I’ve had several conversations recently with a common theme: “knowledge” and the management of it. I want to suggest that the game is already moving on from simply managing it – to weaponizing it. I can hear the shudders at the use of that expression but law is not a game and business is about buying and selling. If legal knowledge can only be accessed in 6 minute increments, customers will increasingly turn to that which has been “productized” into convenient bundles, packages or subscriptions.
On a recent trip to DC, I walked past 5 or 6 of the largest law firms – at both 8am and 8pm. Beautiful sleek, glass offices at prestigious locations so go figure the rent is high. Not a soul in sight aside the security guards and the occasional person watering the lobby plants. I’m not suggesting that everyone should be working at 8am or even 8pm – I’m an advocate of smarter, not harder. But the economics of law firms are shifting and fixed assets and identifiably capped billings will take a huge toll over time. It is overheads that most often kill businesses, not lack of business.
One disconnect, aside a few good exceptions I’ve seen, is the failure to craft sellable product from the vast IP warehouse that is the modern law firm. Lack of focus, lack of energy, lack of participation, lack of energy – who knows – but few have grasped the real urgency of taking knowledge and turning it into product. Others have. So while the office is empty, their products are making money. This is one of the lessons of the tech industry. It’s an important one and it has direct application.
It’s time to weaponize law, specifically, it’s time to weaponize knowledge – the largest asset of most law firms by far – yet so often overlooked and mis-understood. Difficult? Maybe. Timely? Yes. Now is the time to get out in front of the competition. No question.
A client may not buy your services but why not sell them your knowledge product? Just a thought.