How is the role of an IP law firm evolving? In the second of two blogs, Phil Arvanitis, IP Solution Consultant at CPA Global, looks at the importance of identifying the issues law firms are currently facing before developing a custom IP solution.
The role of an IP solutions team
Despite an increase in the scale and volume of patent filings, law firms are traditionally slow to adapt to new environments, finding it difficult to determine options for change. Internal resources can be overstretched and unable to find the time or resources to review processes and suggest points for improvement. Our solutions team helps law firms dive into what they are trying to achieve, determine whether their firms are set up to achieve this and recommend changes to help them advance.
My role at CPA Global is to map out the particular challenges law firms and corporations are facing in today’s changing IP landscape, collaborating with them to design a bespoke solution that will fulfil their particular goals and reduce daily stresses.
How do you first identify what a law firm’s needs and challenges are?
We always begin with an open discussion, talking to law firms about their day-to-day challenges and the wider implications of these challenges. Is too much time being spent on administrative tasks? Can the accuracy of IP information be improved? Is the firm capturing all its overheads in hourly or fixed fees and analysing where there is room for process improvement? There is no ‘one size fits all’ for an IP solution.
Can you describe how this process takes place in law firms?
By leveraging the experience we have of working with a wide range of IP law firms, we can customise the depth and breadth of any project to support a law firm’s unique needs.
Each project is split into three key phases, the first of which is project planning. We hold an initial scoping call with a law firm’s project sponsors to understand key business objectives and determine what is most important to the law firm in question. Is it critical to minimise the administrative workload of paralegals, or does data verification need to be given more attention? With this insight we can define the scope, methodology and deliverables needed for an IP solution.
We then investigate the law firm’s current processes, workflows and how people, technology and processes are being used. These findings form the basis of a report that documents the strengths and weaknesses of a law firm’s current operations. We then recommend ways to improved internal processes, workflow and the way services and technology are used. Our report facilitates the discussion and collaboration needed to define and initiate the best IP solution.
How do you build trusted relationships with customers? What are the benefits of doing so?
Our teams are all experts in the IP industry and can really dive into the details of the IP processes we are reviewing. We speak with a variety of people and roles within a customers’ firm and have a broad view of how to resolve various issues, having seen many ways these have been tackled across the industry.
We listen to a variety of personas - attorneys, administrators, support staff and other key law firm personnel - and collaborate on designing a solution that will meet the needs of diverse stakeholders in the firm.
What law firm IP issues do you regularly encounter?
Managing large IP portfolios is increasingly complex and law firms are having to adapt quickly to the changing landscape. With significant growth in patent filings, law firms are looking to increase practice efficiency to save time and boost profitability. Law firms want to improve their understanding of the reciprocal flow of work between themselves and other law firms, providing better client services and offering strategies that set them apart from competitors.
Have you seen the role of technology increase? Why do you think this is?
Every year new products are being launched in the IP industry, reducing the time spent on repetitive and time consuming administrative tasks. Due to advances in software and data technology, there is potential to further transform and reduce IP costs, reprioritise time and increase IP quality. Through the integration of technology, law firms have more time to focus on higher value strategic tasks and are better positioned to contend with technology enabled competitors.
What changes do you expect to see in the future of law firm IP management?
The future of IP management will focus on the benefits of integrated IP solutions and how technology can provide opportunities for every law firm persona. The manual verification of IP data can be a repetitive and cumbersome task for law firms, but new automated techniques can provide firms with clean data in a fraction of the time.