For decades, the legal services market has been perceived as a lawyers-only type of club with a high barrier to entry, with admission requiring many years of school, tremendous amounts of debt and passing of a bar exam. While lawyers remain at the forefront of providing legal advice, law services, like most industries, have not been spared by the advent of disruptive technologies, which have enabled a new set of contenders to enter the space of alternative legal services. Technology-enabled legal services providers such as LegalZoom and Divorceify have begun to carve a niche in the business-to-customer space over the past several years; the Big Four firms are now trying to open the door even wider in the business-to-business world, with Deloitte, in particular, looking at the big picture and trying to establish a beachhead in what could be become the next frontier for technology-enabled managed services.
Deloitte’s launch of its Legal Business Services in the U.S. in July comes as the firm has been making unorthodox investments steadily for the past several years, with technology, in TBR’s view, at the center of diversifying its portfolio offerings and increasing client stickiness. Deloitte’s core consulting value proposition, which relies on the firm’s trust across the C-Suite buyer, will again be tested as enterprise buyers seek optimization of the last piece of the back office, the legal department. Utilizing management consulting and advisory services at the front end, enabled by the company’s Chief Legal Office program, Deloitte’s specialized expertise targets chief compliance, chief legal officers, and heads of legal operations who are grappling with everyday challenges including cost savings and customer experience.
As Deloitte evolves its brand to become a solutions partner, the firm’s investments in Legal Business Services not only add another tool in the consultant’s tool box but also could help the firm build a backup bridge to maintain access and relationships with clients seeking compliance advice. These steps taken now to expand business could be strategically critical to the overall firm in the future.
In a recent discussion with Deloitte Discovery practice and Legal Business Services practice Lead Bryan Foster and Deloitte Tax LLP’s Legal Business Services Principal Mark Ross, Technology Business Research Inc. (TBR) gained deeper insights into the firm’s recently launched Legal Business Services practice in the U.S., which TBR believes could help Deloitte increase client stickiness and capture technology-enabled managed services opportunities.