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Clearspire’s Revolutionary Journey from a Virtual Law Firm to a Legal Services Company

06/06/14

Clearspire's Revolutionary Journey from a Virtual Law Firm to a Legal Services Company


Clearspire, the virtual law firm that made headlines last year with its revolutionary moves of opening miniscule brick and mortar outposts and connecting all its lawyers through electronic media channels, has announced it has shut the doors of its law firm and evolving to the next plane of a legal services company.

The company, founded by Bryce Arrowood and civil trial lawyer Mark Cohen, announced on its website, "For five, years, Clearspire led the charge in revolutionizing the 21st Century workplace and the delivery of legal services. We built a reengineered law firm as an alternative to BigLaw and, in the process, challenged the entrenched legal industry to think and act differently."

We are not sure how much the legal industry is thinking and acting differently, but Clearspire sure is doing so. Claiming, "Our law firm was a laboratory," the website of the firm said, "Now the time has come to scale. We're taking Clearspire to the next level with a mission to empower not a law firm, but all law firms."

Considering the co-founder Bryce Arrowood has the experience of building the first temporary legal staffing firm in the U.S., before forming Clearspire, we can expect something built on both knowledge and market savvy. However, whether the expected offerings of legal services and infrastructure networks for other law firms will survive in a competitive space dominated by big names is a question that the market will require to answer.

While failures certainly create the pillars on which success is built, in itself, Clearspire has failed to demonstrate that its current model, software, or infrastructure is sufficient to sustain a law firm entity, let alone bring growth. The situation would have been much different, of course, if the "laboratory" had shown and proved the continuing sustenance of a thriving law firm.

When it was running well, Clearspire Law Co., the virtual law firm, used to outsource all its processes and commoditized legal work to its sister company Clearspire Services Co. This had supposedly halved overhead costs when compared to traditional law firms. The firm claimed their business model reduced client fees in complex legal matters while maintaining standard salaries for staff and lawyers.

Using Coral, the software developed by Clearspire, lawyers and staff remained connected while being grouped by practice area, client matter and location. The model had caught the fancy of general counsel of big companies in the beginning.

However, law firms themselves have started to change and adapt their models fast adopting latest technology, use of social media, intranet, global intranet, blogging and specialized software. In the midst of such an environment, it would be interesting to observe what Clearspire achieves at its next level of existence.

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