Category Archives: Law Firm Marketing

Practice

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 39

Good Old Fashioned Practice I know it sounds stodgy and old fashioned, but what lawyers do best is practice law, and this week brings a few new examples of how law firms continue to find new opportunities doing just that. Blank Rome takes the prize for the coining the best new practice group moniker with the launch of their Biometric Privacy Team. How many of you even know what Biometric Privacy means and yet to Blank Rome it may bring millions in new billings. McDermott announced another notable initiative this week with a major push into Latin America. And finally, here’s an eye catching headline: “City firm launches multi-disciplinary harassment service.”. As if lawyers really need more multi-disciplinary help in order to better harass their clients … although on closer investigation it appears this new service is directed towards ameliorating rather than pursing further harassment.

Partnering

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 39

Partnering vs. Build Your Own. Among other things, this flood of investment capital means that it will become far more difficult for law firms to pursue their own in-house tech innovation efforts. Instead, law firms partnering with ALSPs, platform companies, the Big 4 accounting firms and other legal tech providers will become increasingly common, a trend evidenced by the announcement this week of Lex Mundi’s new partnership arrangement with Elevate. Also here’s a story from the UK about a novel hook up involving an investment by a City law firm in an online legal service platform serving the SME market. Why build it yourself when someone is already doing it faster and better?

Tech

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 39

Tech Spending Race. The legal market is being reshaped in a host of obvious and not-so-obvious ways. One of the more glaring trends is the flood of investment capital pouring into ALSPs and law technology companies, which is kicking off a spending race to build ever more sophisticated law practice tools and platforms. This week comes the announcement that United Lex, backed by PE firm CVC Capital, will be spending $100 million to ramp up their Vantage workflow and document creation platform. Investment by other large PE firms has continued to pour into all sides of the legal market notwithstanding the pandemic, including Apax Partners recent $200 million acquisition of MyCase and Levine Leichtman’s acquisition of BigHand. No matter how law firms and lawyers may continue to resist change, no matter how hidebound state bar regulators remain, investment capital is already busy reinventing and transforming the legal market in fundamental ways.

Regulation

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 36

Goodbye to Operating in a Vacuum. One of the key props protecting the legal guild in America has been the prohibition on law firm ownership by non-lawyers written into the Code of Professional Responsibility. Last week Arizona became the first state to remove this key impediment to market transformation. Here’s the money quote from the Arizona Supreme Court Order that implements the change: “The legal profession cannot continue to pretend that lawyers operate in a vacuum, surrounded and aided only by other lawyers or that lawyers practice law in a hierarchy in which only lawyers should be owners. Nonlawyers are instrumental in helping lawyers deliver legal services, and they bring valuable skills to the table.” So now is a good time for the entire marketing department, technology staff, and all other non-lawyer professionals in the firm to stand up and take a bow in recognition of their important contribution to this epochal moment of change!

Budgeting

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 35

Budget Season. Summer has all but come and gone which means that 2021 budget season is almost here. J. David Harvey of LawVision offers some very helpful tips about how to prepare to defend your marketing budget in the era of COVID-19. Most importantly, he emphasizes the importance of contingency planning in the face of such epic uncertainty. Also, on a more personal note, if you are wondering about your next career move amidst all this upheaval, check out the current LMA podcast which features a good discussion on the importance of healthy fear in facing new challenges, as opposed to the disabling variety, which tends to leave us frozen in place ….

Collaboration

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 35

Cats or Dogs. Joseph Altonji of LawVision has a good blogpost this week about the radically different styles lawyers and firms have when it comes to business development. Cats or dogs he calls it, depending on whether your firm culture emphasizes a traditional eat-what-you-kill approach or more of a pack hunting strategy. Altonji suggests that accommodating both cats and dogs is important but that the larger a firm grows, the more teamwork and collaboration become important. This is also a key takeaway from this article by Acritas. According to Acritas’ research, despite the compelling advantage of increased internal collaboration, lawyers in large firms still see the primary barrier to teamwork when it comes to BD is the lack of financial incentive for doing so.

Litigation Funding

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 35

Litigation Funding as the New Power Player. An interesting story this week highlights the increasing power and influence of litigation funding in the legal market. Quinn Emanuel has teamed up with Omni Bridgeway to help underwrite the cost of major securities fraud litigation against UBS. Here again, you can see how the fundamental dynamics in the market are changing, as lawyers no longer need fancy offices; all they need is a deep pocket to keep the lights on in their home offices so they can crank out their legal briefs. This is another shot across the bow of the BigLaw business model. As if to underscore the point, there’s another story this week about the securities litigation group at Lowenstein Sandler breaking away to start their own firm. The story indicates that the reason for the split is the litigation group’s interest in pursing contingency fee opportunities, which creates friction with the rest of the firm. No doubt, it’s all the better for the litigation funders who will be happy to underwrite the breakaway group’s case load.

Virtual practice

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 35

Virtual Gets Real. Commercial leases for office space often have terms of 10 years or more. Much as law firms today may see the strategic advantage of downsizing their office footprint, for most firms such a move is not going to happen overnight. So real estate still is destiny but nowadays in a very different way.As this story about Freshfields makes clear, firms that are fortunate enough to be looking at a major lease renewal now, are likely to pounce on the opportunity. No doubt, this will have a profound influence on the legal market in ways we can’t yet fully anticipate. Already it seems to be accelerating the growth of start-up virtual law firms, since they can quickly ramp up their operations — and poach talent from top-tier traditional firms — thanks to their favorable cost-structure, and without regard to securing new office space.

Taxonomy

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 34

A New Legal Taxonomy. Lawyers love their taxonomies so here’s a helpful reminder about how diverse the world of ALSP’s has already become. This blog post from LawVision does a good job of explaining the new taxonomy of law companies and legal service providers, which we should expect to see expand as more capital flows into the market.

Investment

Law Firm Marketing Brief

Vol. 2, No. 34

Welcome to the Sandbox. This week Utah became the first state to establish a regulatory sandbox that will enable non-lawyers to take direct ownership in companies that provide non-traditional legal operations and services. California is expected to follow soon with a sandbox of its own. While the primary justification for changing the rules on law firm ownership is to help solve the access to justice crisis, this will clearly provide an additional route for finance capital to expand its involvement in the legal market, among other ways,through burgeoning investment in alternative legal service providers, who will continue playing an expanded role.

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