How does it feel to be a client of your law firm?

When I started working with law firms at the start of 2013 I was blissfully ignorant of the ways of the legal profession. I had spent all my working years in the commercial jungle of brands, communication and marketing.

What struck me was the dissonance between the high level of professional legal work being carried out across the country by the 10,000 small-to-medium law firms, compared with their frankly mediocre approach to the commercial and business side of things.

In my experience the best firms I encountered were also run as commercially successful operations. The best law is delivered by a strong business. They are happier places to work, they are more profitable and so more confident, and they offer their clients a better service.

Yet for every firm that is actively growing and nurturing its law business I have seen many more that just seemed to be clinging on to the good old ways of doing things, and hoping for the best.

The opportunity for the law firm ready to modernise, think a bit differently and embrace change is real, and the time to do that is now.

Those 10,000 firms look after over £6bn of legal work every year, wouldn’t you like some more of that at your firm?

Using the Client Lens means change

All of this prompted me, and my colleague Sally Holdway to put down our ideas about how law firms can think about what they do every day, and aim to do it better, more sustainably and more profitably.

Driving success in your law firm – revolutionising the client journey has just been published by the Law Society. It offers a simple model for the work you do, based around the client journey that your customers go on as they interact with your firm.

I spent some of last week in the company of Managing Partners from firms across the world. We discussed some of the ideas contained in the book. Most fundamentally perhaps, is to start to consider everything you do at your firm in terms of the client experience. Not just to say you care about your clients, but to seriously find out what they think. To discover how it feels to be a client of your firm.

To do this we recommend to make use of a simple metaphoric device every day:

The Client Lens®. To set out to see things as the client sees them.

Talking to the Managing Partners made me realise that this is harder for lawyers to do than one might expect. The whole legal profession: its history, practice and education is based on ‘what lawyers do’ – not who they do it for.

The opportunity is great for the law firm that starts to offer legal solutions and services genuinely on the client’s terms.

In the internet-driven world of instant information where the customer is truly king, it will differentiate that firm from the countless others that remain firmly lawyer-centric in their processes and practices.

Have you thought about creating a client advisory group?

You gather a group of your clients together every few months and talk to them about what you do for them, and most importantly you listen their ideas and needs. How many of your competitors do this? I‘m ready to bet that not one of you reading this does anything like this. Is today the day to start planning your first meeting?

Using the Client Lens requires a real change in thinking. As with all change it takes time and effort to make it happen. We think it is a change that will bring you unimaginable insights and ideas about how to make your law firm more successful.

Driving success in your law firm – revolutionising the client journey

The book provides support and advice to enable you to embrace and lead change that will drive your company’s competitiveness, efficiency, profitability and future success.

It introduces the idea of considering all the activities of the firm through the Client Lens® – in other words, seeing every aspect of its work from the client’s point of view.

Use code DRIVE20 to receive a 20% discount.

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