It’s not online yet, but be sure to look out for this month’s Law Practice Management Magazine which has a cover story on productizing legal services by Sally Schmidt. In it, she looks at three firms who’ve gone to some lengths to deliver packaged services (often for a flat fee) that clients are finding very valuable:
- Godfrey & Kahn. Started an “emerging 100” program where young start-ups can “select from a range of fixed-fee services” and which offers “qualified clients the option of deferring the fees for warrants in the company.” The goal? “To help position the entrepreneurs for growth.”
- Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone. Created a Rebate Calculation Service, which “helps clients determine when IRS rebate reports are due, calculate rebate amounts, prepare the reports and handle the record-keeping.” This started as a flat-fee arrangement but has evolved; interestingly, the firm has developed a “proprietary computer program specifically designed to run the calculations.” (Side note: why can’t I find anything out about this service at the firm’s website?!)
- Lindquist & Vennum. The Employment and Labor Group Chair Nancy Vollertsen created the “L&V Employment Assessment” which is a flat-fee program to help employers “spot potential legal issues with their employment policies and practices.” Nice mention: the firm originally priced this service as a loss-leader, but the perception in the market was that it was low value. The firm raised the price and picked up more clients.
Schmidt includes several rules for a successful service launch, including the necessity of doing market research and devising an appropriate market mix. Schmidt did her homework here, and it’s refreshing to see a well-documented article focus on the potential upside in pursuing alternative business models.
Another nice tidbit: I’m on a conference call in twenty minutes with a huge east coast law firm (they’re a customer). They have five open spots for “account managers” whose sole purpose is to assist the attorneys in managing active opportunities in the sales pipeline.
Oh, the horror! Law firms sell services? What will they think of next?