Archive for June 13th, 2012
“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”
First of all, be nice to me. I am a nerd but not a fully fledged IT geek, I use this analogy not because I believe it to be a perfect metaphor but as a conceit to enable me to provide an alternative view point to stimulate thought about the legal services market.
So today, we are in a legal market akin to the pre PC and common platform world, when the world drank TAB cola, listened to Hall & Oates and had a fondness for prawn cocktails, the wet perm and shoulder pads.
They had electrical calculators, typewriters, accounting machines, telexes, facsimile machines, post rooms, photocopies, microfiche machines, and countless other sole purpose disparate gadgets.
We have law firms, publishers, legal technology systems, barristers, e-discovery providers, legal process outsourcers, precedent banks and varieties of and within each of these.
In both cases, you can find the solution to most needs but each is manual, bespoke for a single purpose, expensive, not readily compatible, and requiring huge amounts of management time to utilise.
We have no common platform, no single point management system to interface with each of the tools. Everything is difficult, expensive and whilst it does the job, adds no value or ability to see the big picture.
Imagine a new world.
As a corporate, you engage Hardware Legal. This is a legal triage and sourcing platform which acts a single interface connecting all the various legal service providers – “legal apps” necessary.
Hardware Legal commonly works with Firmware Consulting that produces a service offering which identifies the right software or apps necessary to deliver to the legal needs of that organisation. Firmware consulting also devise the necessary management reporting and service levels to ensure value is delivered.
Firmware engage the various legal apps which are then plugged into Hardware Legal, which provides the user with a highly personalised single interface, fit for purpose but capable of being reprogrammed, as necessary.
One touch, measurable, flexible and scalable legal services which are transparent and affordable. A legal service designed by nerds, wouldn’t that be nice……
“There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”
Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II
The Legal Services Consumer Panel, a consumer legal watchdog, has published a report urging the Legal Ombudsman to extend the right to complain about a lawyer to third parties (those other than that lawyer’s client).
Such third parties include:
- those who would a client save for a “quirk” of commercial engagement;
- opposing clients;
- victims and witnesses (in a court room environment);
- beneficiaries of a will; and
- groups of consumers where the relationship with the lawyers was though a single ‘representative’ party.
There have been some commentaries by bodies representing the interests of lawyers, questioning whether this is a metaphoric “opening of the floodgates”.
Given the very specific instances of the ‘extension’, as set out in this report – the very reference to ‘floodgates’ seems a slightly disproportionate over reaction.
The tragedy is that lawyers needed reminding of some of these in the first place. Whilst, of course, a lawyer has to represent his client to the best of their ability, this does not excuse their behaving like a class one b*****d. Being robust and, even, uncompromising does not extend to bullying. It is, after all, a profession.
This year, alone, I have been to three “in-houser events”; last year I attended eight; and the year before that, another eight. When talking to in-housers about firms that they didn’t use – the single largest reason for their refusal to consider a particular firm was their experience of that firm, as a third party.
If professional etiquette has not been reason enough for some lawyers to discourage the, from over stepping the mark and those same lawyers feel that the extension of the right to complain is unjust, perhaps they will consider the impact it will have on winning new clients – carrying on as they are, that is an ever decreasing pool they are fishing in!
It pays to treat not only your clients fairly but ensure that you do not treat other unfairly.