We are getting mixed messages about what’s coming in terms of the well-being of our economy. Whether it’s your year-end or your Q3 or Q4 coming up, let’s make some New Year’s resolutions to change up a gear on some key things in your firm in 2018.
We can’t do everything, but we can set some priorities. My support for law firms in these key areas is called PRIORITY 18.
None of these areas involve heavy financial cost – it’s more an investment of time on your part. All of these areas though can bring a real return on your investment, and quickly.
If you feel that your firm could benefit from a “shot in the arm” in any of these areas to get you ready for a stronger 2018, please contact me. I would be delighted to talk through your needs, to discuss how we might approach them together, and to look at some practicalities like timings and cost.
I would be happy to meet with you face-to-face to explore things further, on a “no obligation” basis.
The elements of my PRIORITY 2018 programme are :
Keep your clients
Don’t take it for granted that your clients will stay with you. Every firm I talk with tells me of taking clients from their competitors because the service there wasn’t good enough. Working together, let’s close the back door. Winning new work from other existing clients and getting new clients can then grow your business, instead of just helping it to stand still. Working together, we can listen to your clients, look at your service, hone it, and get buy-in across the firm, so it sets you apart from your competition. Delivering a great service – every lawyer, every time – is an absolute must for a firm that wants to grow.
Retaining clients as discussed just above is also a stepping stone to greater things. I still haven’t found a firm that regularly looks at data on how many clients give them say 5 matters, or even 7. Firms are usually more focused on winning a new matter from a new client – which they can usually do by competing on price – than they are on pursuing matter 007 and making sure all their clients get all the legal support they need from their firm. Working together, we can make sure your clients know of all your services (there are usually more than you had thought), that your lawyers in different areas (suitably armed, trained, and inspired) work together to make sure your clients don’t go anywhere else, and to make sure that you secure the lifetime value out of each client.
Key client management
Do you have a client or clients that you only do one area of work for, or you know they use various law firms for different work types? Have you got maybe just matter 1 from a client that should have much more legal work? These are all clients that could benefit from Key Client Management, to bring them closer to you so that you get a greater share of their legal spend. It is a lot easier to achieve this than it is to “land” a new large client from a cold start. Working together, we can identify fertile ground to work, and can build a programme around suitable clients aimed at bringing them further into your fold. Don’t forget – other law firms may also have targeted your key clients as their key clients!
Team leaders boost
Central “Management” simply cannot deliver all the support and management that the various offices or teams in a firm need. Central Management has therefore to rely on Office Leaders or Team Leaders to be there for their people and to make sure the business is being driven in the right way, in the right direction, at the right speed. It is all too easy for people in these key roles to be distracted from supporting your people and business as Management and they would want to, by the daily pressures and demands of a busy law practise. Working together with Management and the Team Leaders, we can identify and reinforce the firm’s priorities, invest time in developing a full understanding of them, and can build on Team Leaders’ existing “people” and business skills to enable a full discharge of the Team Leader role.
Teams are living things. They need feeding, and their fires need fanning. Working together, we can engage with a team or teams to look at their role, their business, their structures, their direction, and their speed of travel. In this way, teams can be built or enhanced, or re-focused. Even high-performing teams can benefit from a look at progress to date, a touch on the tiller, and a re-fuelling.
Some firms have a clear, annual strategy, others don’t. If you don’t, having one is a good engine that can harness and focus the energy of all your people. People love working at a place that has a direction. If you do, sometimes it’s time to take a step back and look at your existing strategy, its viability, its execution, and how it’s serving you. Is it still right for you? How have you fared in executing it – if it didn’t get far, why not and how can you stop that happening again? Working with you, we can explore the goals you can reasonably (or even unreasonably!) aim for, your ambitions, your market place, the opportunities you can seize, and what you need to enable you to reach new heights. We can also make sure that things do happen.
Mistakes on files don’t just harm your relationship with a client. You lose fees, you have to pay out excesses, your premiums go up, and your deductibles go up. And it can get a lot worse than that. Risk-management is vital – to you, to your insurers, and increasingly to banks as well. Working with you we can look at the risk-reward profile of your work-types, at the key risks inherent in them, at your current approach to risk-management, and at your claims record in light of your business journey. This will enable you to better manage risk in a focused way, and will enable you to demonstrate to insurers and funders that you take their money seriously as well as your own.
“Money” in law firms comes in two main guises – profit, and cash. They overlap but they are different. For “Profit”, we need to look at pricing at the start of a job, who does the work, time capture, client engagement as a job progresses, and avoiding write-offs. When the bill can be raised is another aspect worthy of exploration – can we get to that stage quicker? The bill that is ultimately raised should bring profit for you that is reflective of the complexity, duration, and risk in the case. For “Cash”, that bill has to be paid. Working together, we can explore all of these aspects on a firm-wide or a team basis, to see where marginal improvements (or even substantial improvements) can be made, to hopefully generate more cash for you, quicker.