Time to take strategy seriously

legal recruitment Perth

Coming into this new year, we have seen some really exciting developments in the Western Australian legal market which show no signs of stopping. In today’s conditions, the only constant is change – which means that strategy is more important than ever.

Law firms today are subject to market forces, price pressure from competitors and changing client needs. The lines between tiers become less and less clear, as top-tiers introduce innovative pricing structures and advise small-cap companies while boutiques act for major internationals. As a result, firms cannot rely on their place in an increasingly outdated tier model for work.

In this context, a law firm with a strategic plan will outperform the competition tenfold.

And yet, what do we so often hear from law firms?

“Our strategy is to be the best in every area of law that we cover”.

Mitch Kowalski – Canadian law firm strategy guru – hears this on a weekly basis. But the truth is that “winning, or being the best, is the outcome of following a successful strategy – it’s not a strategy itself.”

Law firms cannot simply differentiate themselves based on tiers, the quality of their lawyers, or “being the best” – whatever that might mean. In our current legal climate, we are awash with some awesome developments:

  • Law process outsourcers
  • Lawyers on demand
  • Massive in-house legal departments
  • Business technology applications that are revolutionising office environments
  • A new generation of lawyers less enamoured with traditional law careers
  • Well-funded legal tech products developed daily

With all these new elements now at play, “being great lawyers” is more of a requirement than a strategy. That kind of thinking has little chance of setting your firm apart, especially when we see lawyers poached so frequently by other firms willing to offer slightly more.

Instead, these changes offer the opportunity for law firms to take a sophisticated approach to strategy that creates a sustainable competitive advantage.

There are no shortcuts – strategic planning is more important than ever before. Know exactly where your firm is going to be in 5 to 10 years and you will leave the competition behind!

Check out more of Mitch’s thoughts here.

Chris Bates, Managing Director of KBE Legal Hub, is a law firm management consultant who is retained by law firm partnerships and boards to advise on legal market trends, risks and opportunities, pricing methodologies, client engagement strategies, legal technology, recruitment and retention. He specialises in Partner/senior level recruitment and is currently a strategic adviser to some of Australia’s fastest growing law firms. Contact Chris at 0411 645 984 or email him at chris.bates@kbe.com.au.

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