Spurred by the growing complexity around legal issues and the increased risk exposure facing solution providers, CompTIA today announced the CompTIA Legal Services Program, the first professional services offering for the organization's premier members.
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The core legal services offered through the new professional program are provided by InfoTech Law Advocates (ITLA), a full-service law firm dedicated to providing small and medium-size IT companies with legal representation. The benefits to premier CompTIA members include complimentary risk assessment and consultation as well as legal services packages at price points for specific services rendered.
According to Dan Liutikas, chief legal officer at CompTIA and managing attorney at ITLA, the issue of acquiring targeted and effective legal services has been a topic that's been rising to the top for partners for several years. "For smaller solution providers, in particular, that are working more frequently in complex IT environments especially around data protection, privacy, security and data breach laws, as well as working within a number of regulated industries, such as health, banking and servicing law firms, for example -- these small companies with limited resources have found it difficult to find legal counsel for businesses of their size and the business they're in," he said.
However, CompTIA expects that IT solution providers both large and small will find value in the legal services offering.
"Many partner companies take on significant potential risk and many suffer because of it," Liutikas said, adding that these solution providers also have difficulty addressing baseline compliance matters from basic corporate compliance to filing annual reports on time.
There are several benefits offered exclusively to premier CompTIA members:
- A free annual report filing service for one of their businesses.
- A complimentary risk assessment and follow-up one-hour consultation to help partners understand where they're performing well and where they may need assistance or focus.
- Legal services packages with transparent pricing for services -- for a fee or subscription-based --with room for adjustment based on a partner's unique business needs; that is, size, scope, jurisdiction of business, etc.
Seventy CompTIA members have been involved in a legal services program beta trial since ChannelCon 2014 in August, which resulted in a number of lessons learned prior to the official launch of the program.
According to Liutikas, what they discovered was that the typical solution provider business underutilized legal services and created exposure to the business in several respects:
- Baseline contracts often didn't represent current technologies or exposed intellectual property.
- Partners didn't want to spend money to negotiate contracts when customers ask for varying terms in their contract agreements despite the fact that the partners admitted to being uncomfortable with what they agreed to.
- When engaged in mergers and acquisitions, one or both sides did not cover their bases around deliverables, fees, limiting liability, etc., appropriately to ensure the relationship works for them.
Dan Liutikaschief legal officer, CompTIA, and managing attorney, ITLA
CompTIA currently has 2,000 premier members and expects an additional 200 or so member businesses to take advantage of the new legal services offering in 2015.
In April 2014, CompTIA announced a free open-access option to its membership structure, which made research and other content available to anyone who signed up. At that time, premier members were given priority access to research, educational content and other materials stored behind a firewall, well in advance of the free-access option.
With today's announcement, IT channel partners who upgrade their membership or join CompTIA as a premier member and take advantage of the new legal services program are eligible to receive $100 off of their annual membership dues in 2015, according to CompTIA.