Gabriel Teninbaum has written a new how-to manual on how to productize legal work, which should be required reading by lawyers and others who are thinking about undertaking a productization of legal services project. See Productizing Legal Work: Providing Legal Expertise at Scale.
Teninbaum is the Assistant Dean of Innovation, Strategic Initiatives, & Distance Education at Suffolk University Law School, where he also teaches courses on law and technology to law students,
Unlike more theoretical works, like Richard Susskind’s The End of Lawyers, which identifies broad trends in the evolution of legal services, this book shows you how to do it. That is why I call this book a “manual.” Lawyers and other developers new to this concept would find this manual indispensable as an introduction to the subject and a checklist of the major issues that need to be considered when undertaking a productization of legal work project.
Part I explains what it means to productize legal work. Part II is a how-to that provides an analysis of the processes and skills required to productize a legal service.
One chapter that I found particularly useful explains how to survey the competitive environment. I see too many me-to legal products and services in the legal marketplace. There are too many estates planning legal form websites – so many that it is hard for a consumer to figure out which one to select. As the chapter points out, you want to be in an area not occupied by anyone else. You want to be Cirque du Soleil, not Ringling Brothers (which is now out of business).
Case Studies on Productization of Legal Work
Included in his book are many case studies and examples of law firms that have productized a legal service. [Full disclosure: the book begins with a case study of my online law firm in Maryland at http://www.mdfamilylawyer.com. [Note: I paid full price for the book like any other consumer].
Another very helpful chapter is about building a business case for a productized legal service that can be useful for those seeking funding or trying to convince reluctant law firm partners to go down this path.
The book is pricey as it costs $108.00 at Amazon. However, if you think of this book as the productization of Professor Teninbaum’s consulting services to law firms, it is worth every penny. As Professor Teninbaum states in the preface:
“Can I and should I create a product out of my speaking and consulting services?”
The answer for him was yes, and the product is this book. Like any other productized piece of work, rather than a one-to-one service, the book serves as a one-to-many service similar to what would have been delivered to an individual consulting client, except the price is much less than the consulting service itself. This is the essence of the productization concept: Do a lot of work up-front, create a one-to-many product, and enjoy the royalties or income stream as long as the product is relevant and valuable to its end users.
For many lawyers, this idea of converting a legal service into a product is just the opposite of what they are taught in law school unless you are a student in Teninbaum’s class at Suffolk Law School. That is the main reason why you should buy “Productizing Legal Work” to learn about a new way of delivering legal expertise to clients, often at a more affordable price than the legal service itself.
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