Monthly Archives: September 2013

Value of shared insight and proactive account management recognised by the Lawyer

The LawyerClient 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.

“Lean” wins Clifford Chance Top Management Team of the Year Award

The LawyerWe’ve been involved in introducing lean thinking into UK law firms for a couple of years now, so it’s good to see Clifford Chance get recognition for their work in this area.  Hopefully it will help other lawyers to follow their lead; to invest in implementing “lean thinking” as – implemented effectively – it will help deliver better value to clients whilst simultaneously improving efficiency and reducing operating costs.  This is not just for magic circle firms; smaller legal practices keen to deliver more for less can do this too, provided you are prepared to commit to it.

According to the Lawyer, “Clifford Chance beat off stiff competition to be named Management Team of the Year at the inaugural The Lawyer Management Awards with the magic circle firm recognised for improved client experience.  Global head of business transformation Oliver Campbell and his team were rewarded for radically improving efficiencies of legal services delivery. The firm’s continuous improvement team of three process-improvement experts and a lawyer focuses on efficiency, tailoring the techniques of ‘lean’ and ‘six sigma’, which were developed in the manufacturing industry, to analyse each step in a legal process and either simplify or improve it.

So far the team has trained about 500 people, including more than 250 lawyers that have attended a ‘lean matter management’ workshop, challenging them to reflect on the way the firm works and teaching tools to remove inefficiencies on their matters.   As a result the firm has seen cumulative savings in the time recorded on relevant matters equivalent to more than £1m over the past year. Clients have also seen transactions complete up to 50 per cent faster and improvements in service quality.”

At Inpractice UK, we promote “Lean Thinking” initiatives to:
  • Eliminate wasted time and effort.
  • Reduce work in progress, to get cash in faster
  • Increase value of services delivered to clients
  • Streamline processes, integrate with clients
  • Improve teamwork across functional boundaries.
  • Develop process thinking.
  • Improve the work that lawyers do.
Lean thinking, applied effectively, can reduce operating costs by 50% in commoditised services – e.g. volume conveyancing, insurance claims, PI etc; 25% in “creative and cognitive” services which applies to most other legal and financial services;  and by 30% in manufacturing, where these techniques were originally developed.

Our Lean Team comprises Mark Greenhouse, Dominic Harborne, Paul Deaville, Allan Carton

For more information, contact Allan Carton

Do you know if moving your IT to “the Cloud” would be right for you now … or not?

Hosted IT services in the CloudRead the full article by Allan Carton in the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers.  Areas covered include:

  • To go hosted or not?
  • What to host?
  • How to access?
  • Who should host?
  • Contractual negotiations
  • Successful implementation

More than 2,200 UK legal practices and ABS’s now use a hosted practice management system (PMS) with their system and data held (hosted) in a secure, remote location, accessed via the internet, in preference to keeping servers and software on-premise in their own offices. That is roughly 20 per cent of all law firms and ABS’s, adding up to more than 13,000 seats. In the small and mid-size legal practices where we operate most, legal practices and ABS’s using hosted PMS’s range from one to more than 500 users, so there are attractive options for all legal practices.

Lawyers should now be evaluating how IT changes could improve your business and cost these changes. This could be a catalyst to drive through new initiatives to enable you to get the best return from the opportunities that a move to a reliable, flexible, up to date, hosted IT platform can create.

Don’t limit your evaluation to just one supplier as they have different strengths and empathies where the difference matters in what will become a critical, intimate and (potentially) long term relationship. You want to feel sure that the inevitable issues that arise throughout that relationship will be addressed in the right way for you.

There are also new providers and new technology solutions developing all the time but an established experience of working with and understanding how lawyers operate is a significant factor – the challenging culture, the complex range of IT applications that are now critical to lawyers and the demand for interaction between products to be able to operate.

The established providers of a hosted solution have to keep pace with providers in other sectors and they must continue to develop the innovative leading edge solutions that lawyers now need to become as competitive as possible.

To explore your hosting options objectively and independently, contact Frank Manning at Inpractice UK

New FREE Edition of Internet Newsletter for Lawyers Online Now

Internet Newsletter for LawyersThe free September/October 2013 issue of the Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is now online – you can read it here. No password is needed.

The topics covered in the new issue:

  • Nick Holmes explains how and when information and services will be moving from the Justice site to GOV.UK
  • Mindy Gofton of I-COM looks at how and why websites should be adapted for mobile devices
  • Carl Gardner describes how press regulation will affect web publishers and bloggers
  • Mike Scutt of Excello law reviews instances before tribunals of misuse of social media by employees
  • David Flint suggests issues to consider when implementing cloud computing
  • In the second of our series, independent publishers describe their law update services
  • In an online extra Charles Christian asks why document drafting and knowledge management have not been enthusiastically embraced
  • In an online sponsored feature Darren Gower describes Eclipse’s new TouchPoint solution – a new area of client self-service.

Tactics for that “Fixed” fee discussion with General Counsel? Not recommended.

Very short video published on YouTube by Riverview Law – brought to our attention (thankyou) by Larry Bridgesmith of ERM Legal Solutions.  A bit tongue in cheek, but very well done to get a message across … worth watching to the end!