Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Causes, Not Symptoms, the Key to Business Model Reinvention

A recent post http://blog.viewlegal.com.au/2016/03/joining-dots-innovators-dilemma-and.html touched on the combination of the 'ping' generation and the fact that time billing effectively rewards those who allow Parkinson's Law to rule unchecked.

The book by Steven Harper 'The Lawyer Bubble' (see - http://www.amazon.com/The-Lawyer-Bubble-Profession-Crisis/dp/0465058779) details why the legal profession, and probably most other professions, will likely struggle to reinvent any of the core aspects of their business model, at least in relation to time billing, in the short term.

While a myriad of reasons are provided, perhaps the most compelling is the fact that universities across the western world are essentially factories for producing professional service firm graduates, who specialise in the areas rewarded by time billing such as:
  1. long hours; 

  2. rote learning; 

  3. technology adverse; and 

  4. engrained arrogance, particularly in relation to solutions that undermine the traditional personalised bespoke service offering (such as alternative business models, offshoring, outsourcing and automation). 
Harper argues that any change to the 'BigLaw' business model from within the profession will require that the university system starts to reward students who are able to demonstrate more innovative attributes than those outlined above. Just as importantly however, the owners of the incumbent firms must themselves create a demand for this style of graduate. As Christensen predicts however in the Innovator's Dilemma, the prospect of the incumbent firms having the vision to truly cannibalise their existing business model is at best remote.

As mentioned previously, we began the journey to address many of the above challenges over 10 years ago. For many, the journey has started more recently and we believe it important to share our learnings. Our upcoming roadshow (see - http://viewlegal.com.au/roadshow-interest/) is another example of this.