A Changing Legal Landscape Offers Alternatives for Business Clients

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In the last nine or so years since the recession began, the legal industry has seen major disruption.  Amidst complaints from clients over ever-increasing legal bills, a never-ending stream of newly-graduated lawyers trying to find suitable work and the arrival of online businesses such as LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, many insightful and entrepreneurial attorneys have decided to adapt to the changes and reinvent their practices.

This past summer I read a study about many of these new practices entitled “Disruptive Innovation, New Models of Legal Practice” published by the Center for WorkLife Law at UC, Hastings College of the Law. The study’s authors analyzed over fifty new types of lawyer-organized businesses created as alternatives to traditional law firms. Generally, these new business models have very low overhead, hire only experienced attorneys, connect with clients through advanced technology and use alternative fee arrangements equating to a fraction of traditional fees. And most of the attorneys who left their “Big Law” firms to join these businesses, did so in hopes of finding more work-life balance. Depending on the exact business model, these attorneys work from home, set their own hours, choose their clients and retain a high percentage of the fees they collect, with many making the hourly equivalent of their previous law firm or in-house salaries.

I was immediately intrigued with some of these alternative law firm business models; many creative attorneys are reinventing the practice of law, increasing the value created for clients and greatly improving the way they live and work. I followed up with my own research and discussed issues and ideas with numerous attorneys and business people, to determine the potential for a type of “alternative law firm” starting out in the Upstate. After 6 months of working on the concept (with many “pivots” and much re-grouping along the way) I am finally ready to announce the launch of Concision Business & Legal Advisory Group.

Concision’s sole focus is to help small businesses launch, grow and overcome roadblocks, by providing strategic assistance and coaching in addition to legal and regulatory services. The goal is for small business owners to get the legal and business assistance they need so that more of them succeed rather than become a statistic.

Concision’s main distinguishing characteristics:

(a) business services such as coaching and strategic planning are available in addition to traditional legal services,

(b) use of client-focused technology and cutting unnecessary costs keeps overhead extremely low and allows us to charge legal fees equating to less than half those of large law firms’

(c) fixed fees for most services, with hourly billing reserved only for certain situations,

(d) cost-friendly alternatives to fully-retained legal services (like monthly subscriptions and DIY products) and

(f) our meeting locale is always up to the client.

I’ve spent the past several years of my 20+ year legal career working as general counsel for small companies including a franchisor. In addition to my legal background I have many years of small business experience; I grew up working in my family’s businesses and have launched several small businesses of my own, beginning at age 20.

My husband, Steve Coleman will also work with Concision as a business advisor after having spent years in numerous operational and business development roles with Fortune 50 companies as well as small privately-owned businesses. His mechanical engineering degree, technical knowhow, vast experience in operations, management and business development, along with a long list of resources and contacts will be a huge bonus for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more about Concision or schedule a free consultation to discuss your business, please contact me.

Ann Coleman

o 844.547.2744 x100     c 864.313.7277  (feel free to text)  


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