How the Legal Industry Is Changing: Lawyers Can Make Money While They Sleep
by Dave Zumpano, with Guy Remond
I describe myself as an entrepreneur who practices law.
One of the biggest frustrations that I’ve had in the legal profession is the strict rules on who can run a law practice, because the first stage of any business is getting it consistently profitable, but most lawyers have had no entrepreneurial upbringing.
The landscape is changing. The Arizona Supreme Court has recently instructed the Bar Association to identify under what circumstances it will permit non-lawyers to own law firms. It’s great to open that door.
It’s important that lawyers maintain their ethics, attorney client confidences and things of that nature, but this is also a great step forward to help us bring in some entrepreneurial thinking.
Guidr co-founder, tech entrepreneur and non-exec Guy Remond describes it as a fantastic opportunity.
Guy: “It makes absolute sense for this to happen because without it you are stifling innovation. Wherever you have a small group of people you’re going to have a limited number of ideas. If you open it up to people with outside perspectives who look at things in a different way it can only be healthy for the whole industry. I think it’s a really smart move and let’s hope that Arizona is leading the way.
It’s like the partnership that we have at Guidr. I bring a very different perspective and set of skills and they go hand in hand with the legal expertise and knowledge that you bring.”
Guy raised a really valuable point. Together we have created a new technological platform (Guidr) for lawyers that helps the consumer and the attorney.
I’ve run a national legal organization since 2001. I’ve trained thousands of lawyers. One of the biggest challenges we’ve had is that law school does not train people in how to run a profitable law firm. Those topics have been neglected by the legal industry.
Thinking like a business owner
Some lawyers are successful, but many cannot make the conversion from lawyer to business owner. Lawyers need to partner with someone with a different skill set. This is what Guidr provides.
We lead the self-help legal services in a way that does not replace the lawyer, but instead changes how we interact and deliver legal services. The Arizona ruling will help the industry progress more quickly.
Guy has some fantastic examples that illustrate this.
Guy: “Possibly for the first time lawyers can make money while they sleep. Uber is the largest taxi firm in the world that doesn’t own any taxis. Airbnb is the largest landlord in the world that doesn’t own any buildings. Guidr could be the largest legal firm in the world that doesn’t employ any lawyers but works with them at a local level so that they can reach more people who might not ordinarily use their services.
I think there’s a direct correlation between what the legal industry is about to go through and the car industry. The car industry was traditional for decades. Even 10 years ago cars hadn’t really changed much. They might have become more efficient, but fundamentally cars have evolved. There has been no revolution.
Time for change
The car industry has been resting on its laurels and settling for incremental change as opposed to revolutionary change until entrepreneur and business magnate Elon Musk came along.
He had no automotive experience. He walked into a company that was producing electric cars and said let’s take this to the next level. He led the industry out of its malaise. Now he owns the most valuable car company in the world over the space of 18 years. He looked into the future and led the industry kicking and screaming into it.
Now Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes and Audi have all announced dates when their cars will be fully electric. Elon Musk forced that change. I think the legal industry is on the precipice of that same thing happening in terms of delivering online legal services.”
It’s exciting to hear Guy’s examples of industries that have been revolutionized or led in a non-traditional way by people who don’t ordinarily work in those industries.
How does this apply to the legal industry?
Once a company becomes profitable you need to grow your team and build the business. Then you have the structure in place to ultimately reach the third level, entrepreneurial freedom, when your law firm is capable of operating without you.
This is powerful because if you can take non-lawyers and enable them to work with lawyers it will speed up the process (and opportunities); the lawyer never has to worry about the entrepreneur competing with them. That’s a marriage made in heaven. You need each other.
Guidr is like the Tesla of the legal industry. We’re not just pulling a motor out and removing a few parts and adding extra batteries. It’s going to change the way that lawyers deliver their legal services to the consumer, whilst directly involving them and benefiting both consumer and lawyer.
In The E-Myth Attorney, author Michael Gerber talks about the three ways in which a small business owner needs to show up.
- They’re the entrepreneur (forward thinking person that runs the business)
- They’re the manager (person who decides what to do when)
- They’re the technician (person who ensures the work gets done)
If you’re a lawyer, think about how much time you spend on payroll, meeting clients, the manager and technician roles. The entrepreneurial part is when you are building what makes your law firm run profitably.
I’ve had the fortune to do that. My skill set is in building structures that other lawyers can use because I was brought up entrepreneurially. But all the other lawyers I have trained along the way have not had that exposure.
I think the Arizona Supreme Court ruling is going to open up and enable the E-Myth to come alive inside law practices, but with new entrepreneurial partners.
The solution to revolutionizing the legal industry
Guy summarises it perfectly.
Guy: “Guidr has built something from the ground up that is fit for providing legal services. Most other platforms are trying to exclude lawyers; we are partnering with them. Guidr is the complete end to end solution for specific services in the legal industry.”
To hear our full conversation on this check out The Legal Community Podcast.
If you would like to know more about how Guidr can help you support and grow your current client base by offering a digitalised service in partnership with your local law firm please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or Guy at email@example.com.
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