Interview with the Founder

What is Blue Ocean Law Group's ➲ Simple Marketing Promise?

Our simple marketing promise

“We offer memberships for individuals (who find less than $1 per day a compelling proposition) + businesses (who find the price of a cup of coffee circa $3.50 per day a compelling proposition) who want to join us on a journey where we guide + empower them using innovative + proactive solutions to safely navigate the hidden ice-bergs in life + business:
1️⃣ By taking care of their own legal affairs for straight-forward legal matters (whenever practical); and
2️⃣ Offering assistance from our legal team [supported by our network of collaborating law firms] as and when required for their complex or high-value/risk matters.
We promise that engaging with our free online 24/7 resources + [Self-Service] legal documents portal will help you get instant tailored legal documents (all Australian states + territories are covered) to serve your full range of personal + business needs using “embedded lawyer-logic” designed by the best lawyers in the legal business.”

Credits:

Our Simple Marketing Promise was developed by our founder ➲ James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

The template used to develop our Simple Marketing Promise was obtained from the book “This is Marketing” by Seth Godin's Akimbo Workshops.

What is your area of speciality? The Generalist v. Specialist Debate

A very frequent question

I am very frequently asked this question in conversations immediately after I reveal the fact that that I am a lawyer.

It appears that the presumption behind this question is that “All Lawyers Specialise”.

I do have some areas of law where I have more experience and a stronger grasp of the intimate details than in other areas of law.

Q: Does that mean I am a specialist in these areas of law?

A: Not really.

The Law Societies are all clear and in agreement on this point

Unless you are a Certified Specialist you should not hold out to the public that you are a specialist.

Doing so is likely to mislead the public.

Deep Generalist

My personal preference not to specialise in any one area of the law.

This makes my practice of law much more difficult and at the same time, much more interesting.

My aim is to be a Deep Generalist.

Complex Legal Problems

What I tend to find is that legal problems have a tendency to become increasingly complex and rarely fit into a neat one size fits all category.

This means that having a generalist perspective can more effectively identify alternate legal issues + causes of action and take a broader view of the matter.

As long as this is done in collaboration with the relevant specialists (where appropriate + necessary) this approach appears to work extremely well and obtains the best possible results for our clients

In all seriousness, we can't all know everything

Generalist ➲ a person who knows less and less about more and more until finally he knows nothing about everything …

Specialist ➲ a person who knows more and more about less and less until finally he knows everything about nothing …

Taken from an interview by John Farquharson with Chester Porter QC in the Law in Australian Society Oral History Project.
[August 1-2, 2001]

What is a Deep Generalist?

From Andrew Sobel’s website:

"Who mentioned the concept of the “deep generalist” to me?
It was leadership authority and best-selling author Warren Bennis.
Bennis virtually invented the leadership book genre in the 1980s.”

He told me in a conversation:

“The professionals who develop into really great client advisors are deep generalists.
They develop a unique blend of knowledge depth and knowledge breadth.”

Deep generalists are:

➲ able to make knowledge connections that narrow specialists cannot make;

➲ good at synthesis not just analysis;

➲ very effective at putting their products and services—and the benefits they deliver—in the context of the client’s overall business goals and strategy;

➲ more interesting to C-Suite executives than narrow specialists; and

➲ tend to be better conversationalists over dinner.

If you are interested to find out more …

I have created a SmartList dedicated to this topic called: The Generalist v Specialist Debate ➲ SmartList

What lies ahead for the future of the Legal Profession?

To answer this question I refer you to my Article Charting the future of the Legal Profession: A Blue Ocean Perspective which was published in the Legal Business World Magazine Xmas 2018 Edition.

LBW Article Cover page

Since that time [circa a year ago] I posted the following update on LinkedIn:

Today I am reflecting on the past 12+ months since my article was published in the International Xmas 2018 edition of LegalBusinessWorld.

Q: How much has the Australian legal profession actually changed?

A: The report published by Alpha Creates on the State of legal innovation in the Australian market [2019] is a great benchmark summary.

The focus continues to be on structural + business model change (M&A, geographic expansion, increased NewLaw entrants incl. Legal Tech startups + NewLaw skunkworks spun off by BigLaw to complete in this space, Big4 increasing their presence).

Q: How successful is the idea of publishing the article as a hybrid mix of text + online content [Smart Lists]?

A: Whilst the article itself remains "as published", the Smart Lists linked to it have been + continue to be updated as new relevant + interesting content is created/discovered.

Our Master Smart List has now exceeded 22,000 views (well over double the number at the time the article was published).

[Update as at 15 Dec 2020: > 32,000]

These are organic views with no $$ spent on promotion.

Have you done any podcast style interviews?

Yes, I was interviewed on the Beyond Billables Podcast on Aug 24, 2017 shortly after launching Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

James Ford on Blue Oceans and Innovative Value Creation

Below is a summary of the podcast extracted from the BB website:

Interested in innovative approaches to legal practice?

Want to know what a ‘hybrid’ lawyer is?

Keen to hear a new spin on delivering value?

Today’s guest on the Beyond Billables Podcast, James Ford, has cleverly utilised information technology to create a cross-disciplinary team, to help lawyers with their business strategy and ultimately, help them to chart new markets.

All of these points are touched on (plus much more) as we meander through James’s career.

James is a lawyer, and the founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Law Group.

Coming from a background as a developer with experience in property law James cross – germinated some fresh ideas with his business skills and prior experiences to create the Blue Ocean Law Group.

In our conversation, we went into depth on the hows and whys of Blue Ocean.

But we also saved a bit of time to talk about how James manages work-life balance as the founder of a startup.

Listen to the full podcast to gain insight into more of the above, as well as:
  • What is the Blue Ocean Strategy and why was it important to James?
  • The benefits of approaching the law with other experiences/skill sets;
  • How Blue Ocean Law Group works?, how it provides value?
  • How Blue Ocean Law Group help their clients and lawyers with their business strategy and ultimately, help them to chart new markets?
  • Why it’s important for lawyers to work together? even if oftentimes they don’t;
  • James’ best advice for a law school graduate (or someone early in their career);
  • Why positive client feedback is so critical to growing your practice (or any business);
  • Why you should not peacock yourself!
  • Dealing with the skepticism that some people have of new law models;
  • How to develop client management skills and approach sticky conversations;
  • The value in knowing and addressing client pain points;
  • Trying to break the archaic mold of law firms and how they present themselves;
  • The Blue Ocean’s take on other law firms;
  • The importance of flexibility and fitness in maintaining a good life.

Click ➲ here to access the complete interview.

Click ➲ here to listen to other great podcasts from our specially curated SmartList of favourite Legal + Business Podcasts.