Step 1: The Big Picture • What is your overarching topic? • What context/history is important? • Things to Consider • The regulatory environment, demographic trends, global impact, and theory • How does this topic in legal education or legal practice fit into a larger context of education or business?
Step 2: Problem • What narrow problem have you identified? • What is the context/history behind the problem? • Tools: • Research on the internet (blogs, articles, etc) • Investigate a relevant group of people • Brainstorming with your team/mining for gaps
Step 3: Target Audience • Who are the groups of people most impacted by this problem? • What are the characteristics of those groups? • What other problems are they experiencing, what types of jobs/activities do they do, how do they like to learn or absorb information • Which groups are most targetable for a solution? • Which group are you going to target with your solution?
Step 4: Project of Worth • What is your proposed solution for that problem to that target audience? • What form(s) or manifestation(s) will the solution take? • What will it “do?”
Step 5: Assessment • Opportunity • What does your Project of Worth do/sell/accomplish? • How can your Project of Worth grow, how fast? • What are its economics? (i.e., Why is it viable?) • Risks • What could go wrong? Who and what stands in the way? • Things to consider: • Regulatory environment, state of the market, inflation, competition (within and outside law)
Step 1: The Big Picture • Overarching Topic: Fallout from the Legal Services Act: Publicly Held Law Firms and Other New Models of Law Firm Structure and Ownership • Context/History: Traditional understandings of law firm structures (and therefore legal jobs/education) being challenged by the LSA.
Step 2: Problem • No ‘one-stop shop’ for information on the LSA (which requires consideration of a multitude of sources) • Nowhere to discuss LSA and its implications with peers • Lack of collaboration across the profession regarding the LSA
Step 3: Target Audience • Broad audience: all lawyers but it would also be of interest to those looking to invest in firms. • Target audience: focus on law firm partners i.e. decision makers
Step 4: Project of Worth • www.lsa2007.com • Short-term objective: An online tool to access all relevant LSA information together with a forum to discuss practical issues/concerns with peers. • Long-term potential: Resource/wiki to identify best practice/precedent documents in this field i.e. terms of investment agreements and sample clauses for constitutional documents.
Step 5: Assessment • Opportunity: challenges ‘insular’ approach to the question of alternative business structures. Very ‘LWOW’ – focuses on collaboration across industries/borders. Cheap to set up and can be self-generating. • Risks: liability for content, difficult to monetize, easy to copy.
Project of Worth • Topic: Fallout from the Legal Services Act: Publicly Held Law Firms and Other New Models of Law Firm Structure and Ownership • Project of Worth: Designed an online resource to the Legal Services Act 2007 that provides information on the LSA, offers an external finance matrix for prospective law firm investment, and connects the LSA community by providing a blog and forum for discussion • Creators: Anna Donovan, UCL Laws and Kirsten Heenan, Harvard Law School • Mentors: David Wilkins and Michael Greenberg
Project of Worth • “Inspiration is for amateurs, and the rest of us just show up and get to work. But so much comes out of the process . . .if you just get busy and things occur to you in the process, you make the rules and therefore you can break them.” - Chuck Close, Painter • “It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” - Ursula K. Le Guin, Left Hand of Darkness