Monday, July 23, 2012

ABS - Alternative Business Structures or Additional Business Stress



Introduction of ABS in the market has added stress and competition to the already recession affected legal industry.  After the long long wait for the ground breaking change in to the legal industry, ABS finally made it through at the beginning of this year.  Although the complete effects of ABS are yet to be seen and evaluated we cannot deny that a drastic change in the ways law firms operate on a structural and financial basis is undergoing turmoil.  Some for the better and some for the worse.  We need to accept this and make our way through this storm.

Whilst understanding the effects of ABS on law firms, we see that it undoubtedly affects the law firms dealing with high volume commoditisable private client work.  That is to say that firms dealing with areas like personal injury, conveyancing, family law, wills etc. will be most affected. 

The three key things which will immediately need attention would be price paid for a service, value added services and delivery of services.  It becomes pertinent for law firms to look in to their business planning, study the market and add value to the services they are rendering. At the same time reducing the costs is significant or solicitors can sit back to see the clients drifting away and adding this service in to their shopping basket at a supermarket.
                                                              
As the great Albert Einstein once said “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”, firms need to find the doors to a new path to sustain the winds of change faced by the UK legal industry.  While many firms are either running to find a suitable partner to merge with or an external investor to pump in finances in to their firms or hire a non-lawyer to manage the show, one door which seems to be less used is the door to legal outsourcing.

Legal Outsourcing has been in this market for years now with only few key players realising the benefits of it and making use of it.  Of course if we see the graph of the last twenty years, we observe the changes and bend towards outsourcing increasing but the growth has been slow in the UK as compared to the United States.  Today a considerable number of law firms are outsourcing to offshore vendors to save time and costs.  And these law firms range from solo practitioners to the big players in the industry. 
Services of high volume, tedious in nature and to a big extent repetitive in terms of a set format, as we see majorly in the case of conveyancing is an apt service to outsource in order to save time and incur big savings in costs.  Solicitors can use that extra time in hand to give value added services to their clients and concentrate more on business planning and retaining clients.

The demand of hour is to make optimum utilisation of resources in order to reduce this additional business stress. It is time to accept the changes and move on towards finding the best way to deal with it.  The decision to move from the conventional ways of practice will open new doors which will bring in a plethora of opportunities.
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