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One of the recurring themes running through our LexisNexis reports this year is the evolution of the legal profession; what seemed like radical transformation 2-3 years ago has recently become business as usual.
Law firms are now waking up to the fact that their profession has entered a new era. And while they have been focused inwardly over the last few years, dealing with major industry developments and slow economic recovery, another significant development has been taking place alongside. The legal profession has seen a new breed of smart customer emerge – tech savvy, value conscious and increasingly aware of their own importance as consumers.
Clients are becoming progressively more demanding and reports suggest that those who are unable to service this new type of client are unlikely to survive the next five years.
Surely in a client-driven, hyper-competitive market, the voice of the client will be heard loud and clear throughout the firm? Yet, according to the latest LexisNexis Report, Amplifying the Voice of the Client, this doesn’t always seem to be the case.
The research, conducted in partnership with Judge Business School, found a significant disconnect in how law firms listen and act on the voice of the client. What’s more, while both lawyers and clients seem to be aware of the disconnect, their interpretations of the magnitude and underlying causes are different.
The report suggests that this disconnect means many clients are making moves away from larger law firms. 25% of clients mentioned a move to bring more of the business in-house. Several clients are willing to seek non-traditional solutions. And some clients have started working with smaller firms who, they say, offer the flexibility, visibility and responsiveness they do not get from the top-50 law firms.
So what’s the problem? If we’re agreed that law firms won’t survive unless they start putting the client at the heart of what they do, why do some clients still feel their voices are not being heard?
The research suggests there are three persistent causes of the disconnect.
The report does confirm, however, that evidence from other professional service sectors suggests the disconnect can be repaired though concrete actions. There are, broadly, five recommendations:
The full report, with detailed solutions and analysis, can be viewed at: lexisnexis.co.uk/clientvoice
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