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Did you know there is more to practicelaw than just forms?  practicelaw is designed to be a repository of resources intended to help your practice.  Similarly, the MSBA’s practiceblawg is a blog for the Association to share with you how the MSBA can help you improve your efficiency and grow your practice.  The MSBA offers members a number of products and services and is always looking for ways to better serve its members and provide greater value.

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Alternative or additional revenue streams for attorneys

by Joe Kaczrowski | Apr 29, 2015

There are many words and phrases to describe it -- unbundling, limited-scope engagement, non-traditional law practice -- but there is a growing trend in the market today for lawyers who are looking for something other than a traditional client relationship based on hourly fee agreements.

The MSBA's Colleague Directory offers one avenue for members to explore these options.  The Colleague Directory includes options for members to indicate their interest in contract work, referrals and co-counsel opportunities, among others.  Members can promote their availability by simply clicking the appropriate checkbox (or boxes), and then optionally adding some text to further refine the skills they are offering or the opportunities in which they are interested.

MSBA Colleague Directory screenshot

In addition to this great (and free) service available to MSBA members, there are a number of companies now sprouting up to connect lawyers with these non-traditional opportunities.  Two such companies are ReviewMyContract and Rocket Lawyer.  ReviewMyContract is based in Kansas, and Rocket Lawyer is out of San Francisco, but both operate nationwide and are looking to expand their portfolio of available attorneys.  While the MSBA does not endorse or have a relationship with either of these companies, both are examples of supplemental revenue options for attorneys.

These systems are similar to the pro bono Minnesota Legal Advice Online program, which uses an online platform to connect low income individuals who have specific (and limited) legal questions with attorneys willing to address them. 

Lawyers are facing economic pressure from non-attorneys like LegalZoom offering unbundled services. How do lawyers compete with these discount volume challengers? Reducing costs and streamlining workflows can help you compete. Tools like mndocs that automate processes and reduce the required time to completion can also make a big difference. Document assembly programs can reduce process time by 90%. For attorneys offering flat-fee services, this increased efficiency can dramatically improve your effective hourly rate or allow you to offer services at a lower price point, or some combination thereof. To hear more, be sure to catch Barron Henley's talk at the MSBA Annual Convention on June 26 in Minneapolis.