Legal practice is at a watershed. Keeping ahead with a clear focus is ever more critical, not just so as to maintain and to maximise the value in your practice, but to survive.
The way things were done yesterday are increasingly irrelevant: they are likely to be expensive, bureaucratic, and at odds with client demands for accessible, responsive, transparent, and cost-effective services. Nobody wants to be left behind by more aggressive challengers, so it’s absolutely critical to keep your strategic plans under constant review. What do you want to achieve? How? And, at what cost? How can you get ahead of the game? Maybe a Lexcel accreditation?
But it’s not merely technological solutions such as IBM Watson or Ross that are already slashing overhead and driving innovation for many firms. And they aren’t the exclusive answer. Innovative thinking, in terms of how to get more out of less, is an acid test for success. It really is essential to challenge established – and maybe entrenched – thinking, to exploit client opportunities, and to work differently. What worked last year will not necessarily work next year.
It’s not just losing clients and market share that matters. Firms that don’t have a clear vision and a path to success risk losing their key people, as rain-makers realise that the firm is going nowhere. Few want to stay in a firm that is slowly dying, whose business model is made irrelevant by outside forces, or where owners haven’t thought about what they want to achieve, or what the firm’s place should be in a fast-changing world. It’s difficult and expensive to replace talent, time-consuming to nurture it, and lateral hires are risky. You need to find a balance between moribund refusal to change and uncontrolled high-risk expansion.
Your current thinking can only get you so far. You need to be constantly improving, learning new skills, trying out different ideas, maybe different areas of work. New thinking will bring you results that you haven’t achieved. If you always do the same things, your results will speak for themselves.
But there are only so many hours in the day to do the client work, supervise the team, manage the practice, and market it – let alone to think about the future. Or to implement the change you’ve decided on.
What’s essential is to remain in control. Be sure that you anticipate adequately, such that decisions are yours to take, rather than have them forced on you. If your back’s against the wall, the options are much more limited – and generally much less comfortable. And by then, it’s usually too late.
At Enderley we have a wealth of experience of imaginative and workable solutions for busy lawyers. Where appropriate, we partner with a major firm of Chartered Accountants, especially when dealing with valuations and with tax advice.
We are confident that we can guide you to a positive and effective outcome. The next pages in this series of blogs will demonstrate how we do it.