Let’s think again about “commodity” legal services

According to a piece in MIT’s Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 48, Winter 2007 at 11, if you perceive a product or service as a commodity you will stunt your creativity about it. In the author’s words, “the fatal lure of the commodity ideology is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.” The economics of “good enough” innovation become good enough and the potential for change and improvement is consciously or unconsciously undervalued.

Sip and fall lawsuits may be high-volume and low challenge; workers comp issues seem to most people to be administrative and barely legal; nothing much new arises in a sea of bankruptcy claim filings – all of these services are perceived as legal child’s play, commodity work, except by practitioners.

Simply because a certain legal service is frequently done and many lawyers are competent to perform it does not at all mean that someone can’t provide that service much more effectively nor devise a breakthrough service proposition. To label work as commodity work is conclusory, dismissive, and not conducive to thoughtful and creative management.

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