will be taking over your practice. They’re confirming that there are legal technologies that can enhance your current book of business – while also leaving plenty of room for new business.
This idea of balanced workflow and value has us attorneys asking, “OK, so how do you do it?” In order to focus more on the value your practice is providing while also boosting revenue, there needs to be trusted, secure solutions in place that monitor and measure tasks more efficiently. These solutions empower us legal professionals to focus our services less on admin and overhead and more on what our clients are wanting: added business value.
As I immersed myself more and more in my book of business, I began to discover the necessity of a resource that could easily allow me to better structure my deal-by-deal workflow and better prioritize the work I was doing. Closing books, for example, should not be a burden. These time-consuming and costly deal records should be completed with a click of a button, so attorneys can focus on any post-closing items relating to their current deals, while more fully immersing themselves in negotiations for the next transaction.
These are the values that technologies provide to the legal industry — providing next-level intel and management of cases so attorneys can close deals faster and focus on what retains clients.
The pivot towards value-based legal practices is not a recent revelation. It’s becoming more of a an absolute reality as clients are demanding more and new resources are made available. Stuart Dodds, Director of Global Pricing and Legal Project Management at Baker & McKenzie LLP, addresses the significance of value-based practices in Legal Executive Institute, quoting:
“Value is always defined by the client and it’s defined at two levels — at the relationship and at the matter-specific level. It includes a very broad checklist and each client checks different boxes.”
As the legal industry evolves, a massive part of building a scalable, ever-growing practice is working with each and every client to determine what their qualitative and quantitative needs are. Leveraging resources that help shift attorneys’ efforts towards value — what will build and sustain their book of revenue — is the natural and essential progression successful firms are working towards today.
As legal leaders, we hold providing value to our clients at the highest priority — it’s time the tools we use do the same. This is why I have made the move from working at a top legal firm in Indianapolis to being an entrepreneur in revolutionizing how attorneys and their clients are successful.
Doxly was born out of the simple vision to transform the archaic, chaotic process of managing legal transactions into a streamlined, efficient process. My goal for my company is to deliver a product that eliminates frustrations inherent in legal transactions so attorneys can close deals faster and make their clients happier. Let’s get started.
Follow our journey at Doxly.com or @DoxlyApp on Twitter.