Monthly Archives: July 2014

These thoughts on transforming legal service delivery from Deloitte apply to law firms as well as in-house legal

Inside CounselAn excellent series of short articles here (parts 1, 2 and 3 in a 4 part series) from Nikhil Lala, Gail Blauer, and Michael Caplan – all from Deloitte, published in Inside Counsel; well worth reading if you head up an in-house legal team or are working with them:

As organizations have evolved and become more complex, so too have their service delivery needs for functional and business support processes. Generally speaking, service delivery transformation (SDT) seeks to help organizations in their efforts to create a flexible, scalable and efficient service delivery model — one that can enhance enterprise value by enabling cost-effective growth, supporting strong internal controls and compliance, and providing consistent global service delivery. Through SDT, organizations can evaluate the range of service delivery options — insource vs. outsource, onshore vs. offshore — to develop and execute a tailored strategy that addresses long term organizational needs.

Corporate legal departments are no exception to the SDT paradigm and, in fact, have a significant opportunity to implement such improvements to their modes of service delivery. “

If you want to discuss your plans to restructure your delivery of legal services, check us out at www.inpractice.co.uk  and call Allan Carton on +44 (0)161 929 8355 to find out more about what our approach might be in your particular circumstances.

Simple steps to help your lawyers get back to “networking” effectively again.

Nathan Smith introduces some simple steps that many have forgotten about when it comes to networking to generate more business.

Why do it and what hinders?

Networking holds an important role one way or another in running any legal business.  It is the mechanism for establishing the foundations of new professional relationships as well as strengthening existing business relationships – and this is before you even consider raising the presence of your brand.

However, the pressure on time has meant that time for lawyers to engage meaningfully with contacts is being squeezed; networking events are increasingly becoming breakfast meetings, ahead of the working day, and often take place outside of regular working hours.

Long gone are the days when networking consisted solely of a round of golf, or luxury dinner with a client. Although events like this are great for building long term business relationships, nowadays there is greater pressure on time and emphasis on speed of making the connections; also, the number of online and offline channels for networking means there are now almost too many options to cope with, so decisions on priorities have to be made – and even that slows lawyers down in getting on with doing it.

Technological advances, changes to job roles and increased organisational pressure have all had an impact on the day-to-day running of business. While some of these changes have impacted positively, there are some aspects which many will argue have been affected negatively – one being how your people “network”.

So how can lawyers ensure they are getting the most out of their networking event?   You just can’t afford to attend every event in the neighbourhood on the off chance of meeting someone who is of some benefit to your business – although it’s surprising how often new opportunities arise from totally unexpected sources, so there is a danger in closing down options!

Plan – get some structure

  1. Exhibitions and networking events often take place at regular intervals throughout the year. For example, your Chamber of Commerce probably meets once a month. Often the dates for these can be provided in advance, and this can help you to create a content calendar to help systemise your networking diary.
  2. Plan a networking event ahead of time to ensure the important ones are not forgotten, that you aren’t overstretching and have a plan of action that fits for the event.
  3. Ask for delegate lists and updates – well in advance for starters.  Many organisers won’t provide them until you ask for them.  You want an update the day before if possible.
  4. Research potential delegates and their business on LinkedIn and Twitter if you know who they are in advance and share that knowledge with anyone else attending.  It makes a world of difference! And keep that information for future reference.
  5. Allocate certain events to specific members within your team to match the likely legal interests and needs of potential prospects attending – based on the content and/or context of the event.
  6. Although it might seem somewhat obvious, make sure you are attending the right events. Prior to booking your place research the event, its objectives, and the audience it is targeting- it may also be worth asking the event organiser for a list of delegates to be sure that this is an event you should attend. It is a simple saying but there is a lot of truth in ‘quality over quantity’.
  7. Always ask for a programme timetable; many trade and professional exhibitions span over a number of days so making sure you target the specific one that is of most value to you and your business ensures you get the most gains from your efforts away from the office. Do this for every event that you decide is important for your business and make sure that you attend at events fully prepared.

