Posted by: johnocunningham | June 12, 2014

Lawyers: Your Competition Is No Longer Just Lawyers

Legal process outsourcers, commonly known as “LPOs,” are rapidly eating into the market pie of traditional legal service providers, according to experts who spoke at the 2014 RainDance Conference of the Legal Sales and Service Organization.

These LPOs, which include online alternatives to traditional legal services, racked up an 84 percent annual growth rate in revenues in just the past two years, says Susan Saltonstall Duncan, author of the InFocus blog on legal practice strategies and innovations.

Just some of the many LPOs that are growing rapidly, include:

  • Online dispute resolution services, such as Justice Box and Way to Settle;
  • Big data aggregators for intellectual property cases, such as Lex Machina and Legal Force;
  • Online services related to corporate filings and documents, such as Biz Filings and CorpNet;
  • Newly invented global organizations of business and legal pros who deliver efficient solutions to problems that have both legal and business components to them, such as Axiom;
  • Online providers of low-cost documentation for simple wills and other legal documents, as provided by Hot Docs, Rocket Lawyer and Legal Zoom; and
  • Numerous services for automated document review and technological assistance with other discovery-related tasks.

These services are becoming particularly popular because the cost of legal services and litigation have grown far faster than inflation over recent decades. In fact, according to John Sterling of Sterling Strategies, LLC, more than 80 percent of those in need of legal services no longer see traditional solutions provided by lawyers as reasonably affordable.

There is some percentage of lawyers at some percentage of firms that can continue to thrive by delivering “best in class” traditional service for the foreseeable future. But the great majority of lawyers and law firms will have to find ways to use technology, process improvement and revolutionary innovation to deliver services faster and more affordably without sacrificing quality. If they don’t, someone other than a lawyer may provide an alternative solution to their legal problems.

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