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?
There are too many law firms chasing too little work up against aggressive new competition with huge marketing budgets… You’ve read that many times before, but what can be done to help the smaller law firms compete? Well, to paraphrase a well-known phrase, it’s ‘reputation, reputation, reputation’. You don’t need a huge budget for this but you may need to change a few attitudes and devote some time to it.
In a guest post, Adam Makepeace, the practice director of leading criminal law firm Tuckers, explains why he was elated (kind of) by the government’s legal aid announcement last week but that the Lord Chancellor needs to level the digital playing field between firms if the market is somehow to come to his rescue.
Norway, a country of five million people, was ranked ninth in the ‘Ease of Doing Business 2014’ survey, one ahead of the UK. However when matched to the registering property index, Norway is ranked 10th, while the UK sits at a lowly 68th. Late last year, our government sent a fact-finding group to Norway to learn about how the Norwegians have run their central government mapping, land registry and water information as a combined function successfully for the past 18 years. It may provide some valuable lessons.
It’s been a winter like no other… or has it? Perhaps this time it’s just rain and wind, not snow and ice. Is this simply what nature throws at us on our rocky outcrop in the North Atlantic? What’s certain is that weather patterns have become extreme over the last 15 or so years, prompting climate scientists to rewrite models predicting more severe weather bringing more moisture and therefore more flooding. But what does this mean for home buyers and the conveyancers acting for them?
There is a lot of web chatter about the value of brands in legal services and there are ongoing attempts to build national legal brands, so it is clear that there is fairly widespread acceptance that there is some ‘brand value’ in law. But the best way to exploit your brand is to stay local and work with other local brands.
Two events in London last week were connected by the withdrawal of civil legal aid and its consequences for the justice system. One was a major report on technological alternatives to legally aided services, and the other was a Legal Services Consumer Panel roundtable discussion on fee-charging McKenzie Friends.
In a guest blog, Chris Kenny, the chief executive of the Legal Services Board, outlines the need for further simplification and liberalisation to encourage greater competition and innovation in the legal market, and says that the notion of going back to self-regulation will return the law to its bad old days.
We are now a little over two years since the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) began accepting applications from would-be alternative business structures (ABSs), and a little under two years since it issued the first licenses. I have a sense that some are disappointed by what has happened since then. In the main they shouldn’t be – the transient nature of news, I think, has made people forget just how many interesting and different legal services providers have emerged in the last two years. But from one perspective, and I will come back to this later, I can see their point.
What would you call a person who knows a couple of thousand local people and businesses that would make great clients for your firm and who are not? You probably call them ‘my accountant’, or maybe the chamber of commerce, or the local estate agents, the secondary school. All of these will have contacts with hundreds or thousands of people who could be clients for your firm and who are not – and they are local. People want advice delivered locally. Most firms could quadruple the size of their businesses, without having to gain new clients more than 30 minutes travel time from their offices. This is how.