Can the classic law firm address the needs of a start-up?

Each year IBA gathers roughly 200 European lawyers to address this question. SCC’s head of business development, Lise Alm, co-chairs this conference and moderates the traditional final session on the client’s perspective. Read her take on the conference and how the learnings applies to arbitration.

This year’s IBA Europe Start up conference took place at the innovations and co-working space Plexal in London on 20th November and covered topics such as European ecosystems, digital healthcare, why the Scandis are so successful in creating great start-ups, and an effort to create lean, pan-European transaction documents for start-up transactions.

While a large portion of the conference dealt with business trends and the legal craft, much discussion was focused on how to provide value to your start-up clients, and sometimes just as important, how to be able to show which value you provide. A continuously ongoing discussion is further whether the standard business model of a law firm, i.e. billing by the hour to reduce risk, is suitable also for the start-up client. A client which typically have a much higher risk appetite, a more disruptive mindset and less money than a more mature company client.

”As a start-up client you often ask yourself why the law firm’s services are not more productified and sold at a value-based price instead of arguably overly customized and billed by the hour.” Lise Alm says, drawing on her own experiences as in-house counsel at start-ups such as Spotify.

These questions are necessary for all organisations and one that we constantly evaluate also at the SCC. How well do we productify the service, are we on point in value for money for the users and are we able to market the value we provide to the client?

”I want to say we do quite well on productifying and in providing a value-based business model, and with the SCC Platform we are taking one more step down that path. However, similarly to many law firms, we could probably do better at explaining our value to the end users. Working with this conference, and keeping one foot in the start-up world, is a constant reminder to that you always have to re-examine and motivate your relevance.” Lise concludes.


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