Bringing Innovation to the Practice of Law
John E. Grant ’07 and Eric S. Meltzer ’07 are reinventing the legal services model with their new Seattle law firm, Imua Legal Advisors. Officially launched in January, the practice concentrates on copyright, trademark, media, and Internet law.
Grant and Meltzer knew each other while attending Lewis & Clark, but it was only after they returned to Seattle—Grant to work as in-house counsel with media giant Getty Images and Meltzer to become an international business analyst at Microsoft—that they realized how much they had in common. Grant started his own practice after about a year and Meltzer joined him several months later. At first they had a typical small firm.
“John and I each had successful stints with technology companies before going to law school,” says Meltzer. “We saw that the culture of innovation, so critical to the success of high tech companies, was sorely lacking in law firms. As we watched the markets crash, we knew that traditional legal practices would only limit opportunities for ourselves, our communities, and our profession. We had to find a new and different way.”
Grant had been brainstorming new approaches to delivering legal services for years and was ready to put his ideas into action. “We wanted to develop practices that were truly client-focused,” said Grant. “We kept hearing from potential clients that their fear of lawyers was greater than their fear of legal problems, and we set out to change that.”
First, Grant and Meltzer instituted a project-based pricing system. After listening to the client describe his or her needs, the partners give a firm bid up front. If the project requires more time than Grant and Meltzer anticipated, the client is not held accountable for the extra expense. If the project takes less time, Grant and Meltzer pass the savings on to the client. They describe it as a win-win situation for clients, who so far have given very positive feedback.
The firm also focuses on educating clients about the legal work itself. Grant and Meltzer encourage clients to handle some of the simple matters themselves in order to save on legal services fees. The combination of the project-based pricing model and education-based practice, they feel, puts the client at the helm of their legal issues.
“Eric and I are committed to innovative legal products and services that empower clients and deliver exceptional value,” says Grant, who reports that business is growing rapidly.
“I think Lewis & Clark was an ideal place for us to develop and refine the creativity, flexibility, and courage needed to succeed in law today,” says Meltzer. “We’re very excited about the future.”
To learn more about Imua Legal Advisors, visit www.imualaw.com.