Managing a Law Firm by Kim Tasso


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A presentation titled "Managing a law firm in 2009: Top Ten Tips" that was given by Kim Tasso ( at our 2009 client conference.

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Managing a Law Firm by Kim Tasso

  1. 1. Managing a law firm in 2009: Top Ten Tips Kim Tasso (a poor replacement for Viv Williams) DISTRIBUTION VERSION
  2. 2. <ul><li>Over 20 years’ marketing and sales experience </li></ul><ul><li>Previous senior in-house positions at Deloittes and Nabarro (WGM, Mayer Brown, Olswang, AtisReal, Hempsons, haysmacintyre, Royds, Seddons) </li></ul><ul><li>In 15 years won/retained over 250 clients </li></ul><ul><li>Legal clients: 1 Brick Court, Boodle Hatfield, D Young & Co, Herbert Smith, Keating Chambers, LawNet, The Law Society, Manches, Nelsons, Osborne Clarke, sjberwin, Rix & Kay, Thomson Snell & Passmore, Veale Wasbrough </li></ul><ul><li>Non legal clients: Allsop & Co, Arcadis AYH plc, ColliersCRE, Crispin & Borst (Vinci), Davis Langdon, Grant Thornton, Segro, Tenon </li></ul><ul><li>Honours degree in psychology, MBA, diplomas in marketing, coach/mentoring and NLP </li></ul><ul><li>Journalist for legal, marketing, banking and property magazines </li></ul><ul><li>Author of “Dynamic Practice Development - Selling Skills and Techniques for the Professions” , co-author of “Media relations in property” and author of “ Growing your property partnership” </li></ul>
  3. 3. My aim today… Bridge the gap between management and marketing (and between newbies and experts) Consider the “Survive” vs. the “Thrive” tips Prompt thought, debate and discussion with particular reference to recent examples
  4. 4. Seismic shift or temporary blip?
  5. 5. SURVIVE?
  6. 6. 1. Get a firm grip on the finances <ul><li>Produce a KPI/key drivers sheet for the critical numbers to watch monthly (fees, utilisation, WIP, profit, cash flow, debtors, new instructions etc)? </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmark performance against leading firms? </li></ul><ul><li>Balance overdue cost-cutting with investment for the future? </li></ul><ul><li>Analyse markets, services, clients and teams by profit? </li></ul><ul><li>Analyse ROI on all new projects (including marketing)? </li></ul><ul><li>Allow marketers access to profit figures so that they can do their job? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Financial Frighteners
  8. 8. 2. Do a reality check <ul><li>Accept the reality that things will never be the same again? </li></ul><ul><li>Aware of all the regulatory (e.g. the code of conduct) and market changes? </li></ul><ul><li>Support the marketers in a comprehensive marketing audit to assess what’s really going on? </li></ul><ul><li>Recognise that some areas of the firm are in decline/dying? </li></ul><ul><li>Seize the opportunities rather than waiting for the threats? </li></ul><ul><li>Accept that you can’t just do more of the same, you have to do something different? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Flexibility or fear? Code of conduct – principles based regulation
  10. 10. 3. Prepare a plan <ul><li>All partners agree on the vision, mission and goals? Measurable? </li></ul><ul><li>Know how you will compete in a tough market? </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity or “stick to the knitting?” </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the shape of the firm in three years’ time? </li></ul><ul><li>Know what investment in technology, people and premises? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do you want to focus the BD effort? </li></ul>
  11. 11. 4. Get big, get small, get niche or get out
  12. 12. Merger mania?
  13. 13. 5. Love your existing clients <ul><li>Know who generates most income and profit? </li></ul><ul><li>Know where they came from? </li></ul><ul><li>Know why they stay - Invest in research to confirm client perceptions, satisfaction and suggestions? </li></ul><ul><li>Key account planning behaviours and procedures embedded in the firm? </li></ul><ul><li>Great database/technology support? </li></ul><ul><li>Train lawyers in relationship management and how to provide real added value? </li></ul>
  14. 14. So long loyalty <ul><li>Recent panels/“hubs” out to tender </li></ul><ul><li>A flight to quality and to value </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship Management 101 </li></ul><ul><li>What clients really, really want </li></ul><ul><li>From the horse’s mouth </li></ul>
  15. 15. THRIVE
  16. 16. 6. Use new technology <ul><li>Professor Richard Susskind’s “The end of lawyers”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Declining profits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commoditisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No more pyramid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R&D </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networks and online communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fundamental re-engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Internet marketing revolution? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourcing ( , ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non intrusive marketing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook and PPC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. 7. Develop new services and markets <ul><li>Geographic expansion? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consolidation in the Middle East </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expansion in China (SJ Berwin uses Hong Kong chief) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opening up of Africa (White & Case) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New sectors and segments? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Silver surfers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generation G </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never-marrieds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New legal services? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Insurance backed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Client development centre and business simulator (Addleshaw Goddard) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fraud and identity theft </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual world divorce/crime </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New on-line services? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online mediation (e.g. cybersettle) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uncontested divorce ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New delivery platforms/channels? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant messaging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telephone briefings/webinars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telepresence </li></ul></ul>Blue Ocean Strategy ( W Chan Kim/Renee Mauborgne) promotes creating new market space or &quot;Blue Ocean&quot; rather than competing in an existing industry.
  18. 18. 8. Be creative about pricing <ul><li>Real understanding of profit sources? </li></ul><ul><li>Averse to risk-sharing fee deals? </li></ul><ul><li>Retainer arrangements? </li></ul><ul><li>Non time/lawyer based services? </li></ul><ul><li>Cost management systems used for price estimating? (Learn from the property industry) </li></ul><ul><li>Value based billing? </li></ul>
  19. 19. 9. Innovate <ul><li>New relationships? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eversheds uses Tyco model (Global Account Management System) to win new client </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New services? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pannone - Best of both worlds. Investment in SEO company. Door2law and Connect to Law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nelsons online document drafting services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loyalty cards and price incentives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New non-legal services? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage trusted adviser status (elderly clients) for properties and contractors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological, financial and career support with divorce </li></ul></ul>FT Innovative Lawyers - Marketing and PR (October 2008)
  20. 20. 10. Look at LMPs, MDPs and ABS <ul><li>March 2009 - Legal Disciplinary Practices (LDPs)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Combine eight types of legal professional – solicitor, barrister, legal executive, licensed conveyancer, patent agent, trade mark attorney, notary and costs lawyer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must provide legal services and the non-lawyers (who can make up to 25%) must offer ancillary services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2012 - Multidisciplinary practices (MDPs)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beyond legal services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2012 - ABS (Alternative Business Structures)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow external investors and flotation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finance for big brands </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Uncomfortable bedfellows? Professional Service Firm Index
  22. 22. Golden Rule - Take care of your people <ul><li>Aware of and involved in planning? </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyers with commercial awareness? </li></ul><ul><li>Support staff in service delivery (servuction)? </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to senior support staff about joining the partnership? </li></ul><ul><li>Active change management programmes? (e-learning investment) </li></ul><ul><li>Succession planning? </li></ul><ul><li>Truly empowered? </li></ul>
  23. 23. From Kim’s Blog: Pirates and Gladiators – 23 March 2009 Success and be damned? Business development vs. reputation management - 1 April 2009
  24. 24. Kim Tasso BA(Hons) DipM FCIM MCIJ MBA In association with 199 Argyle Avenue Whitton Twickenham TW3 2LR 07831 687882 020 8898 0631 [email_address] Managing a law firm in 2009: Top Ten Tips