In Part I of this blog series I talked about “The Tesco Law” threatening the commercial growth of legal firms, and why clients might choose new entrants. Today I’m going to delve a little bit deeper into the DNA of Law Firms to find out how they can combat this threat.
Successful businesses in 2012 are filled with people who are rewarded for shaking things up and generating game-changing products or services.
The DNA of a law firm offers little mechanism or incentive to let in the good and get rid of the bad. Knowledge and practises are institutionalized and the structure is not set up on corporate lines so they remain ill- equipped to evaluate their own systems.
Neither do they possess the commercial training that is commonplace at other commercial services firms. Without disruption, and engagement, traditional law firms will become increasingly marginalised, in the same way that stockbroking, dental care, record sales, movies and money lending have gone the way of online trading, dental clinics, iTunes, Netflix and Wonga.
Following extensive research, involving over 200 discussions with managing partners, partners, associates and professional support staff, it is clear that the need for change has been acknowledged but that most firms lack both the incentive and the know-how.
WHAT CAN LAW FIRMS DO TO COMBAT THIS THREAT?
1 Do Nothing
Stand by and watch as revenues are eroded as new entrants grow ever stronger. This is what most firms will do, heads in the sand, continuing to bill and hoping for the best.
Embrace the need to improve the commercial efficacy of your firm. This starts from the top down, with Management buy-in and agreed cultural protocols, and then moves down the Firm to the newest Associates.
A large part of this is effective commercial training. Most Managing Partners will spend considerable time training their people, but few have the right commercial training to change behaviours and set a path to greater sales.
Tear down your firm’s internal structure and reshape it to mirror a typical commercial services firm. This will probably only occur in boutique firms, those with a strong contingent of upwardly mobile senior partners or in those where the Managing Director has real vision.
In the final Part 3 of this series I will be revealing the type of training solution that will begin to develop a more commercial edge in your Fee Earners.
At Natural Training we are committed to helping Law Firms develop a commercial edge. Contact us today to find out more.