Firm Law - A new approach to law
Solicitors are intimidating. It’s part of their job. Let’s face it, if something goes to court, it’s not because two parties happily agree with each other, and any kind of conflict requires a certain firm personae to handle. There’s also the fact that there’s a whole world of terminology in the world of law to get your head around and some people are scared of looking like a fool or just simply not understanding the answers that they’re given when talking to a solicitor.
For whatever reason, a business person may feel uncomfortable raising issues with a solicitor directly and this can lead to confusion and certain resentments:
- Feeling unsure what your legal fees are actually being spent on (due to a lack of transparency in pricing).
- Not knowing how to budget for different elements of commercial law (whether it’s putting together a contract, assistance with buying a new business or going to court).
- Being unsure whether a project is progressing well or not (e.g. is a contract solid).
- Questioning whether you’ve chosen the right law firm or solicitor.
On the flip side in the recent recession law firms are also struggling (Research from The Law Society – A Time of Change):
- 58% of law firms had faced problems with costs, financing, regulations, legal aid changes or competition over the preceding 12 months.
- 41% of law firms that were founded before 2007/8 reported a decrease in turnover, compared to 32% who reported an increase.
- Single solicitor firms were most likely to report a decrease in turnover.
- 78% of firms drew at least half of their clients from their own region. This indicates that the technology that is available to other industries allowing them to reach a national client base isn’t readily available in the legal industry.
What’s the Solution?
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has predicted that the economy will pass its pre-recession peak in the third quarter of 2014. As the recession ends, the UK will enter a new period of growth in all industries, including the legal industry. This will create more opportunities and solve part of the problem for law firms, but not for business owners looking for a clear and transparent idea of how their money’s being spent.
An innovative solution has been proposed by Firm Law. Firm Law are offering to provide a legal service which is similar to having an in-house lawyer who can also assist businesses in hiring other solicitors. The service will work something like this:
- Firm Law (who are backed by a legal firm themselves) will complete simple tasks on behalf of their clients.
- Where they’re not the best qualified law firm for the job, they will interview other solicitors by asking the right questions and by having in-depth knowledge of the legal processes and terminology.
- Firm Law will also act as an intermediary, checking on the progress of projects and ensuring that the company’s fees are being spent wisely.
Mixed with the end of the recession and ongoing technological improvements that will help make the legal business more transparent, this sounds like a solution that is beneficial for business owners and a win-win for everyone.