Recently, I posted A Financial Model for Law Firms to Embrace Alternative Fees & LPO, wherein I outlined a complex model that would allow some law firms to incorporate offerings from LPO vendors into fixed price law firm offerings. There are, however, less complex models that can incorporate LPO services into fixed price legal services, and they are in use today. As outlined below, two pioneering LPO firms, LawScribe and SDD Global Solutions, already provide services that can easily be incorporated into fixed price offerings. LawScribe provides ongoing support to law firms offering trusts and wills, and SDD Global has provided overnight drafting services to a firm in connection with an acquisition.
Oklahoma-based law firm Parman & Easterday, LLP outsources document creation for wills and trusts to LawScribe in New Delhi. After reading Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, name partner Larry Parman quickly found solutions to questions of ethics and confidentiality to become an early adopter of legal outsourcing. Parman decided to focus his management and investment efforts on people and processes that provide direct client service, and outsource support services such as document preparation, technology services, and transcription. Through a virtual private network LawScribe staffers access a Parman & Easterday document management system to complete standardized templates, vary predefined terms in accordance with client-specific needs, and address formatting needs. Completed documents are reviewed by Parman & Easterday attorneys who interact directly with the clients. Parman stated that because he was convinced of the value of a long term outsourcing partner, his firm evaluated a number of vendors before settling on LawScribe for a long-term relationship. Parman “didn’t want to fold his tent at the first sign of trouble,” so he made sure they found a partner that would work through the inevitable complications.
SDD Global has also provided services that support that are easily incorporated into fixed price law firm offers. SDD recently helped a law firm manage the multiple agreements and memoranda associated with a corporate acquisition. During the course of a week, SDD Global received requests at the end of the law firm’s day, and drafted and reviewed the requested documents before the firm’s next day began. Because SDD charged a flat fee for its efforts, the law firm knew the exact cost of a significant portion of the transaction, was able to better scope the efforts it would be required to expend, and could therefore comfortably offer its clients the benefits of a fixed fee for its work on the transaction.
These two examples illustrate how the discipline that LPO vendors use to manage their processes can be incorporated into law firms’ work product. Although these are simple examples, firms will begin to act as value added resellers of LPO vendor services as they recognize the opportunities that LPO vendors provide to increase efficiencies and offer predictable prices for their clients.
About Red Bridge Strategy, Inc.
Red Bridge Strategy is an independent firm offering consulting and advisory services to corporations and law firms. The company does not provide outsourcing services, nor is it affiliated with any outsourcing providers. Please contact Matthew Sullivan for additional information.