I recently spoke at an event about the Modern Law Practice Initiative (MLPI) of the Colorado Bar and why it’s important. However, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur succinctly summed up the problem with the current state of the delivery of legal services much better than I could:
I’ve basically been an involuntary power user of every part of the Silicon Valley legal practice. I’ve raised money. I’ve done a merger. I’ve been sued. And yet every time, bills would pile up and I had no clear idea what I was paying for. In Silicon Valley, we want everything to be transparent.
The traditional law firm model emphasizes handling litigation so it results in a certain level of opaqueness, inefficiency and ignores non-legal solutions. Modern Law emphasizes a legal experience that is transparent, efficient, price-predictable and client-focused. This means that a strategy is designed up-front based on the client’s goals. Sometimes this means a lawsuit and other times it can be a mediation between the parties without a lawsuit or other non-litigation tactics.
Technology is leveraged to maximize efficiency. When I graduated from law school, legal research took hours because we had to search through books and legal treatises – today the same research can be accomplished in minutes using Westlaw and other technologies. There are numerous other technologies available that make the delivery of legal services much more efficient.
Pricing is transparent and predictable. If you go to any technology website, they always have a pricing page so you know what you will pay. It’s rare to see a pricing page on a website for a law firm or to know what you’re in for before signing up with a lawyer. Modern Law emphasizes alternatives to billing by the hour including flat fee, subscription, contingency and hybrid contingency fee representation. Every case is different in litigation so it’s it takes some work to come up with the pricing structure for each case. However, there’s no reason a transparent and predictable pricing structure can’t be figured out for each case.