Creating An Edge
There is universal agreement amongst commentators that the market for legal services is more competitive than ever and the pace of change is unlikely to let up. The predicted ABS revolution may not have happened but the market dynamics have definitely shifted as new entrants identify opportunities they want to exploit, for example Fairpoint PLC who have now bought both Simpson Millar & Colemans CTTS.
How do you compete with this?
Do you have an edge?
The easiest thing to do is nothing; the danger is the world changes around you and suddenly it is too late, your business has gone. Our role is to help you identify positive options before they become necessities. Looking after your existing clients should always be a priority, ask yourself why do they use you?
Do you differentiate your business from the competition? Are you offering genuine innovation? If not your clients are susceptible to your competitors.
Working together we will identify the best ways to retain your existing clients whilst creating growth and prosperity elsewhere. A specific strategy will be devised to integrate agreed changes allowing your business to evolve and cope with the new business environment.
Strategic Planning & Business Improvement
Through meetings and using a collaborative approach we will help you achieve an objective view of your business, identifying the challenges you actually face, exploring the opportunities you may want to exploit, understanding your strengths and where change can be beneficial.
Only when we have a full understanding of your business, can we then apply our market experience and advise what options to consider. Without doing this you could be embarking on a journey in entirely the wrong direction which, will be an expensive mistake.
Creating a vision for your business is an ideal starting point, this can be as simple as identifying a three to five year objective. Then we would help you develop a plan to achieve that objective, a road map if you like with key milestones along the journey.
In the process we cannot ignore structures and systems, both of which are vital for your business to succeed. If your systems will not allow you to deliver on your promises to clients or your structure will not support the scale of your objectives, then they need to change.
Lonely At The Top – Coaching & Mentoring
The role of a senior manager in a law firm can be a lonely one. The vast majority of law firm partners want to practise law and see management as a necessary evil.
Unless you are in one of the bigger practices where there is a formal Board structure it can be a very isolating role.
Having operated at this level we understand the issues and how valuable an outlet can be, just having someone to talk to who understands your challenges and concerns can be very powerful and liberating.
This can take the form or a Non-Executive role, ad-hoc coaching or even be project related.
Non-Exec Directors can play an important role in the development of a business. In addition to offering counsel to fellow Directors, they can also provide longer-term strategic input with senior management teams bring able to benefit from their wider industry knowledge and contacts.
We can help businesses keep sight of their objectives and the bigger industry picture, play an important role as a critical friend and set a long term growth plan for the business.
Anthony Hughes already sits on the Board of a number of companies, and works with their management team providing impartial advice and playing an important role in the advancement of the companies businesses.
We can also source Non-Exec Directors who offer added value in other areas of business such as finance, marketing / business development and personnel
Mergers, Acquisitions and Exits
A great way to achieve rapid growth but also a potential route to disaster if you get it wrong. Just take a look at the research from Byfield Consultancy.
The headlines are;
• 95% of managing partners expected consolidation by merger
• 81% stated the rationale was to achieve growth
• 57% of those who had done deals did not see them as a success
Going into a process such as this needs careful planning and even more careful project management. Doing all the work in house can be incredibly time consuming and challenging which, is where we can help.
Whether it is simply considering the possible market options available or helping to understand the process having found what you think is your ideal partner to merge with or buy, there is more chance of achieving a successful outcome if you have independent external input.
Unless you want to work for ever you need an exit strategy. If you are fortunate and work within a large business with clear succession planning this could be as simple as having a pension plan.
However, the Law Society statistics suggest that over 90% of law firms remain small businesses and certainly the Top 200 are far from representative. Where do you fit and have you got a plan?
The regulatory environment does not help particularly in terms of run off where cover can be very expensive
• Is there value in your business and would someone buy it or take it over?
• Do you have a potential successor from within?
• Could you hire in a successor?
We can help you come to an objective decision about these issues and facilitate an informed choice as to what option would suit you best.
Legal Cost Services
Jackson Hughes can deal with all aspects of legal cost claims no matter how complex. The experience and thorough knowledge of the team is second to none and they are relied upon by a large number of legal practices to help them improve cost recovery and more importantly, cash flow.
The main areas of expertise are in the field of commercial litigation, industrial disease insolvency, Court of Protection and solicitor and own client disputes. In addition we can offer an in-house service for larger or urgent matters for the purpose of preparing a Costs Budget or a Bill of Costs.
We can provide a full range of legal costs services but specific expertise is found in:
• Bill Drafting
• Negotiations / Part 36 Offers
• Costs Estimates
• Audit / WIP Analysis
Business Development And Achieving Growth
Unless you are in a very fortunate position, and your clients are growing at a rate of knots which is creating an every burgeoning demand for your services you will need a way of selling to potential clients. Arguably anyone can sell but in truth most lawyers are not born salesmen. Ask yourself;
Where do sales fit in your chain of values – below legal ability?
There are lots of great technical lawyers out there but having the ability to find new clients and sell more to your existing ones is rare but a great asset. This is where we can help.
Non lawyer ownership opportunities means the market is now open to real competition. The genie is out of the bottle and change will be an essential ingredient to survival.
Deciding what changes you need or want to make is where we can help, drawing on past experience and expertise of these specific challenges.
In addition there is a great deal of talk about brand strength, but we question the very existence of a law firm brand as it stands. Creating a brand which sits in the consumer consciousness e.g. IL4U costs millions and is simply beyond the reach of most if not all pure law firms. However, what is important is your reputation in the sector in which you operate.
This has to be built and protected!
Your reputation is all about the experience your customers and others, such as fellow professionals, have when they work with you. Ask yourself some key questions;
• Do you achieve repeat business? Do you ever measure it?
• More importantly would a client recommend you to others?
• How much do you invest in this & how successful are you?
Our role would be to help you understand these issues and build a better reputation, which can facilitate growth and build brand equity.