With the ever-accelerating commoditization of products and services in the legal industry, it is clear that the new key intellectual property of law firms is the HOW legal products and services get delivered as much as or more so than the WHAT.
Success today and in the future relies on a law firm's ability to market, sell and then execute delivery of legal services and/or products more efficiently, with predictable cost structures and with better corporate governance than their competitors (other law firms; on-line legal sites; outsourcing organizations).
To do this requires 3 Core Capabilities:
- The ability to strategically define optimized business processes (governance, core and supporting) focused on enhancing efficiency while simultaneously mitigating risk.
- The ability to codify defined processes using technology that automates where feasible, and coordinates and informs work (with meaningful information needed to complete work) for individuals and teams of workers where automation is not feasible or worthwhile. And of course, the discernment to know the difference.
- The ability to define and effectively coalesce and manage new types of teams (permanent and transient) made up of cross-functional; cross-corporate; free-lance and globally dispersed and mobile resources made quickly and safely productive by plugging them into the codified processes you have implemented.
Moving your firm towards this new way of working requires a step-by-step, not an all-at-once approach. The way to start is to find one key business process and positively effect it with application of all three of the above described capabilities.
This is your 'building and flexing' of your firm's new muscles. And just like getting in shape, it takes time and persistence, but the results become noticeable pretty quickly if you just stick with it a little while.