Follow up is where most lawyers fail most often

What can be done after any network meeting to ensure the business cards you have collected don’t just gather dust on your desk?

  1. It is vital to systemise the business cards you been given, connect with people via LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media channels.
  2. A few days after the event it may also be worth sending potential prospective clients and new business connections a follow up email, reintroducing yourself, the work you do, and ending with a short message regarding possible ventures they may be considering and how you and your business could help.
  3. If appropriate, arrange an informal follow up meeting with them where you can discuss possible opportunities.

These new contacts can then be added into your company’s CRM system if you have one. Here you can effectively systemise your entire network from one single solution. Systemising your networking can improve consistency amongst your client relationships, potential clients and business leads.

  • It is worth investing time in recording interactions you have and the outcome of them, where appropriate. This need not be complex and could involve a simple spreadsheet linked to a database which is shared throughout the company via the cloud. Again, this lends itself to consistency amongst customers, and also ensures you are able to maintain a healthy business relationship.
  • While networking events may predominantly serve to open the door to potential new referrers, it can also be a useful tool when looking to expand your client base.  Keeping business leads and client leads separate is good practice to ensure any future communications you have with them are relevant to them – target specific.
  • Get all departments within your business to operate from a single client/customer record. Investing in a system which allows for real time updates and amendments enables you to get an accurate account of a particular business relationship at any time. Single files ensure that contact is consistent and delivered at appropriate times throughout the customer cycle. Marketing teams for example, would not deliver prospective sales marketing collateral to prospects that are already about to embark on your services.

While these are just a small number of simple steps and practices you can take to ensure your networking is systemised and methodical, much more can be done.

By implementing and using CRM in your business, you can effectively track, update and record your business relationships and ensure that every time you meet a potential client, you aren’t constantly going over old ground with them.

Remember though, while CRM provides you with the technology to engage with your client base, it unfortunately does not give you the message you should convey; and so ensuring that this is cohesive and suitable for the target audience is key to best practice, and getting the most out of both networking and your CRM solution.

To discuss how your practice can adopt more of what is recommended here or in other ways to generate more business and make it more profitable, call Nathan Smith or Allan Carton on 0161 919 8355 or contact us here.  Happy to talk for 30 minutes for free if it can help.

Crimson Wine Tastings – sign up for the next one.

Crimson Wine Tasting at the Wine Library, July 2014

Some of the wines on test at the Wine Library

I attended another wine tasting with our CRM implementation partners Crimson at another excellent venue – in the atmospheric arch-roofed cellars of the Wine Library in London – last night, which was very pleasant; the third wine tasting event they have run this year and they’ve all been very enjoyable – a great relaxed way to renew contact, meet new people from other practices and get to know each other better.

The farm house cheeses from Philippe Olivier in Boulogne and pates deserve a mention as they are so good.  The proprietor, Peter Prescott who hosted the evening, has been importing them from two generations over the last 26 years that he has been here.  Our French guests were impressed, so this is a place worth visiting for lunch any day if you are working in the area.  Check it out.

They have all been very different but equally enjoyable at:

So please take the opportunity to come along to the next one if you get an invite.  You will enjoy the evening.

In fact, let me know here if you’re interested in coming along to a future wine tasting in your area and I’ll put you on the waiting list.  We want to bring together senior people working in law firms in management, business development, HR and technology.

Not sure just yet when/where the next one will be but it will be after the summer holidays.

Allan

Earn CPD for keeping in touch with developments in online legal services – opportunities, resources and issues

Internet Newsletter for Lawyers

 

 

In this issue:

  • Law reporting – Paul Magrath looks at the changing needs of practitioners and explains how ICLR is responding
  • BYOD – David Flint of MacRoberts provides guidance on framing a BYOD (bring your own device) policy
  • Electronic evidence – Stephen Mason, barrister, explains electronic evidence which depends on understanding the digital realm
  • Blogs – Joe Reevy of Legal RSS asks whether blogs are, or can be, any use to law firms
  • Contempt – Judith Townend considers the propects for a proposed court reporting restrictions database
  • Resources – Delia Venables provides a guide to key US legal news sites, legal organisations and resources
  • CPD – Details of our new 2014 Legal Web CPD courses for solicitors and barristers

New Infolaw 2014 CPD courses:  New 2014 CPD courses will all be available in July. Regular Newsletter readers have a head start as most of the materials have appeared in the Newsletter over the last year.

