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In my coming blogs, I will therefore focus on the development of a strategy for law firms. It must be borne in mind that since the financial crisis, the legal consultancy market has registered a pretty robust growth. You will remember: it is assumed that the number of professionals employed by law firms in the US has been increasing by a pleasing 2.6% per annum in the last ten years. In a growing market, however, there is room for everybody! We could therefore presume that it is sufficient to undergo good training as a lawyer, be capable and industrious and unfailingly make out invoices. So why a strategy?
It’s a bit like swimming in a river. You have two options: you can either drift and, if you’re lucky, you’ll eventually end up in a place where you can get out of the water without any problems; if you’re unlucky, however, you may end up at a spot where you can’t get out at all. Alternatively, you can use your muscles and grey matter and reach precisely that point of the riverbank which you aimed at and which is ideal for landing. To ensure that your law firm, too, ends up where you want it to be, you’ll need a strategy.
Executive School Programmes:
Your strategy must be able to achieve three things:
- It must specify clear-cut goals for a planning horizon of three to five years. How should my service portfolio develop? In what client segments do I want to gain a (stronger) foothold? Which market territory do I earmark for my activities? And through what distribution channels should my services be placed in the market?
- The strategy should reveal clearly the performance characteristics with which you want to be visible in the market. In other words: the strategy must answer the question as to why a client should approach me rather than one of my competitors. This requires performance characteristics which result in a certain degree of uniqueness. If I only do what everyone else does as well, my law firm is probably surplus to requirements.
- Finally, the strategy should also entail you gaining a competitive edge over other law firms in the same market. This competitive edge must yield quantifiable results and lead to higher law firm profits in comparison with competitors. In essence, there are two options for this: either I am the price leader or I differentiate myself through my superior performance. Both can be very successful strategies – but more about this in one of my next blogs.
This article is part of the series «Law firm management». Read more here:
Photo by Merlas on iStock