Technology bringing fee reductions to legal work

Technology is starting to produce new business models for providing legal services, especially for big projects.

Why discuss this in an accounting blog? We CPAs need to be attentive to what is happening around us. We need to be armchair futurists, as I’ve discussed on my other blog.

The Economist has a great article, Alternative Law Firms – Bargain Briefs, describing some new models.

Clearspire is leveraging technology:

The firm’s 20 or so lawyers work mostly from home, collaborating on a multi-million-dollar technology platform that mimics a virtual office. A lawyer checking in on a colleague automatically sees a picture of her on the phone when she is, in fact, on the phone. Clients use the platform too, commenting on and even changing their own documents as they are being drawn up. Conventional lawyers are far less open.

Each portion of work done by an attorney at that firm is on a fixed fee. If the attorney takes more time, he or she eats the time. If it takes less time, the savings are split between the firm, the attorney and the client.

Another firm, Axiom, loans teams of its lawyers to a client to essentially do work in-house on a fixed price basis.

LawPivot is a social media site that lets people ask a few questions and get short answers for free from participating lawyers. Like someone’s reply? Call that attorney to do the work. Sort of like LinkedIn as an advertising platform for legal work.

Read the article. It will be a good brain stretcher. The world is changing rapidly and we need to pay attention.

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