The popularity of comparison sites such as Compare The Market is clear for everyone to see, but up until now there has not been a service such as this for law firms. However, this is all set to change, as the Legal Services Board, the oversight regulator, has said that it has secured ‘agreement in principle’ from all the approved regulators in order to publish information they hold about their regulated communities in a ‘reusable format’.
In a guest blog, Legal Services Board chief executive Chris Kenny explains why the board recently issued guidance to the frontline regulators on how they should go about implementing the report of the Legal Education and Training Review. If the benefits of the liberalised legal services market of the future are to be fully realised, he says, it is absolutely vital that a flexible, more agile labour market is allowed to develop.
It’s not often that I feel sorry for law firm PR people, but I sense that Irwin Mitchell’s is getting a little fed up with being asked when the firm is going to float. There has for some years been a widespread assumption in the market that it was a question of when, not if, this would happen. It has been reported in both the national and legal press as fact (although not on Legal Futures, on the old-fashioned basis that actually it wasn’t a fact).
This was a well-known saying from Max Bygraves, but it is one that perhaps all firms should consider when looking at their professional indemnity insurance renewals. For many years we have heard insurers and commentators say that renewal is going be difficult for firms, but many firms have taken this with a pinch of salt thinking it is just people crying wolf again; but having seen the issues that came with the last renewal, should firms take more heed of the warnings this year?
Welcome to the baffling world of consumer credit regulation, where the law of unintended consequences reigns supreme. Sweeping changes to the consumer credit regime come into force on April Fool’s Day. By all accounts, they aren’t aimed at law firms but only a fool would ignore them.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – so said Peter Drucker, pioneering management consultant and influential thinker. It’s a long time since he coined the phrase, and although it now features high on the agenda for enlightened law firms, the sector as a whole is lagging and needs to catch up.
The link between a client’s satisfaction with a firm’s service, their subsequent loyalty and the ensued increase in profitability is perceived to be so logical that the relationship is often taken for granted. But client loyalty is generated from an understanding of each relationship and the expectations you need to exceed based on real time information such as feedback. In fact, an increase of as little as 5% in client retention is thought to lead to as much as a 75% increase in the average business’s profitability
I was much concerned by a recent exchange on the Gazette LinkedIn group. It started with a question by HighStreetLawyer’s Gary Yantin about law firms without websites and it drifted (as these things often do) to a discussion about how people block other people (described as “people who just want to sell me something”, which I thought rather pejorative) from communicating with them. Towards the end, there seemed to be something of a competition developing between people about how they managed to avoid ‘wasting’ their time talking to people.
The two primary objectives of all pricing decisions by law firms should be to maximise profitability while at the same time ensuring that the pricing structure leaves the client feeling that they have had fair value for money. And yet opportunities to do so continue to be squandered. There are many reasons for this but the most perplexing is the failure to apply pricing factors that have been available to lawyers in many countries for decades.
There’s nothing like the prospect of losing something to make you feel all warm and nostalgic about it, even when that something is your annual16 hours CPD requirement… There is a widespread view that the current CPD system is not working. Everyone knows stories of people who register for CPD courses and leave before the end, or those who take courses which do not relate to their areas of practice, just to get the points. This is even before you begin to think, why 16 hours? Why not 10, or 25 – or 50 for that matter?