Legal Innovation Blog

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Our Legal Innovation Blog is dedicated to discussing the latest issues involving knowledge management, business development and new and exciting technology developments to use for leveraging your knowledge assets. Under Hot Topics we have gathered more indepth explainations to our approaches to knowledge management, the strategic use of IT and business innovation.

  • 2014-12-10

    Merry Christmas 2014

    We wish all of our customers, partners, fellow knowledge management and strategy professionals and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for all positive response, encouragement, support and exciting assignments. We look forward to more inspiring contacts next year.

    For the upcoming Christmas holiday, we would like to recommend some interesting reading to enjoy. And as the year 2014 is coming to an end, we would also like to take the opportunity to share some of the highlights from our fifth year with VQ.

    Interesting articles and reports

    Legal Futures Special Report Innovation in the City on the Rolls-Royce dilemma

    This report focuses on how much has changed in the legal market in the last few years from a UK City firm perspective. The first part of the report contains an overview of where we are today, with the ongoing industrialization of the law, to which many of the firms are responding by using new technology to break work up in a smarter way. Read more about this part here: Technologies shaping the legal landscape »

    The second part recounts a roundtable with many of the most forward-thinking lawyers in the City discussing the "Rolls-Royce dilemma". The new client demands have made law firms respond with discounts, lower rates and fixed prices, but is it all just about finding cheaper ways of doing what you do, or does there need to be a more fundamental rethink? The dilemma this challenge poses was outlined by Jeff Triggs, Slaughter and May as the Rolls-Royce dilemma: Report Innovation in the City

    "Obviously I would like to produce a Rolls-Royce at a Rolls-Royce price, whereas the client comes to me and says, 'I only want to pay for a BMW'. I have now got to the stage of 'Yes, okay, we will do it for a BMW price'. What I personally have not got round to yet, is producing anything other than a Rolls-Royce."

    It is clear that firms need wising up to the need to put together a far more sophisticated menu of options for completing a particular task, involving lawyers, paralegals, technology and outsourcing, to name but four. New service providers achieve this by using process and technology in combination with a different methodology, but, as pointed out by Neville Eisenberg, Berwin Leighton Paisner, in a traditional law firm the ingrained culture makes it harder: "Working differently really goes to the heart, often, of people's self-perception of their sense of professionalism. But then the process for producing a Rolls-Royce has changed over the last 20 years or so, and will continue to do so, even though the end product will be the same, if not better. What we are finding is where we really investigate the processes and change them to make them more efficient, not only are we able to do it at a lower cost internally, but the end product looks better; not least because the lawyers enjoy the work more and seem to have a sense of greater control over the process."

    It might even be that this dilemma might help grow the market, as more efficient working methods may enable the production of more legal Rolls-Royces than before, as pointed out by Tim Stocks, Taylor Wessing: "We should not assume the market for our services is shrinking, because the market can expand. It can do things better, and differently."

    Read the full report here: Innovation in the City » (pp 18)

    IBM's Watson manages prices better and other interesting articles on pricing

    In the Law Technology News article "IBM's Watson Coming to a Firm Near You" IBM explains how Watson is not a product, but a cognitive platform that could be used in the legal industry for three main tasks: (i) as a kind of automated associate providing quick answers to legal questions, (ii) as a legal researcher searching for precedents or evidence needed for legal cases, and (iii) to focus on the process of law. "Watson could pull out key predictors within the complaint to provide a set of operational data to allow an attorney to make a data-driven, informed decision about how to pursue a matter. Insofar as those insights help firms do a better job at pricing a matter, then that's a good use for it."

    In the Validatum blog post "So, You're Going To Nail This Pricing Business in 2015?" Richard Burcher has made a comprehensive list of the main issues you need to tackle when you want to implement a changed pricing strategy. Read also "What Is The Optimal Hourly Rate? One That Doesn't Produce Any Profit" for pricing strategies that benefit both law firms and clients.

    Legal Innovation Blog

    VQ's Legal Innovation Blog is dedicated to discussing the latest issues involving knowledge management, business development and new and exciting technology developments. Some of the posts during 2014 that we would like to highlight are:

    All VQ blog posts »

    VQ Year 2014 in Review

    VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum 2014 - The Future of Legal Service

    This year it was the five year anniversary of VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum, our annual legal conference focusing on leadership, strategy, innovation and technology trends for the legal market. More than 170 law firm managers, general counsels and other legal market professionals attended the forum for discussions on the changing legal market and the future of legal service.