  1. Social Media and eBusiness for Solicitors 2014 is available now (5 hours CPD for solicitors only) covers Introduction to social media, Key social media platforms, Marketing on the internet, Social media monitoring and Google, eCommerce projects for law firms
  2. Legal Web Resources 2014 (coming very soon, 5 hours CPD for barristers and solicitors) covers Free legal commentaries online, Justice online and electronic evidence, European legal resources, World legal resources, Internet skills for lawyers
  3. Legal Web Issues 2014 (coming very soon, 5 hours CPD for barristers and solicitors) covers Media law issues, Digital copyright issues, Website legal issues, Digital currencies and BYOD, Access to law

Its quick and easy. You buy these courses online, you access the material online and you complete a set of questions online. It is all straightforward and (if necessary) Nick and Delia will assist.

PURCHASE HERE for immediate online access

 

What would you do with an extra 2 hours each week?

On average, people waste 25 minutes a day on IT, but generally don’t do or ask others to do anything about it – so you don’t know!

These headline findings from a survey of Greater Manchester businesses conducted by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and JMC IT don’t come as a surprise, but they confirm the opportunity for many firms to increase your profits by investing some time and money in getting IT working effectively.

Bear in mind that improving use of IT is two thirds about people and just one third about the technology itself.  It starts by recognising the benefit – and the need for the good of your business and your working environment – to do something about it; so these conclusions are very pertinent.

Those key findings:

  1.  The majority of those asked thought that their IT systems and service were not unduly impacting their work performance, yet they only rated these systems and service six out of 10 or less.
  2.  Nearly 50% of those polled did not report some or all of their IT issues.
  3. If IT issues were eliminated, respondents said they felt they would save, on average, 25 minutes a day. For just 5 lawyers capable of earning an average of £110 an hour, that equates to time to earn add £50,000 in fees or an extra 2 hours a week each to spend with clients and in developing new business.
  4. 1 in 5 people have reported a virus or malware attack in the last 12 months.
  5. Nearly 20% (1 in 5) of those asked have irretrievably lost data as a result of IT issues in the last 12 months alone.
  6.  Fewer than 50% of respondents had their primary IT system replicated in another location to enable continuity of work, yet over 80% said that connectivity was essential in their job role.

For a free preliminary discussion to find out whether and how you can do more to get the best out of your use of IT, call me (Frank Mannning) on 0161 929 8355 or contact me here

Build a complete picture of clients – social media in CRM

ms_dynamics_crmFor me, the most exciting enhancements to Microsoft Dynamics CRM covered in this preview of really extensive new features (Spring 2014) is the ability to combine feedback from email marketing campaigns with social media information on those people and organisations you are mailing.  That has real value and you don’t have to be a sophisticated user to make this work for you.  The beauty is in the simplicity and ease of use in bringing this information together to give you great intelligence for your next meeting with them – or campaign to target them.

In reality, most law firms we talk to about CRM are looking for the simple stuff first – clean the data, make lists, email campaigns, tracking performance – so this integration of social media into your ammunition to help generate new business is very relevant and valuable from day 1.

Ok – there’s a lot more than you will use built in here that you probably won’t use for a while, but showing what is possible is part of the really difficult task of helping lawyers visualise why they should bother in the first place.  If you can show how you can use the info they put in to improve their lot, you are on your way.  So check this out – but talk to us about the journey that you can take your people on.  Easy, familiar IT tools make that easier.

DOWNLOAD the FREE 29 page Spring 2014 New Feature Preview of new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM here.