Practical Law Company – Creating Efficiency for Lawyers (2009)

Practical Law Company, Inc. was selected for creating efficiency for business lawyers.  Practical Law Company (PLC) is changing the way business lawyers work.  It employs attorneys with significant experience practicing with the world’s leading law firms and legal departments (e.g., Davis Polk, Skadden, Sullivan & Cromwell, Pfizer) to provide practical, up-to-date resources that help business lawyers practice more efficiently and provide greater value to clients. PLC provides the practical, generic level of information needed by all business lawyers that allows them to get up to speed quickly, stop reinventing the wheel, and focus on client- and firm-specific work. It launched its first U.S. services in December 2008 to wide market acceptance. PLC began in the UK in 1990.

by Ian Nelson

1. What goal were you trying to achieve? Why was it important?

We are trying to make a positive impact on the movement towards greater efficiency in the delivery of legal services for clients, law firms and individual attorneys.  It is important because these times demand a new and better way of doing things and those that do not adapt to change will be replaced by those who do.

2. How did you gather the internal support, resources and personnel to make it happen? Was there resistance?

Our organization was founded on the principle of innovation, so it was not difficult to get people within Practical Law Company to support our new US efforts.  The legal industry is historically slow to change, so the resistance in theUSwe initially received was primarily due to the fact that we are offering something new.

3. What was the most satisfying aspect of making your project a reality?

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of making the project a reality is seeing how we are really helping attorneys at the frontlines and making a positive impact in their days.  Any time we receive feedback from an attorney telling us how much our resources were able to help them, it is deeply satisfying.

4. How have you measured the success of your innovation over time?

We just recently launched the service this year, but in the short time we have been active in theUS, we have seen widespread acceptance and adoption by US firms and legal market in general.

5. How have your lawyers, staff and clients responded to this innovative accomplishment?

Our staff and clients have responded very well.  We are still educating theUSmarket about our company and how we help business lawyers but people have been very interested in learning about us and seeing the service for themselves.

6. What has been the reaction from your competitors, or from the local legal community and media?

We offer a unique service, so the legal community has been very interested in learning about what we offer.  While we are very established in theUK, we are still gaining recognition here in the States. The legal market has been curious, and at the same time, quite positive.

7. What advice do you have for others who might wish to make something new happen in their law practice or firm?

Do not be afraid of trying to creating something new.  Without new ideas and processes, things will never change. Even though the economy is not where we’d all like it to be, this is in fact a great time to try new initiatives that are geared towards efficiency, value and change.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about your experience with this project?

Participating in this project was very rewarding. It was great to meet so many people that are dedicated to innovation in the delivery of legal services.  We were deeply honored to have been recognized for our accomplishment and we hope to stay involved with theCollegeofLaw Practice Managementfor a long time to come.