Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Should Lawyers Follow the Cost Cutting SpaceX Business Model?

The new SpaceX project, Heavy, which was recently successfully tested, is proof positive that Elon Musk's revolutionary company is making huge strides for the space industry.

Notably, SpaceX has been able to do what NASA never could, cut costs. Where the vendors for NASA never were pressured to reduce costs due to the lack of alternatives, SpaceX has turned to in house manufacturing where vendors couldn't meet their cost demands. Given the legal industry's reluctance to cut costs, perhaps there may be a lesson law firms can learn from SpaceX.

Cutting Costs by Doing It Yourself

Cutting costs in the legal industry is not often considered a valuable concept by law firms unless it leads to an increase in revenue and profits. After all, reducing the cost of paper is less important than reducing office rent or energy consumption, because clients can pay the costs of paper directly, but don't directly pay the bills for overhead.

Like SpaceX, law firms can potentially cut costs by bringing projects that normally get outsourced back in house, or maybe even by getting some robotic helpIf a firm finds itself outsourcing to certain vendors frequently, it may want to consider bringing in an employee to do that vendor's job. For example, if your firm is juggling more than one class action, or is dealing with big data dumps, you may want to consider hiring your own data entry and/or database specialist(s), potentially even more than part time.

Rewarding Efficiency

According to some, one challenge that faces law firms is that efficiency is not rewarded by the legal client that pays by the hour. Traditionally, the efficiency and experience of an attorney is reflected in a higher rate of pay, which to a client means more money spent on less attorney time received.

The reward for being efficient as an attorney is not a lower cost for the client, but rather more money and more workload for an attorney. And if you're reading this and think there's nothing wrong with an attorney being rewarded with more money for spending less time on a legal problem, well, you just might be an attorney.

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