ABA Journal


In-House Counsel

ACC hails virtual law firm Axiom among its ‘value champions’

Jun 20, 2013, 09:06 pm CDT


What's all this about the ACC naming virtual law firm Axiom among its ‘value champions’?

Sure a bunch of athletic directors and sports information people may have a lot more contact with lawyers than most people but that doesn't give the Atlantic Coast Conference the right to go around passing out championships to any counsel with a jump shot no matter how "valuable" a player they may be. And what the heck is a "virtual" law firm anyway and how can they have a basketball team in the first place? I don't think that ...

Huh?...What?...Association of Corporate Counsel?

Well that's different then.

Never mind.

By Emily Litella on 2013 06 20, 10:28 pm CDT

traditional law firms can head off this competitive pressure by adopting sophisticated business development practices. Those would include adopting in-house business development operations akin to sales divisions, alternative fee arrangements where appropriate, adopting and highlighting new services divisions based on high-value consulting (this would distinguish a traditional law firm from Axiom). Adopting highly targeted social media with blogging as a centerpiece is another, as well as a robust CRM-driven outbound business development initiative around identifying and hosting seminars for mid-market C-suite executives, highlighting how your firms can assist those clients achieve their commercial objectives. Each firm is unique and must tailor their effort accordingly. The Axiom's of the world aren't going away - but they can be beaten competitively by traditional law firms who choose to adopt the initiatives necessary to compete.

By John Grimley on 2013 06 20, 11:41 pm CDT

What the article doesn't mention is that because of the structure changes Axiom has implemented in its business, it charges +50% less than a traditional law firm. The virtual platforms and secondments are only part of the its sophisticated delivery of services. It is not competing in the highly sophisticated work YET., in time though Biglaw should be worried about the Axioms and Clearspires out there. They charge close to 50% less or more, not just because they are using efficient tech but also because their business structure is quite different from traditional firms. It is so different it would be highly unlikely that traditional firms could replicate it. For now these entities will take the lower value work but they will rapidly move up market over the next decade.

By BCReed on 2013 06 21, 8:49 pm CDT

if firms like Axiom are able to compete for highly sophisticated work at discount rates - it seems it will just be a matter of time before the traditional law firm business model disappears. Axiom could always take on sophisticated practices as bolt-ons now. It doesn't take a lot of money to generate new business even for a foreign sovereign representation practice (and other similar sophisticated practices). Much of the money expended on business development and marketing sophisticated practices is unnecessary. Axiom would simply need a business generation and services delivery platform sufficient to support the practice and generate business for it.

By John Grimley on 2013 06 22, 3:12 pm CDT

Add a Comment

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.