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?