Tag Archives: Research

FREE DOWNLOAD: What does good performance look like for a legal practice like yours today?

NatWestDOWNLOAD:   NatWest’s 2016 Law Firm Financial Benchmark Survey Report

” … median profit per equity partner is £111,000, which is £4,000 higher than the figure from last year’s survey.”  BUT “If firms could focus more on profitability and perform at the upper quartile point for gearing, recorded hours, recovered rate and margin, they would achieve a profit per equity partner of £409,000.”

“… median profit margin steady at 24%, close to the long-term average of 25%. This suggests that the legal profession has now implemented the necessary changes to earn at historical levels.  Are firms going to be happy with this level of profit?”

… and much more to help you set expectations for your practice.  The survey covers 390 firms, delivering robust regional and national data reference points.

DOWNLOAD your free copy of this informative 2016 report here >>

This is the largest annual benchmark report to date from NatWest, with contributions up by 15% from the 2015 report which you can also find here. 

DOWNLOAD: It’s Official – The FT says clients want …

An informative, concise 28-page report from the Financial Times to help understand what makes an effective client-adviser relationship, focusing on lawyers and accountants.  It taps into opinions on both sides of the fence; senior decision-makers on both the client and advisory side from 569 respondents. 
 
Conclusions confirm our experience in handling and helping law firms respond to independent reviews of client relationships over the years.  
 
Download, read and share it with your colleagues; but don’t stop thereSet time aside to talk to them about it.  What does this tell you to do differently, better or more going forwards?  
 
We can probably help you make that happen
 
 
Some of those key conclusions about what matters most for clients:
 
Clients want a more strategic, commercial dialogue with their advisers, particularly in a more complex, uncertain and global business environment. This isn’t a new issue: 87% of advisers already recognise that they need to develop a more commercial skill-set. But many firms have been slow to adapt to fundamental shifts in client needs
 
62% of client CEOs say that the impression of being a well-managed advisory firm is an essential pre-condition of selection; but creating a consistent client service and a culture of commerciality is next-to-impossible unless a firm is well-managed.
 
The only way to create the impression of being a well-managed firm is to become one, ideally through someone taking ownership and responsibility for delivering a more sophisticated and client-centric approach to client-adviser relationships.

To explore how we might be able to help your practice respond to the conclusions drawn here by implementing new initaitives, contact Allan Carton at acarton@inpractice.co.uk or on +44 7779 653105.

We can help your lawyers generate more fees right now!

I  ran another client feedback session yesterday from one of our client /introducer opportunity reviews – which work very successfully every time – to partners at a law firm client. This was just a small exercise that covered 6 individuals for 5 key clients.

From these independent 45 minute meetings with clients we identified substantial immediate opportunities to earn more fees at all clients; also, longer term opportunities with all of them and enough guidance to help the partners begin to think about both operational and strategic changes in their business.

Not only that, but the clients – without exception – very helpfully explained how our client law firm should tackle each of the opportunities with them.

These discussions dig deep very quickly because of the independent business-focused approach we take and the advance research we do on their business.  “Columbo moments” are also invaluable.  To give you a feel for what comes out of these sessions, here is just some of the feedback from one FD for just one of these clients:

  • Need to get in now before they grow too much larger … and stick close as they are on the acquisition trail and the key contact may move on before too long.  Given the contacts to do this.
  • Should meet the in-house legal team, based relatively locally.  As it turns out, one of the firm’s partners knows the new Legal Director from a previous company, but others didn’t know that he knew her.
  • Get the legal team involved in training and CPD
  • Found ways to get the MD on board too with seminar events
  • Asking our law firm client to be more persistent in getting the FD to attend events – he wants to, but struggles to get there.
  • Employment opportunities where work is currently handled by a larger firm at higher rates and at lower levels, so there’s an invitation here to offer a competitive service that our clients (with a specialist employment team) hadn’t presented yet.  The FD believes that big benefits on price and quality of advice could be achievable?
  • Longer term, develop solutions to take more responsibility for pro-active management of their property portfolio.  The business is growing through acquisition, so our clients could at some stage soon (not just yet) make his life easier and take more control of this to build on an already excellent relationship with our clients in this area.
  • Offer a package on personal legal services to their 900 plus, locally based employees … except employment.
  • Commercial contracts – should be potential to do  more at some level by developing the relationship with the legal team.  Contacts given and an offer to introduce us to the right people (although that proved not to be necessary).
  • Personal legal advice and wealth management for Directors has never been offered – to prove how good we are so you can feel good about recommending us to their employees
  • Our clients need to understand more about their business, so he pointed us at sources of information, also what he’s interested in reading about.

…. all in the 55 minutes this meeting stretched to in the middle of his hectic schedule because we were able to take a step back and talk about him and his business.

For more information on how we can do this for your practice very cost effectively, contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or by completing this form.