    VQ Forum 2014 Panel discussion

    Speakers such as international pricing guru Richard Burcher, SAS Daniels Senior Partner Jonathan Whittaker, Radiant Law's Head of Managed Legal Services Jason McQuillen, panelists Carl-Viggo Östlund, former CEO of e.g. SBAB, Nordnet Bank, SalusAnsvar, Maria-Pia Hope, Managing Partner and CEO, Vinge, Biörn Riese, Partner and Chairman of the Board, Mannheimer Swartling, Eva Blonde, Country Counsel Sweden and Nordic Region Counsel, Hewlett-Packard Sverige, Magnus Billing, Senior Vice President, President of NASDAQ OMX Nordics and NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, and Jonas Bengtsson, General Counsel and Company Secretary, TeliaSonera, and many others provided insights on smart pricing strategies and legal market changes in practice. Some of the key take aways from the day were that

    • legal practice can successfully be operated like any other business and apply "normal" business practices when it comes to organization, productivity, cost and pricing, as evidented by the examples where new business models and pricing strategies have led to substantial profit growth;
    • clients are asking for different pricing options and greater transparency and involvement in pricing decisions, rather than, as is often assumed, the lowest possible price;
    • it is possible for law firms to provide fixed fees and yet be extremely profitable, if the pricing strategy is combined with a focus on internal processes and IT support;
    • both internal and external legal advisers need to focus on commercial aspects and efficiency; and
    • offshoring of legal service has substantial benefits that are worth considering also for Swedish organizations.

    This year a special parallel seminar on information security was also arranged as part of VQ Forum. Speakers Annika Biberg, information security expert at Safeside Solutions, and Ulf Isaksson and Esa Kymäläinen, partners at Danowsky & Partners, provided insights on the new threats to information, shared experiences from actual incidents and explained different strategies to apply when choosing a cloud solution and the risk and benefits when outsourcing commercial information from a legal perspective.

    Please find here the complete Report from VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum 2014 »

    Reports from inspiring seminars

    To keep up to date with all new legal market trends internationally, we also attended several inspiring conferences and seminars both in Sweden and internationally during the year. Here are some of our reports summarizing the inspiring, thought-provoking ideas and debates on what the future of legal services will look like from two of the conferences:

    From Click to Client

    We attended NatWest mmadigital From Click to Client conference about doing business online in London in June. Considering the growing trend of doing business online, also the legal business will be affected and need a digital strategy. This digital strategy could include the use of well-developed standard documents.

    These documents could either be delivered free online for anyone, or accessible only to those who are registered. One example is the law firm Riverview Law which has developed a rich document library available for free for their clients.

    Legal Futures The Era of the Entrepreneur in November had a new approach to the legal market - the entrepreneurial side of lawyers and non-lawyers. Key note speaker Jordan Furlong, lawyer and industry analyst, Edge International, presented his views on how the fundamental shift in the legal services environment will spawn a diverse population of new providers that will expand access to new legal services while destroying lawyer's market exclusivity.

    Legalfutures The Era of the Entrepreneur

    Jordan Furlong built his speak around nine main features of the emerging legal market, proving how we are no longer predicting a new legal future, but actually living in a new legal present; how the walls are coming down. The new providers are changing the client's expectations on legal service; the way it is provided, the costs for it etc. To respond, law firms must adopt their business to the changing client expectation. In order to move up the value chain, lawyers have to deliver low-end work hyper efficiently and focus their time on consultancy work. Technology has to be integrated throughout the law practice.

    Read our report from the event here: Legal Futures The Era of the Entrepreneur »

    VQ at the podium

    During 2014 VQ was invited to speak at a number of internal events for corporate legal departments and other legal organizations, and was nominated as one of the lecturers at the Stockholm University Master of Laws and Information Technology Programme on the Future of Legal Services.

    In March, VQ was also part of the panel of judges, together with Johan Kahn, Delphi Law Firm, for the inspiring and innovative new legal competition "Law as an app", when the Master Programme of Law & IT at Stockholm University concluded the course with the practical assignment to come up with an idea for a legal service or app.

    Launch of employment law solution for The Swedish Association for Human Resources Management

    In May, we launched an advanced tool for employment law for The Swedish Association for Human Resources Management's 7 000 members. The tool is built on our intelligent document assembly platform, in cooperation with Elmzell advokatbyrå, Sweden's largest law firm specialized in employment and HR-law. In brief, the tool gives the members access to a knowledge base with information on employment law and a large number of employment law related documents including guidance on how the documents should be used. The new and attractive idea with this tool is that it is very user-friendly as the documents are easily tailor-made for each specific matter.

    VQ Legal - the online legal service and knowledge platform

    During 2014 we continued the expansion of VQ Legal our legal service for standard document packages that is widely used by major law firms, in-house legal counsel departments, accounting firms and other companies. It is a new legally intelligent and efficient solution for creating all relevant documents for a specific matter with a content that is updated and quality assured by our expert partners for corporate, employment, commercial and IT law. Read more about our experts »

    Articles about VQ

    During 2014 several articles were published about VQ, VQ Forum and VQ Legal. Here are some of these articles (in Swedish):

    Avtal i expressfart - Dagens Industri 7 oktober 2014

     

    2015

    For the year 2015, we look forward to further expansion of the online legal service VQ Legal and projects involving the use of the VQ Legal platform, other exciting consultancy assignments and speaking appearances. We are also planning for our sixth annual VQ Knowledge and Strategy Forum in October.

    Save the date for VQ Forum on 21 October! More information will be provided early next year.

    If you would like to know more about what we are up to onwards or receive our news directly by email, you are most welcome to subscribe to our newsletters by using the link below on the footer of the web page.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Ann Björk and Helena Hallgarn

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