Browse Archives | Subscribe | Home

LawBiz® TIPS – Week of April 23, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

The life cycle visual contained in my new book, Life After Law, shows three distinct time frames: starting, operating and exiting the law practice. Just in the last couple of weeks, the calls I've received for consulting fall into these distinct categories more neatly than ever before:

(i) sole practitioners who want to join forces and start an entirely new practice, wanting to address both the operational and emotional issues up front (like pre-nuptial counseling);
(ii) those who want to grow their practice and understand the valuable feedback a coach can provide; and
(iii) those who are ready to leave the practice and want to convert their intangible goodwill into a tangible asset (cash or receivable).

Lawyers are beginning to understand that they need to address the business issues of practicing law at each of these stages as well as be technically competent in their respective practice areas.
Ed signature

For BigLaw, the Hits Just Keep on Coming

In a recent interview reported in Bloomberg BusinessWeek,* a top legal consultant said that partner layoffs at America's largest law firms are quietly picking up speed because a new form of competition is diminishing their billable work. Legal process outsourcers (LPOs) and other alternative legal service providers have been taking low-value work from traditional firms for some time, but now, according to the consultant, they are going after the crown jewels of large law firms - handling entire merger and acquisition transactions, not just the due diligence aspects of deals. For smaller deals, clients are finding that they don't need to pay $1000 an hour partner rates to get associate-level expertise. Instead, they are hiring LPOs to do the work, and simply ask higher priced outside counsel to oversee it.

BigLaw has become synonymous with big hourly rates. But technology such as document review software has put competitors like LPOs on the same service plane as large firms without the high rates, creating the impetus for alternative fees. Because of advances in technology, many tasks can now be done in a fraction of the time with a fraction of the number of lawyers. When lawyers charge by the hour and see their time reduced, and thus their revenue, there is an impetus to charge a fixed fee. This is anathema to the economic model BigLaw built, and it is similar to the transformation affecting every industry where technological innovation occurs.

It is inevitable that BigLaw will continue to falter. They may serve the 1% of the corporate world. But, there will be a large group of customers under-served, a juicy target for other lawyers. As technology is accepted, sole practitioners and small break-away groups from BigLaw will cater to the 99%, mostly consumer-oriented clients, but also smaller companies that don't fit the culture of BigLaw. There is a lot of work available for those firms that are flexible enough in their cost structures and use of technology to be competitive.

The common thread is that lawyers will need to pay close attention to the needs and wants of their clients. Large firms didn't grow without being attentive to client needs at first, and all lawyers will need to be more attentive in the future if they expect to attain and then retain the loyalty of their clients. And technology will be more of a differentiator in the future. The firms - like LPOs - that adopt technology to reduce the costs of their operation, and then passes those savings onto the client, will continually define the future of the legal profession.

*"Layoffs Coming to AmLaw 100 Law Firms," 2/11/13

Ed Poll's Life After Law
50% OFF - Special Prepublication Price!

Life After Law

until May 1
(reg. $49)

ebook, $19
(reg $25)

What Will You Do with the Next 6,000 Days?

To Order: 1-800-837-5880 or order online at

With an eye on balancing the professional and personal fronts, Ed guides readers through the steps:

  • Choosing retirement on your own terms

  • Guarding clients' welfare in the event of disability or death

  • Transferring client and rainmaking responsibilities

  • Charting an exit from a multi-partner firm

  • Strategizing the sale or closure of a practice

Plus, you'll find essential counsel on how to guard your retirement nest egg and create a fulfilling post-practice life! Learn more.

In this issue:

For BigLaw, the Hits Just Keep on Coming

Ed Poll's Life After Law... 50% OFF

Video: What Are Clients Looking For Anyway?

Featured Video:
(click image below to view)

Ed Poll on YouTube video

YouTube LawBiz Forum
FaceBook Twitter

What Clients Are Saying:

"I met with Ed for my first appointment in the Immersion Program, and at that first meeting, he saved me thousands of dollars by encouraging me to change a method of billing I have used for years. Ed validated and encouraged me to change something so simple which was costing the firm money. Ed is insightful, truthful and motivating. I look forward to our future meeting!"

Los Angeles, CA

"I would highly recommend the services of Ed Poll to anyone in need of assistance with understanding their business, improving its operations, or valuing it for sale or transition to some other operational format."

Austin, TX

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2013 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is categorized for the following audience(s):

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is listed under the following categories: