As a follow-up to my post yesterday about the American Bar Association’s planned launch this fall of Blueprint, a new site for solo and small firm lawyers, I spoke this morning to one of the site’s developers, who gave me more details.
As I noted yesterday, the purpose of the site will be to help small firm lawyers find the products and services they need at affordable prices. According to Nicole Bradick, chief strategy officer at CuroLegal, the legal strategy and technology consulting firm that is helping the ABA develop Blueprint, the new site will have two prongs.
The first, called Universal Solution, is for lawyers who know generally what they need but want guidance for what product or service they should purchase. If a firm, for example, wants to enhance its marketing, it would select that category and be given a list of recommended products and services.
Rather than a comprehensive list, this will be a selective list that reflects essential core products within that category. The user will click on a product to read a more detailed description and will be able to then click through to the vendor’s site to purchase the product.
The second prong, called Firm Builder, is for lawyers and firms that want more customized recommendations. This will be a form of expert system that will guide the user through a series of questions and then generate recommendations. This option will also include the ability to chat or speak with a practice management consultant.
The Firm Builder feature will be restricted to ABA members. The Universal Solution feature will be open to anyone.
According to Bradick, the developers and the ABA are still refining the model for selecting vendors who will appear on the site and final details have yet to be determined. The principal goal, she said, is to select products and services based on their suitability to specific needs.
At launch, the Firm Build feature will cover four areas of law practice:
- Insurance and retirement plans.
- Office space and virtual assistants.
The site will also offer product discounts for ABA members. The developers are working with some vendors to develop pricing packages specifically designed for solos and small firms.
The original idea for the site came from the ABA’s new president, Linda Klein, who felt that lawyers have difficulty making buying decisions because there are too many options and not enough time to evaluate them. She believed that many lawyers just want someone to tell them what they should buy.
The site is not being launched principally to generate revenue for the ABA, but as a service to lawyers, Bradick said. “The principal goal here wasn’t increased non-dues revenue. It was increased value to members. Period.”