Cordell Parvin Blog Developing the Next Generation of Rainmakers

Law Firms: What Can You Learn from Dollar Shave Club?

Posted in Client Development

Have you ever heard of Dollar Shave Club? I was not aware of it until I read Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s book, The Impact Equation. Read and watch video at: Best practice in YouTube marketing: the case of Dollar Shave Club.

I was intrigued by the concept so I decided to sign up. I chose “The Executive” ( the most expensive option). Each month for $9.00 I receive three blades. The first month I received the Executive razor at no additional charge. For many years I have shaved with the most current Gillette razor. Lately, I have been using “The Fusion ProGlide.” I have bought the razors and blades at Costco. I hated the cost of the blades, so I did not change the blade until it was so dull it was pulling on my face. Now, with my new “Executive” razor, I change blades every 10 days.

I believe the Dollar Shave Club will be a huge success and a worthy competitor for Gillette. Why? Men, like me are tired of paying too much for blades. Also, I think the shave I am getting with The Executive is better than the shave I have been getting with my Fusion ProGlide.

As you have been reading, have you thought about the lesson for law firms? Clearly, the lesson is not  about creating a video. A law firm video is not going viral unless it is unflattering, so that is not the point. My old law firm’s Austin office created a video that caused quite a stir and was the subject of ridicule. You can read about it and see the video in: Jenkens & Gilchrist: No Wonder They Went Out of Business. Given the stir my old firm’s Austin office created, I would be very reluctant to create a video.

Clients are tired of paying too much for legal services. Law firms should first consider alternative fee arrangements, including monthly fees. Second, Law firms should consider ways to reduce the cost of providing those services. For most law firms offices are the second highest expense. Your firm could have a floor of fancy conference rooms in the high priced office space, but house your lawyers in significantly cheaper space.

The Dollar Shave Club is analogous to Virtual law firms, which are likely to become more popular. I found the discussion of ethics issues interesting in: Are Virtual Law Offices Here to Stay?

What other ways can you increase the quality of your legal services while at the same time reducing the cost to your clients?

P.S. For those of you who get my blog by email, you likely noticed I had an error in my blog Friday on the importance of writing style and not being sloppy. If you wondered, I did not purposely make the error to make a point on writing carefully, and thankfully my sister, who is an awesome proofreader, caught it.

I wrote the blog Thursday night after Nancy and I returned from our new favorite Irish pub where I had a few Smithwicks on tap.  I am trying to figure out if I need to curtail my blog writing all together after drinking, or if I am ok after Martini’s, but not ok after drinking beer. Until I figure that out I have asked my sister to proof my blog posts before they are published.

  • DeanneTully

    Hi Cordell

    Couldn’t help but respond to your blog today about Dollar Shave Club and virtual law firms. As the founder of a virtual solo practice, I can tell you I’m pretty certain they are here to stay, part of the New Normal for practicing law. And I’ll share with you one story that has always stuck with me:

    When I was GC for a large publicly traded company, I always attended our Board’s quarterly meeting held at the offices of the company’s outside law firm, one of those large behemoth firms whose name I’m sure you’d recognize. One meeting, as we all sat in the exquisitely decorated conference room with a spectacular view of the SF Bay, the CEO mused to me that one of the pieces of artwork on the conference room walls was just beautiful and he wished he had something like it. Having just reviewed the law firm’s monthly bill – and painfully aware of what we had paid them over the year – I replied, “Well, go ahead and take it. We sure paid for it!”

    Now that I am in private practice on my own, that true story resonates with my clients. I am fortunate that, as a former GC, I used to be the client and I was a pretty sophisticated consumer of legal services. As such, I definitely distinguished between what I liked form our outside counsel and what I didn’t like. That real life experience helped me shape by business model. And I can say the bottom line is this: savvy consumers of legal services want quality, effective legal counseling and superlative client service. They are not willing to pay the surcharge for fancy offices and original artwork (and I’m not even touching on the whole partner/associate structure and other law firm elements that inflate the cost of legal services). Clients hire me because of my experience, knowledge, judgment and service. And in no small part because my rates (be it hourly or, more commonly, fixed fees) are extremely competitive. And I can do that because I have an efficient business model, incredibly low overhead and use technology as an ally to bring down costs. As for the virtual office, one client put it succinctly: “I don’t care where you sit.”

    The New Normal is here to stay and I say hurrah!

    Take care,
    Deanne Tully

  • Think Tall Films

    I’d like to respond to the part about why law firms should note create videos: I agree that you shouldn’t try to make a dollar shave style video or any sort of “viral” video however there are ways video can promote and enhance the reputation of your already reputable business. For example you can use video testimonials from clients to showcase their experience to prospects.

    (Thanks for the link to the article by the way, I wrote it and you can see more about what we do here – yes it’s all about video!)

  • Think Tall Films

    I’d like to respond to your comments “the lesson is not about creating a video”. I agree that a law firm shouldn’t create a Dollar-Shave type video, and shouldn’t try to do “a viral”.
    There are however ways that videos can promote and enhance the reputation of your already reputable business. What about, for example, a video testimonial from your existing clients to showcase the great services they received and the reason they chose you among so many others?

    (thanks for the link to our Dollar Shave article by the way – hope you enjoyed it)