2014 has been an impressive year for the UK-based Riverview Law.  In April, Riverview secured its Alternative Business Services license, which came into effect on June 1st.   Not long afterwards, Riverview Law was featured in a Harvard Business School case study, which focused on its approach to organizational development and is tagged as being related to “entrepreneurship”.  I have also heard that this review was taught at a number of leading business and law schools in the US, Canada, and Europe this semester.  Last, but not least, a number of new flagship customers will mean that revenues should have grown significantly.  Quite an impressive year.

Continuing on its upwards trajectory, Riverview Law made another exciting announcement to close out the year:  the company has launched a series of new software modules aimed to empower in-house legal teams and the company is going to license this software to any third party. 

As someone who worked inside Riverview law briefly, I find this announcement to be amazing.  I think it would have been hard to have predicted at the beginning of the year that Riverview Law would end the year looking at least as much like a technology company as a law firm.  The announcement states that Riverview Law will also be opening a wholly separate technology business which shows that Riverview Law will continue to focus on what it does best.  A separate technology business will help to utilize the technology and IP that Riverview Law has built.

To the contrary, this investment in technology and the capacity to license it to third parties is such a unique competitive advantage that Riverview Law is poised to be the model of what law firms of the future should look like.

As a minor tie-in, I was one of the lucky participants this past semester to take the first Design Thinking for Legal Services class taught my Joshua Kubicki.  Design thinking is always something I have been fascinated by, especially because of the applications to a service-driven field like the law.  Our class taught us the importance of empathy and Joshua taught us how to apply design thinking when analyzing a business model. 

Throughout the course I was constantly amazed at how Riverview Law is the perfect example of a company that is perfectly aware of its consumer.  Riverview is able to utilize its understanding of empathy relating to that customer and anticipate or respond to their needs.

This latest service offering is a perfect example.  The company has placed a series of fun and informative videos on its website, and I would like to share some of my favorite quotes demonstrating Riverview’s ability to be a design-thinking legal service provider (leveraging impressive technology), which is empowered by customer empathy and responds to or anticipates customer demand.

“[The new solution] is aimed at making the life of a General Counsel and in-house lawyer much more efficient, much more streamlined, and giving them much more control,” says Steven Zdolyny, the Director of Legal Services.  He adds that this new service, which is in-line with Riverview’s business goal, is not an “off the shelf” system.  Instead, this service is customizable based on the needs of the customer.  Steven notes that Riverview’s ability to empathize is based on his and other employees’ own experiences in General Counsel and other similar positions.  This personal experience is a cornerstone of empathizing with your consumer.

“We empower our customers; we are experts at making you experts,” says Katy Robson, Head of I.T.  Empowering your customer is another key element of delivering a meaningful product in a services field.  Riverview’s recognition that empowering a customer is key demonstrates its ability to capture the essence of offering a service. 

Kats also adds that the new service has Multilanguage options and capabilities to support global operations.  This attention to detail is an example of anticipating questions, problems, or concerns a potential purchaser of this service might have.

I should finally note, that if you are viewing Riverview’s videos for the first time, I highly recommend the video on the Culture and DNA of Riverview Law.  Having met everyone possible while briefly visiting on an Internship, it is impossible to deny the exciting, yet fun atmosphere.  Everyone I have ever encountered from Riverview truly feels like they are part of a team, and it shows in the way they go about their work.

“Riverview In-House is a catalyst for change; it helps in-house functions start and then continue that journey which says ‘This is where we are today, and this is where we want to get to’,” says Karl Chapman the Chief Executive Officer. 

I wonder where Riverview Law sees its future at the end of next year? I for one am anxious to wait and see.