Without the need of Disruptive Innovation, Many IP Law Firms Destined to Satisfy Identical Destiny As Buggy Whip Makers
A feasible upside to the current financial downturn is that quite a few formerly acknowledged business enterprise models are being exposed as in need to have of considerable reinvention or even complete elimination. The billable hour/leverage regulation business product for legal companies is one of these progressively maligned business types, and is now showing to be in danger of ending up in the dustbin of background. Exclusively, even these who advantage handsomely from the billable hour, these kinds of as the Cravath firm’s several $800 per hour attorneys, now realize the fundamental irrationality of charging a shopper for time invested rather of price furnished. This alone must sign that modify is in the air.
Notwithstanding the rising discussion about the have to have for option shopper services products, I fear that the greater part of IP Law firm in Nigeria companies will either consider to ignore the motivation for transform or will reply by supplying only incremental modifications to their present methods of furnishing lawful services to their consumers. As somebody with appreciable encounter working with IP lawyers, I believe that that, sadly, the conservative nature of most IP lawyers indicates that IP companies will probably lag driving in client company innovations. Thus, I am of the belief that numerous prestigious and traditionally really rewarding IP law corporations will in the foreseeable long run cease to exist.
I get to this summary as a consequence of different salient ordeals. In a single of these, various years back, I approached a controlling associate of a effectively-recognised IP regulation company with ideas of how to decrease the selection of attorney hours expended on client matters. At that time, the organization was starting to knowledge sizeable thrust back from clientele about the expense of program lawful expert services. I mentioned to the taking care of associate that he could lessen the price tag non-substantive e.g., administrative consumer IP issues, by assigning these jobs to reduced billing paralegals. His response to this thought: “If paralegals did the get the job done, what would the 1st and 2nd year associates do?”
Of training course, the central premise of the handling partner’s response was that in get to preserve the gears of the firm’s billable hour/leverage associate model turning efficiently, he wanted to continue to keep the young associates occupied billing by the hour. The current paradigm of his regulation firm essential that it maintain choosing associates to enhance husband or wife leverage and ensure that they efficiently billed customers by the hour, with a major part of each associate’s billed time immediately going into the partner’s pockets. Remaining out of this business model was regardless of whether the clients’ best interests had been thoroughly served by the model that finest served the regulation firm’s partnership.
Clearly, this legislation business was not perfectly managed, which may provide as an justification for the managing partner’s self-serving point of view on consumer IP lawful providers. Nevertheless, my practical experience as a company purchaser of IP authorized providers more revealed that that the billable hour/leverage companion business enterprise product was an arrangement that routinely ut the shopper–which was now me–just after the legislation firm’s pursuits.
As an in-residence counsel spending quite a few $100K’s per yr for authorized services at a range of respected IP firms, I consistently felt that when I called outdoors counsel for aid the 1st believed that popped into the lawyer’s brain was “So glad she known as–I question how significantly operate this phone is going to lead to?” Additional often than not, I received the feeling that my outside the house IP lawyers considered my legal considerations as difficulties for them to resolve on a for every hour basis, not as problems that could influence the earnings of the firm for which I labored. The variation is subtle, but significant: the context of the previous is attorney as a provider provider, while the latter is lawyer as a company spouse.