Your firm has decided that you should open a new practice area or expand an existing one.
You have the lawyers that you need to deliver a credible service to an increasingly demanding legal market.
What else do you need?
Consider this case study.
A good strategic business case
The demand for patent law services is increasing exponentially worldwide -- even in countries that traditionally have not had a robust patent law market. The discussions among your partners and with some of your current or potential clients suggest that there is an opportunity to build a larger book of business from these clients by offering patent law services. This can be an especially attractive opportunity for small and midsize firms generally, and your partners have agreed that your firm should take advantage of this apparent opportunity.
It all sounds good so far, but can you do it profitably while offering fees that are competitive for the best clients, who also are becoming among the most price sensitive in the area of intellectual property services and support?
But can you implement it profitably?
We recommend to our clients that they consider outsourced analytical and related support services, which can provide very high quality services and a fraction of the operating costs that a law firm would have to absorb by staffing and producing these services in-house.
This produces strategic leverage in two ways. First, the use of outsourced patent support services can help a smaller law firm retain its patent law practice in the face of increasing operating costs and decreasing fee opportunities. Second, these services can provide a bridge to a profitable, highly competitive patent law practice for law firms that, like the one described above, are considering expanding into this area.
However, building this bridge to a new practice area requires more than clever marketing slogans. It requires resources to meet the clients' needs and exceed the clients' expectations the first time and every time. Increasingly, as the legal services industry continues to evolve, those resources will come from new service providers outside the firm, who can support your law firm at much lower cost and with much better quality.
Walker Clark LLC is a strategic partner with Intricate Research, a patent research and analysis service supporting law firms worldwide.