Industry News

The Brave New World of Legal Services

28 November 2011

Since the Legal Services Act 2007 (LSA07) I have seen and heard numerous commentators giving their vision of the brave new world of legal services. Some predict that on-line services will dominate, such as Rocket Lawyer and Zoom Legal; others believe that developed, strong national brands like High Street Lawyer, Quality Solicitors and Lawyers2U will be the only way to survive on the high street while many firms have yet to make a move, either not understanding the potential threats, being apathetic to the competition or believing their client base is secure.

Which vision of the brave new world should you rally behind? Which model should you choose? It appears to me that everybody has a point and nobody has the answer.

The legal market is so diverse that all these approaches may work if targeted at the right practice areas and the key is to identify which client demographic you want to serve with which services.

Certain practice areas lend themselves well to technology while others require a prolonged and personal relationship with a trusted advisor. Deciding on which services you wish to provide in which practice areas will therefore be key in deciding whether you
compete purely with technology and remote service or whether the increased overheads of personal interaction are a prerequisite for the services that you intend to offer.

You then need to consider the client demographic you wish to serve. Some clients will value and be willing to pay for personal interaction and guidance irrespective of whether the work could be completed by technology. Others would rather fill in an on-line form, press a button and rely on the contents without further explanation or review.

Some clients will remain loyal to local established brands, not attracted by the garish logos and advertising of national brand and commercialised ABS advertising but for many firms, particularly in larger communities with higher concentrations of service providers, their local brand strength will not be sufficient to resist the lure of a standardised and well marketed national brand.

But firms should consider this… You do not need to limit yourself to one style of delivery or market capture.

Just because a firm offers an on-line service for the creation of standard documents to national and international corporate giants does not mean that it cannot offer an old couple a cup of tea in a high street office. But the style of delivery and market capture must be different to suit each service and client base.

In a world where technology is increasingly popular in sourcing legal service providers and in the delivery of those services there will still be clients willing to pay for the confidence gained from face to face interaction with a trusted lawyer.

The legal market is diverse and opportunities are there for firms to take. In the brave new world of legal services finding your place and establishing your identity is the key.

Ian Braithwaite
Client Relationship Manager

T: 0845 056 3949
M: 0743 727 4046

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