LegalVision, an online law firm targeting Australian SMEs, was crowned the 2015 ALPMA/InfoTrack Thought Leadership Award winner, ahead of finalists RMB Lawyers, The Conveyancing Shop and LawLab, at the ALPMA Summit Gala dinner in the Gold Coast earlier this month.
The ALPMA/InfoTrack Thought Leadership Awards recognise law firms who are doing things differently and successfully adapting to the changing legal landscape.
“The digital era means that the way law firms do business is rapidly changing,” Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) Vice President and Practice Manager at Ryan Carlisle Thomas, Valmai Vickers said when presenting the Awards.
“LegalVision is a positive example of a firm that is embracing the opportunities this new era brings and reaping the rewards,” she said.
Valmai also recognised the achievements of the Award finalists, RMB Lawyers, The Conveyancing Shop and LawLab, and all firms who put forward a nomination for the Awards taking positive action to adapt and improve their operations.
“Congratulations to LegalVision for creating a market disruption that not only changed the way Australian SMBs can access legal support but that has driven strong revenue and market share at the same time”, InfoTrack Chairman, Stephen Wood said.
“Often companies think about thought leadership in an almost altruistic way, but at the end of the day an innovation that leads the market and drives business is the real leader,” he said.
Digital disruptors of the law
LegalVision was recognised for their inbound content marketing program, which transformed legalvision.com.au into Australia’s most visited legal services website and drove a significant increase in new business for the online firm.
“LegalVision is more than just a legal practice – we’re a tech start-up disrupting the legal industry,” CEO and founder Lachlan McKnight said.
LegalVision is the brainchild of ex-corporate lawyer (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer & Norton Rose), Lachlan McKnight, and tech-expert and software engineer, Evan Tait-Styles, who built LegalVision’s technology stack from ground-up. LegalVision provides high-quality, cost-effective, fixed-price legal services to Australian businesses seeking legal assistance, advice or documentation.
Generating business online
“LegalVision is a primarily online firm, which means we acquire most of our clients online,” Lachlan said. “Paid digital marketing channels are increasingly expensive, meaning profit margins for all law firms spending on digital advertising are decreasing.”
To address this problem, LegalVision implemented an inbound content marketing strategy to increase the number of leads coming to the legalvision.com.au website from organic searches, decrease its customer acquisition cost, and position legalvision.com.au as the pre-eminent online resource for small and medium businesses looking for legal information and guidance.
This required a significant investment in creating a constant stream of legal articles for their website and designing landing pages which encourage business owners to contact the firm once they’ve read the article.
“Over the last year, we’ve had each lawyer spend 1/20th of their working month creating content. Convincing all of our lawyers that they could indeed write 10 legal articles in a day took – and continues to take – a considerable amount of time, and leadership ability,” he said.
“We’ve created over 1,000 pieces of unique content, a resource that Australian SMEs can now access completely free of charge. We’ve also hired a full-time head of legal content, and built an inbound client care team to deal with the huge number of queries coming through.”
Driving rapid growth and work flexibility for lawyers
The huge increase in leads generated by this strategy, combined with the leads received through other channels, has allowed LegalVision to scale up its offering rapidly.
“The type of work that our articles generate is generally contained and project based, for instance commercial lease reviews. We’ve hired two to three lead lawyers each month in the first six months of this year, most of whom work flexibly and remotely and on a part-time or casual basis.
“We are proud of our ability to bring back talented lawyers into the profession who are looking for a more flexible lifestyle.
Growing the legal services market
“The greatest impact of our inbound content strategy has been on the new clients LegalVision has acquired through it
“Many small and medium businesses struggle to afford high quality legal services, and many decide to not use a lawyer at all. Our inbound content strategy is all about letting them know there is an affordable way to receive high-quality legal advice.”
Legal industry thought leaders
The three finalists were:
RMB Lawyers, Illawarra’s largest law firm, recognised for creating Unison Outsourcing to provide capital city based law firms and corporate in-house legal teams with high-quality, Australian based alternative to using overseas based providers.
Costs are kept low due to its physical location in regional NSW, and services are provided on a fixed fee basis. Unison works in conjunction with customers to decompose legal processes into constituent parts and manage them back into their customer’s work flow in an efficient and cost-effective way.
lawlab, a property law firm specialising in conveyancing, was recognised for their ‘Project Rundl’ which redesigned the way conveyancing services are delivered by bringing together all the parties involved in a conveyancing transaction together into one secure, digital workspace to deliver an efficient, streamlined, customer-centric, e-conveyancing service.
The Conveyancing Shop Lawyers, New Zealand property lawyers, who introduced George the Robot to personalise the remote delivery of legal advice to clients by their specialist lawyers – while reducing their travel time and increasing capacity.
Shining a light on legal innovation
Now in the third year, the awards shine a light on innovative projects and new initiatives being conducted by firms across the legal sector in response to the changing legal landscape and provide recognition for firms and legal departments who have successfully implemented innovative projects and strategic initiatives that in response to the many and varied challenges facing the Australasian legal industry.
There were 18 nominations for the 2015 ALPMA/InfoTrack Thought Leadership Awards.
The 2014 Award winner was Hive Legal, a start-up virtual law firm offering fixed-price legal services to corporate and commercial clients.
The 2013 winner was Anderssens Lawyers, a Brisbane-based commercial and property law firm who created a secure, online operating environment that supports a 100 per cent paperless and highly automated legal process accessible 24/7 for staff and clients.
The awards were judged by an industry panel including: Shelley Dunstone, Principal Legal Circles and ALPMA Life Member; Dr Peter Lynch, Managing Director, dci lycon; Shirley Hamel, Principal Hamel Consulting and ALPMA Life Member; Stephen Wood, Chairman, InfoTrack and Brendan Smart, General Manager – Sales, InfoTrack.