Strategic advice to law firm leaders
A strategy is not a goal. A strategy is a means to achieve a goal or multiple goals. We work with law firm clients both nationally and internationally to understand their goals and purposes in order to develop implementable strategies which have a clear focus to achieve the firm’s goals. This enables the creation of momentum and successful outcomes. As part of this process:
- We review prior strategies and business plans and analyse their outcomes. Using our existing knowledge of the legal market landscape and our review of current legal market trends we conduct strategy reviews using peer group analysis and other metrics to evaluate performance.
- We identify, with firm management and sector heads strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the business as a whole or at a more granular level, down to departmental.
- We assist in developing the initial strategy document, priorities, action points and desired outcomes.
- We facilitate discussions among the partnership and we work with partners and senior teams to achieve buy-in for the strategy and collect and suggest appropriate refinements, as appropriate.
- Assist on the development and delivery of the internal and external communication of strategy.
- Assist in the development of office, practice area and sector group business plans to implement the strategy.
- Periodically we review the delivery of the strategy and propose refinements and further action points.
Law firm mergers and acquisitions including advice on potential merger partners and the structuring of the transaction
- We assist clients of all sizes in the identification of potential merger and acquisition targets and other opportunities, whether these be as targets, equals or acquirers.
- Using our bespoke “Road Map to Merger” we design and build the merger or take-over transaction.
- We work with leadership and partners to build consensus around the benefits of a proposed transaction by demonstrating the tangible benefits.
- We act as a trusted and discreet third party in the analysis and sharing of confidential information and data.
- We have significant experience in deal structuring including dealing with the integration of disparate governance and partnership structures, compensation systems, capital accounts and unfunded liabilities.
- We design transaction structures and advise on deal terms.
- We advise on the often sensitive issue of the name of the combined or merged firm.
- Where a merger or take-over is, for whatever reason, undesirable we facilitate and design alternative structures such as strategic alliances (usually cross border), “best friends” relationships, co-operation agreements and other private networks.
- We will, if required, take the lead on media relations. We are able to provide advice on media management and sending the “right message” from day one.
Business development and winning pitches
The typical goals of basic business development strategies include market expansion, brand projection, new client acquisition and general awareness about brand. We go deep into the entire processes of each with our client law firms.
- Market expansion – successful businesses grow their sales year on year. This is never a given. Law firms have to thoughtfully and constantly consider the state of their business. Where are the opportunities? A market expansion strategy helps determine the best way to offer services, both new and existing, a greater number of clients. We help compare strategies to determine what makes the most sense for the business.
- Brand awareness and projection – in today’s legal market, clients have a vast amount of options, having a differentiated message and an audience that can distinguish one firm’s brand from its competitors is crucial. We assist in promoting awareness in the market and the association of trust with the brand.
- New client acquisition requires forethought and strategies – there are many different processes. We can assist in everything from identifying high quality potential clients to qualifying potential leads and also in the development of client acquisition strategies – leading to the establishment of client relationship with strong prospects. We identify client needs and determine how our client firm’s offering relates to those needs so that prospects see a greater value add than from competitors from whom they already purchase.
- Part and parcel of winning business is the original pitch. Our team has many years of experience of the successful delivery of winning pitches for some of the world’s largest multinationals. It is a truism that ‘first is first and second is nowhere’. In few other contexts does that mantra apply in a client pitch situation. We design and build pitch materials with our clients and coach on effective delivery to ensure the best possible chance of a ‘first to the post’ outcome.
Advice on client relationship management
Effective client relationship management enables a law firm to deepen its relationships with its clients. Forging good relationships and keeping track of prospects and clients is critical in ensuring client satisfaction and it assists in client acquisition and retention. Law firms and client relationship partners are not traditionally strong at client relationship management. It is important to understand client perceptions from the client side and law firms are not well equipped to take that perspective – perceptions are often very different, and few firms get this completely right. We understand the mindset of clients in an increasingly competitive, increasingly global legal market with downward pressure on fees.
We assist in obtaining client feedback confidentially and effectively. We can thereby independently assess client relationships, threats and opportunities and the real needs of the client. We can suggest improvements and tailor client care to meet the needs of the individual client. We work with client service partners and teams advising on client relationship management initiatives and client feedback programs.
International development and expansion
Many firms want (or think they need) more international clients, or they have a need to service an overseas client base, or they have clients who do business outside the UK. In whichever case, we can assist by:
- Reviewing a firm’s existing international offices, their performance, value add and rationale.
- Identifying the countries and sectors most relevant to the firm and its clients for inward and outbound investment.
- Conducting in-depth research on specific locations to identify whether or not a business case exists for a new office, merger or alliance (including potential candidates). We can be relied upon to give honest and reliable advice. “Let’s do it” may not always be the right answer.
Our consultants have operated at the highest level in international law firms, including as managing or senior partners. Even established leaders may need access to a confidential, informed and impartial person outside their firm. We provide tailored advice, including as a sounding board in relation to role, priorities, execution of strategies and the resolution of conflicts. Based on our extensive market knowledge and bespoke research we can also assist in the preparation of materials for use at board and partners’ meetings. We know the market, the market trends, the firm’s standing in the market and its strategic priorities. We also advise law firm leaders on effectively communicating inside and outside the firm including with the business and legal press. We also handle sensitive sucession planning issues.
Advice on governance and management structures
All law firms need an effective management and governance structure to run efficiently, deliver to clients and internally on strategy and thereby increase profitability. As a firm matures in its life cycle, these structures may also need to change. We help by:
- Advising on the appropriate governance and management structure for our client firm taking into account where it is in its current stage of development. We also consider changes in strategy that are likely to be required in the medium to longer term.
- Advising on the performance metrics for those in management roles for use in the firm’s remuneration system. We also advise on compensation metrics more widely.
- We analyse the performance of those in positions of management and responsibility to ensure that they are clear on their function, roles and responsibilities, whether this be on a firmwide, practice group or office basis.
- We assist in the resolution of disputes or other difficult issues that have arisen in relation to the governance and management of a law firm.
- We consult on the process of developing, selecting and appointing those to perform management roles in the firm.