• All legal services firms recognise the challenges in understanding the drivers of client value and how to fulfil on it.
• Given the changing dynamics in the Australia legal industry we wanted to understand the impacts these changes were having on client perceptions of value.
• We conducted a series of 42 interviews with legal professionals in a variety of roles – in-house (medium to multi-national, government – state and federal) and firms (mid and top tier) – including General Counsel, Managing Partners and Practise Group Heads, senior government solicitors and BDMs. The model was again validated through a further 7 discussions with clients and firms.
• Clients said over and over, that by and large the firms don’t appear to understand their needs well
• Interestingly, the firms agreed
• On the whole, clients and firms alike felt that solicitors were not great at this aspect of practise.
• As we got into it, it was clear that most firms saw the problem and could identify a range of causes. What they didn’t have was an insight into how to address it or how it all works together.
• There are a number of surveys of available to firms that rank them against a set of criteria, eg; value for money and responsiveness etc. These rankings tend to mislead firms and increase the frustration of clients as off-target attempts to improve value are made. What they need is a framework they could use for value building.
Using client needs modelling through psychological analysis we found:
• Legal services needs are driven by 6 key motivations
o Determining the (indeterminable) future
o Providing a safe haven
o Bending the rules in one’s favour
o Abiding by and reinforcing rules & rituals
o Dealing with and creating complexity, and
o The dream of omnipotence (we called it the Gina Rinehart complex)
• Within these 6 core motivations we found 24 specific client needs
• These needs are by far not as logical and straight as they are made out to be (for example, ‘playing with the rules’ or ‘over-ruling’ are needs that have little to do with rational thinking)
• Many needs are misinterpreted and not fulfilled, providing rich pickings for those firms that start to look into them