Useful to reflect back on these thoughts from Stephen Mayson in October 2011, which are all still very relevant to development of new business strategies for law firms.
At one of Natwest’s thought provoking ”Ahead for Business” conferences for lawyers in Manchester, Stephen Mayson helpfully defined this list of 10 full or partial “Substitutions” that are happening now (with more on the way), which impact on how legal services can and should be delivered today. It should help to focus your mind on those areas of the current business most legal practices should be tackling pro-actively; although relatively few are yet.
80% of work handled by law firms is NOT ”reserved” to solicitors (regardless of the Legal Services Act opening the doors wider to new entrants), so anyone can deliver these services if they want. With all the options for new entrants to maximise the potential of these substitutions, I believe lawyers now have less than 3 years left to get this new mix right.
I will be incorporating these thoughts in my discussions with lawyers in the future. By focusing on this list of ”substitutions”, you can readily identify where and how your practice could be more pro-active to define your response on each count, aiming to develop the more sustainable business that everyone wants for the future.
Non lawyers for lawyers
IT for human beings; virtual for physical
Referrers for direct client access
New providers for law firms (including legal process outsourcing)
External for internal
Corporate structure for partnerships
Professional managers for gifted amateurs
Differentiated rewards for net profit
Equity for debt; capital for income
Brand for Reputation
Of course none of this is absolute; there is a balance to be achieved in each area that varies on each point for each practice. Effective implementation of the right mix in response should be the main challenge for management right now.
With Stephen Mayson’s list as a good summary, are you and your colleagues focused on each of these areas of your business to make decisions about how to respond (if at all) on each of them now?
I’m sure more and more of you find that you are are setting up and getting involved in online meetings (telephone and webconferences) with people located in a variety of time zones around the world. Personally, these now regularly range from the east and west coasts in the US to India, Australia, South Africa and even South America – in addition to Europe and the Nordic countries.
So this little online tool has been a great point of reference in co-ordinating people at Inpractice UK – and there are a lot of other useful tools here to help with meetings across time zones and travel – all FREE, even if you register for extended tools.
Client relationship management (CRM) initiatives are high on our agenda with law firms, where most are still struggling to introduce the mindset, culture and supporting systems/technology needed to capitalise on the latent relationships across the practice that could be developed much more effectively to generate fees from new business. Without this, it is unlikely that lawyers can readily obtain, for example, the level of insight and strategic advice they provide in advance of new client meetings which differentiated this team from others.
So it’s good to see that Baker & McKenzie have been recognised for the hard – but rewarding – work they have put in to build and share knowledge of their clients to open up new opportunities. According to the Lawyer, “The Law Firm Management Individual of the Year gong went to Baker & McKenzie London client and business development (BD) director Julia Hayhoe, who has helped boost revenue in the London office by taking responsibility for identifying new prospects for the firm. Baker & McKenzie’s client and business development team summed up its contribution to the firm as being: Revenue. Profitability. Relationships. Brand. These are the four areas where the London business development team makes an impact at B&M. The judges agreed, with one highlighting a comment from a Bakers partner on the unusual depth of impact the BD team has on the firm, saying: The major difference with this BD team compared with previous experiences is the level of insight and strategic advice they provide in advance of new client meetings.”
At Inpractice UK, we find that listening to the FD’s, MD’s, CEO’s and COO’s of the clients of our legal clients – taking an independent, objective view of what the clients really want from their (or any) lawyers to support both them in their role and the business overall, aiming to establish a strategic relationship – is a much under-used tactic to open up and develop untapped opportunities. They provide the most powerful base from which to develop an understanding among your lawyers and support staff (when fed back through interactive case-study led workshops) of a) the value of the insights and strategic advice valued so highly by Baker & McKenzie and b) how to use them effectively.
Contact Allan Carton for more information on implementing CRM and our client listening programmes.
More feedback from yet another Manchester practice involved in GMCC’s Legal Sector initiative to “grow their own” legal talent straight from school and retain them, working alongside MMU Law & Business Schools.
“We held our first selection event this morning which went really well and we are delighted to have offered 4 exceptional candidates to join us. I am delighted to say that all 4 have accepted the verbal offer which is a fantastic result! The quality and standard of the candidates was extremely high and we look forward to meeting with more individuals over the coming month.”
15 to 18 year-olds that might be interested in a legal services apprentices to start working with a law firm as a paralegal from September this year onwards should attend this REVFEST event on 30th July. It should be fun and relaxed but they can pick up some useful information too. Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Legal Sector will be there to promote the concept; all part of the Legal Sector Employer Skills Group’s initiative to raise awareness of this apprenticeship route into the legal profession, which is proving increasingly attractive to law firms and students. So why not:
Reference this event on your social media through Twitter, Facebook and your blogs as it’s a good way to reach this age group; and
Successful applicants will work and earn a salary at the law firm whilst also learning law, legal practice, personal and business skills at MMU Law School from September onwards. All fees are funded through the Chamber’s Legal Sector Employer Skills Group; so there are no university or exam fees to be paid by the apprentice and they earn a salary - but they also have full access to all the University facilities and activities.
These comments from 3 different legal practices from the group currently working with schools to invite applicants to interviews …
“The calibre of applicants we’ve had so far has been excellent … We’re meeting with applicants today and next Tuesday with a view to putting any successful candidates forward for a final stage interview with HR & supervising partner.”
“We’ve made two offers so far to the candidates we thought were outstanding. One has accepted and will be joining our Clinical Negligence team on 5th August.”
“Very exciting we made 2 offers today for our apprentices, fingers crossed they accept.”
We want to talk to more law firms in the Greater Manchester areawho might be interested in recruiting at least one legal service apprentice as a paralegal in September this year.
It provides a simple, meaningful representation to explain what “employee engagement” means; also identifying the various contributors (individuals, managers, and executives) and what they need to do to achieve high levels of engagement throughout the business. They point out two separate ‘strategies’ that intersect to form the ‘X model’:
The organisation pursuing its definition of success, as a whole: For an organisation to achieve success, it needs individuals to work together in performing at their highest level. Increased employee engagement means increased contribution toward achieving the organisation’s goals.
Individuals who are pursuing their own definitions of success: Individual employees have their own goals in terms of career aspirations, values, and work-life needs. Unlike with an organisation, there is no ‘one right answer’ – individuals are all looking for work that works for them and satisfies them personally.
BlessingWhite define full engagement as the intersection between maximum contribution for the organisation and maximum satisfaction for the individual. The challenge is to align individuals to your organisational goals to achieve maximum contribution, while at the same time supporting individual employees’ paths to personal success at work.