Pro-active lawyers asking for client input set themselves head and shoulders above the competition

Darren Francis, Inpractice UK

Darren Francis, Inpractice UK

Statistics from Canada and the US show that many law firms don’t make client feedback a priority.  A Legal Marketing Association (LMA) survey revealed that only 10% of the Canadian and US law firms that responded consider client feedback their top priority, while 20% rank feedback as their lowest priority. This is pretty consistent with the study’s 2008 findings (9% and 26%).

Canadian Lawyers’ more recent survey of 60 general counsels found that 72% had not been asked by their top law firms to participate in a client satisfaction survey.   Surveyed clients report that firms that ask for input and act on results set themselves head and shoulders above the competition.

If you want to get closer to your key clients and set up a really effective key account management programme to capitalise where other firms are not working hard enough, contact Darren Francis or Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355.

Really useful research on use of IT here from LSN

Feedback from  712 legal IT people worldwide on the IT challenges law firms face – and the results might surprise you, whether you work in legal IT or in the IT business.

Download LSN’s FREE Legal IT landscapes 2011 report.

  • Social media use in law firms for knowledge sharing and collaboration
  • Tablet computers in law firms: Fad, or finally here to stay?
  • What’s stopping law firms from moving into the cloud?
  • Business intelligence: Now the norm, or still just for the ‘clever’ firms?
  • Document management: Is SharePoint finally ready to take on the world?
  • Changing up to Windows 7 and Office 2010: Challenges and opportunities
  • Legal IT people: How do they feel about their role, and is it valued?

If you want to help your lawyers make better use of some of the technologies discussed in the report, contact Allan Carton.

ABS Update – Who's doing what already?

With just over 6 months to go until the anticipated onset of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) on 6th October 2011, here’s a quick look at some of what’s happening in the legal marketplace.

  • Optima Legal Services have been unravelling their relationship with Capita following the SRA’s intervention, with Capita’s share option being terminated, and Optima’s agreement to pay back the £35m loan it received from Capita.
  • Co-operative Legal Services (part of the Co-operative Group) plan to apply for an ABS licence at the earliest opportunity, possibly as soon as August.
  • Vamco (the repair management and credit hire specialist) is planning to take over a branch of Nesbit Law Group (under the name Kingsley Law).
  • DAS (the Legal Expenses Insurer) intends to purchase Bristol law firm CW Law once permitted.
  • ABStract Legal Holdings has brought within its group Accident Advice Helpline (the Claims Management Company), Sentinel Alliance (the Legal Process Outsourcer) and e-settle (the Fast-track Claims System).
  • Judicata (the Legal Process Outsourcer) has been working with Premex (the medical reporting company).
  • Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Managed Legal Services will provide employment law advice across Colt’s (the Information Delivery Platform’s) European businesses.
  • AA and SAGA (the insurance companies owned by the same Private Equity firm) have tied up with Cogent Law (part of the Parabis Group) to offer on-line document assembly services, with the creation of Saga Legal Services.

To find out more, or how your firm may benefit from ABS, contact Ben Holmes, Managing Director at Invest In Law Ltd – www.investinlaw.com – at info@investinlaw.com

Beware smiling assassins!

Smiling AssassinCustomer advocates are the holy grail of customer management.  These much sought after and highly valuable customers attract new business through word of mouth recommendations without the need for a reward, defend reputations publicly and act as a positive force within a customer base.

However, as with all stories of good and evil, there are also dark forces at work. Highly toxic customers, who endanger your business and damage your reputation through negative word of mouth recommendations, I call these customers smiling assassins!

But how do we identify smiling assassins and more importantly, what can we do about them?  To help you spot assassins, consider an experience where you didn’t receive the level of service you expected or paid for, e.g. at a restaurant or a hotel. Did you complain? Or did you simply smile and say “yes fine” when asked “was everything ok?“, rather than “no it was bloody awful and I’m not coming back because of …!“ If so, you are a smiling assassin, especially if you create negative word of mouth.

The majority of consumers are smiling assassins. They don’t set out to be, often they want to voice an opinion or provide feedback but there is no method for doing this. Others don’t want to engage in a dialogue that could lead to embarrassment or confrontation so they simply smile, say “yes fine” and walk away, forever.  Businesses also make it difficult for customers and employees to facilitate feedback.  They see complaints as a nuisance or a distraction; if we ignore them they’ll go away one contact centre manager told me recently. This “burying of heads in the sand” approach and the ignorance of real customer insight is extremely dangerous and results in many missed opportunity to improve services for all customers.

The answer to finding and converting assassins is to take the emotion out of the feedback process and to make it simple. Encouraging customers to be critical is free consultancy, but don’t ask them to complete lengthy questionnaires or send them to a website.  Be sincere, simple and make the communication work for them.  Remember that you are using their time and their thoughts. Capture their issues, concerns and comments, then act upon them. If you can recover the assassin they are highly likely to become an advocate; then rather than tell others how bad you are, they will tell them how you listen, respond and actually care. If you don’t look after your customers, somebody else will, and evil will prevail!

Check out some recent research here from the MoJ that demonstrates just how prevalent this problem is amongst clients of legal firms during the next few days.

Allan Carton