Browse Archives | Subscribe | Home

Ed Poll
  Week of October 9, 2007

Can You "Productize"
Your Practice?

We've written previously about the trends by which legal services increasingly come to be seen as commodities or products. Truth be told, clients can't tell the difference among lawyers—once you have your law degree and are called to the bar, you are presumed to be as competent as the next lawyer. Given this attitude, lawyers and their services come to be seen as interchangeable commodities. Commodity items always carry with them commodity pricing, sometimes fixed, often reactive and always pressured to be lower. When we provide legal services, we want them to be seen as unique because of the attorney-client relationship or because of the special skill required to deal with the challenge or because the client has some constraint that only a few lawyers can accept. Yet, when clients increasingly want to see the dynamic shift toward the commodity model, the momentum can be hard to resist.
In my most recent teleseminar for West LegalEdCenter, I suggested that one way to do it is to consider "productizing" your practice, by providing a tangible product that opens the door to the intangible, value-added services you want to offer. For example, an estate planning lawyer might combat do-it-yourself web sites and software by establishing a section of his or her firm web site that is password protected and that has authoritative forms and research that the lawyer has prepared or evaluated. For a flat fee of $100 a "client" could access this material and draw from it at will. However, if the client has a question or problem that the materials do not answer, the lawyer is available to provide personalized counsel, perhaps at a special rate that recognizes the relationship established through the web site. Another example might be a blog that, for a subscription fee, combines the lawyer's observations on breaking legal or regulatory issues with specialized content and research—again with the option of asking specific questions outside of the access fee.
These offer something that your competitors don't or can't, and are new products that your clients need or want. It shows that you offer value and don't just represent cost. And it enables you to focus your practice on its most professionally and financially rewarding work.
Our future topics include other ways to enhance "The Business of Law"® and your practice, including "Moving Your Office," "Cash Flow Management," "Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity," and "Marketing Within Ethical Bounds." For information on these and other tools to improve profitability and professionalism see our web site,

Ed Poll

A best-selling, practical guide that enables attorneys to finally take control of their financial futures.
The Profitable Law Office Handbook is loaded with charts and forms, and it presents a clear outline for: understanding the business planning process, identifying personal and law firm goals, creating a marketing plan, and creating a cash flow statement. An optional Windows-compatible disk with forms and schedules in Excel, QuattroPro, and WordPerfect 5.1 formats.
Click here to purchase just the book with no disk for only $29.95
Click here to purchase the book and disk for only $44.95

Ed Poll
Ed Poll

Personal Commentary
This week, I'm in Cleveland for two distinct presentations to Cleveland lawyers and law firm administrators. When I left home, I had a new cell phone (I really love the Motorola Razr) and everything in my life was "in order." On arrival, my new cell phone stopped working (my first clue that things were about to change), and my wife was desperately searching to find me to give me bad news. First, the bad news: A house that I own and rent out burned down. Next, the good news: No one was hurt! The family is now displaced and needs a new place to live, but they are all fine. The fire was during the day and they were out of the house. Now, the funny news: During the aftermath, a fireman asked the tenant if he smoked, thinking that perhaps a lighted cigarette was the cause. The tenant responded: No, I don't smoke cigarettes, only marijuana! I nearly cracked up. He obviously didn't have advice of counsel not to make such an admission. He also claims, however, to have a medical prescription. By the way, AT&T fixed my cell phone this morning.
Best wishes,
Ed Poll

Ed Poll
Ed Poll

What Readers Are Saying...
Keynote speech is the "highlight" of Bar Association training seminar
"Ed's presentation, in my opinion, was the highlight of this series of speakers. I found the information which was presented to be tremendously valuable. Further, it was presented in a format which was both usable and interesting. Since Ed's presentation, I have had an opportunity to speak with several others who were in attendance and it is clear from them that he made our event successful."
-David R. Hagen, San Fernando Valley Bar Association

Ed Poll
Ed Poll

© 2007 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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