Change or become irrelevant: expert solutions to the law firm client disconnect

Change or become irrelevant: expert solutions to the law firm client disconnect

Disruption to the traditional law firm model continues to cause flux for the top-50 UK law firms: client-led pricing pressure, new market entrants to technology and new business models that move away from traditional service delivery are all contributing to an unprecedented period of uncertainty.

Despite many initiatives being driven by client demand, research suggests that the voice of the client is not always being heard and that there is a significant disconnect between law firms and their clients.

LexisNexis report Amplifying the Voice of the Client, produced in conjunction with Dr Kishore Sengupta at Cambridge’s Judge Business School, suggests that this disconnect means many clients are making moves away from larger law firms.

This report makes clear that if law firms are to retain their clients, changes are needed across the board; including reassessing working practices, pricing, firm structures and client relationship management. As Alastair Morrison, Partner and Head of Client Strategy at Pinsent Masons observed, “If you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevancy even less”.

It is not all doom and gloom though – suggested solutions are all doable and achievable and are standard practice across other industries and being implemented already by more progressive law firms.

Panel discussions

LexisNexis held two breakfast seminars to explore this issue and to help provide some answers.

The panel was asked to consider whether or not they agree a disconnect exists, what the causes might be and – most importantly – to explore potential solutions.

Using the right lenses – viewing key client relationships

As a starting point, the panel suggested that firms need to assess key client accounts across the entire firm. These key clients need to be viewed as holistic relationships, rather than through a purely transactional lens.

This is particularly the case where firms have hundreds of clients. Taking a sector focused approach can assist in understanding which clients are strategically more important. Not all client relationships will need to be treated in the same way but

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