I speak with Partners and Managers of law firms all the time and, in my experience, a few common themes continue to emerge time and time again. Have you said any these comments recently?
• “We want to offer the best level of service to our clients but need to do so at increasingly competitive fees”
• “We need to increase the top-line fee income, but we don’t want to chase unprofitable business at all costs!”
• “Costs are increasing, fees levels are pressured and our margins are being squeezed”
• “We need to keep our talented lawyers engaged and motivated”
• “Cash flow is tight at the moment”
• “How do we get the most out of technology?”
• “We need to ensure that our quality is excellent to manage risk and exposure”
If you have then don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Here are some simple diagnostic questions to help you to consider some potential solutions? Just answer Yes / No to each question….
“Costs are increasing, fees levels are pressured and our margins are being squeezed”
• Isn’t strategic cost reduction about more than just cancelling the chocolate biscuits at internal meetings? Do you have a strategy for improving the efficiency and productivity of your core legal processes?
“We need to increase the top-line fee income, but we don’t want to chase unprofitable business at all costs!”
• Do you have a high-performing marketing engine and a sales process that works?
“We need to keep our talented lawyers engaged and motivated”
• Do your current ways of working allow your lawyers to practice law and let other professionals do the rest?
“Cash flow is tight at the moment”
• Are your processes designed to minimise ‘cycle time’ so that lock-up and working is reduced?
“How do we get the most out of technology?”
• I.T. investments can be very expensive and difficult to do. Rather than targeting system enhancements and a bit of automation, have you considered changing your business model to harness the benefits of technological advancements?
“We need to manage risk and exposure”
• Have you systematically assessed each key process in the firm and asked “what could go wrong” and then assessed “what’s in place to prevent, detect or mitigate this?”
How did you do? Give yourself a point for every question that you answered “yes” to.
Hopefully, you’ve answered “yes” to all six questions. If not, then Legal Process Improvement could be of real value to you. It’s already been shown to deliver the following benefits:
1. Improve productivity and profitability of legal processes
2. Improve performance of support processes e.g. billing, accounts
3. Reduce overheads
4. Transition to a new operating model
5. Remove bottle-necks and minimise case and matter backlogs
6. To harmonise processes and benefit from best practice following a merger
7. Reengineer processes to achieve the benefits from a system implementation