Imagine landing a new account whose business is highly profitable, highly reliant on uptime and depends on a business model that must keep their administrative and operations budgets as small as possible. This is the legal vertical, which can provide a perfect scenario for an MSP to step in and deliver considerable value to their clients. But before you do, there are important considerations to understand to see success in this highly specialized field with highly specialized IT requirements.
As an MSP looking to grow your business and expand into new revenue streams, this series provides an in-depth view into new verticals you should look to go after in 2018. In our first installment, we discussed how the managed services model could be a perfect fit to serve the healthcare vertical. Today, we’ll dive into an even more lucrative area: the legal vertical.
Legal Vertical: The Market Opportunity
Uptime is a ubiquitous reason every business should have an MSP, but there is perhaps no other vertical so intrinsically reliant on uptime as the legal vertical. Because most lawyers bill on a per-hour basis, work non-traditional business hours and can charge hundreds or thousands per hour for their services, even a few minutes’ delay can be a major impact in a large firm’s productivity and profitability.
Additionally, a firm’s lawyers can be deployed in multiple locations at any given time, so mobility is essential. The legal field is a data-driven, records-driven vertical, and is defined by the need for immediate access to these documents at any time, from any device. These can include huge documents, images and scanned documents, and email. In fact, email may be one of the most essential services in this vertical, because it functions as a catch-all repository for numerous client communications, document storage, contact lists, and more.
The legal vertical requires nearly all the services an MSP can provide, including:
- Intelligent remote monitoring and management with 24x7 NOC assistance
- 24x7 Help Desk features for small IT issues on the go
- Robust backup and disaster recovery capabilities to ensure downtime is minimized
- Comprehensive security services, as law firms are increasingly becoming a target in today’s evolving threat landscape
It’s this last bullet above that poses one of the most immediate needs for the legal vertical today, as many law firms are ill-equipped to properly secure their technology infrastructure against the nature of increasingly sophisticated hacks. Additionally, many law firms are now required to adhere to regulatory compliance laws concerning personally identifiable information—providing a major opportunity for an MSP to assist a law firm in their compliance and auditing needs.
There are other IT services that are common in the legal vertical, including document management and archival, printing/imaging functions, docketing and more. MSPs who want to vertically align may want to consider expanding their offering to include these critical functions that law firms may be looking for.
Every vertical has its own characteristics and features, and the legal vertical is no different. Before entering this sector, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Value and Performance Wins
In this area, it’s not about offering the cheapest quote—MSPs must be able to provide the greatest value to their law firm accounts, allowing lawyers and their offices to never have to think about IT issues. This includes offering a complete range of services that they need, but also delivering constant and uninterrupted performance, month after month.
This means that these accounts may require more attention than those outside of the vertical, but that extra effort will translate into greater client retention and better upsell opportunities.
Resistance to Change—and How to Overcome it
Law firms are, at their core, a personal business. While many lawyers embrace technology, MSPs may find others with skepticism as well. The key here is to demonstrate the overwhelming value of managed IT services when delivered as a package, and to stress the personal relationship and commitment and MSP can provide. While managed services may not change the way law firms operate on a day-to-day basis, MSPs provide a vital role in their infrastructure—and can deliver services at a standard that is comprehensively delivered as efficiently and reliably as possible.
The Legal Vertical Sales Process
A great place to start building sales leads in the legal vertical is by attending and networking at local and regional law association events, as well as community associations such as chambers of commerce. You’ll likely engage in at least three distinct discussions, each with different roles who have their own objectives and objections.
1. Office Manager – Focus on the reliability of your services. As an MSP, you are committed to keeping their office online at all times, and building trust with this role is essential. The office manager wants to know you are well-versed in their software and their specific IT needs, and that they can count on you with whatever they need. Defining and setting the right expectations—and delivering on them, is a must.
2. Managing Partner – The managing partner at a law firm will have similar concerns to the office manager, but here is where to stress the performance that the lawyers and employees at the firm will experience with you as the MSP. After all, they don’t want to get into the technical details (that’s why they hire MSPs), so focusing on the specific value you provide to their day will be crucial.
3. In-House Tech – Many larger firms often have in-house technical staff that operate as break-fix technicians that handle the on-site, day-to-day software and infrastructure concerns. You’ll be a partner to this role, and it’s here that you’ll want to communicate the technical specifics of your services, as well as your ability to make the duties of the in-house tech easier and more productive. Working with them to facilitate their goals and alleviate their stresses will win the account.
The legal vertical is highly specialized, but for MSPs who decide to cater to this category, there is significant opportunity for scalable growth. With compliance concerns and security threats emerging as hot-button technology issues in the field, there is a definitive need for service providers that understand the space. Start small, and add clients as you go, and soon enough it may be possible to add a new revenue stream to your MSP business through this vertical.
Before tackling this vertical, make sure your MSP business is set up for success!