Welcome to the HELO Blog

November 28, 2012 | Author: admin | Category: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

This is our first posting, and we decided to open by discussing the intent of the Blog. We hope that the Blog can be a forum for the exchange of ideas related to the delivery of legal services. HELO is a group of Nashville, Tennessee lawyers who have analyzed the legal services market and organized to deliver services by applying principles based on the law of supply and demand. If you want to know more about HELO and its service delivery philosophy and capabilities, please see the HELO website at www.helolawgroup.com.

If you have experience in law firms (and even better if you’ve been in several) or in purchasing legal services, you know that the legal industry is intensely fee focused, with fees primarily determined by the hourly rate and the number of hours applied to each assignment. You may not have considered that the structure and operations of law firms are predominantly influenced by that billing method. In what other industry, whether producing tangible products or providing services, are operations driven by the way clients (also known as customers) are billed?

Our analysis of the many issues which arise from seeking an answer to that simple question led us to wonder about alternative service delivery structures. Note that we are not here discussing alternative fee arrangements – that would lead us into the same trap of allowing the billing method to guide structural, organizational and management considerations. It is not that billing methods are unimportant – just ask clients – but can you imagine going to your physician and asking how much his or her fee will be and getting the answer that it will depend on how long it takes to do the physical exam and testing? Actually, forget about what you imagine, and think about how health insurance companies would react. How could they price their policies?

We have read and heard a great deal about the future of the legal industry, but what we read and hear focuses more on effect than on cause, with the principal effect being that legal fees are too high. Our view is that high fees are a symptom of something more basic – the nuts and bolts of the structure, management and operations of law firms. The legal industry is the only substantial industry of which we are aware which depends almost exclusively on increased revenues for increased profit. In almost every other industry (manufacturing or services), increased efficiency plays an integral and necessary role. Not so in law firms. Until that issue is resolved, and it won’t be easy, the client complaints will justifiably continue.

So, there’s a short version of what we hope to achieve in this Blog – candid (and relatively gentile) discussions and comment about the real issues facing law firms and their clients. We hope you participate and enjoy the Blog.

[The author of this post is Wynne James].

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