Imagine for a moment that you’re standing in your clients’ shoes. You need help improving your business and have decided to turn to the best legal minds for assistance. How do you choose a law firm to fit your needs? What services do you expect them to provide? How would you like them to emphasize in the delivery and how would you want to be treated in course of the delivery process?
You may believe that top-notch legal assessment and a creative, analytical approach are of utmost importance. Or perhaps you think that collaboration, persuasiveness and boldness are the most prized qualities they can offer to improve your business. You probably think that you would need a top-tier firm. According to recent research, that would be “spot on” if you’re, in fact a lawyer, yourself.
Now, let’s tighten up those shoelaces and try again. As a client, wouldn’t you rather have your law firm focus on YOU? How amazing would it be to walk in those shoes if your lawyer made it their priority to provide services specific to your unique business needs and manage your particular project? What if they also provided you with the resources you need to continuously improve your business, communicated effectively with you and helped you adapt to your constantly changing needs? Best shoes ever!
Recent research reveals that there seem to be a clear discrepancy between what lawyers and clients consider to be valuable factors forming the legal service delivery – high-end legal assessments versus real-world business solutions. This lawyer-client disconnect has been put on the agenda at an increasing number of leading law firms. Obviously, clients want to be seen for who they are and what they need rather than lumped into general legal categories with complicated legal assessments. They want to feel valued, supported and protected by their lawyers. That requires lawyers to be more than just great lawyers and law firms to invest in the relationship by gaining a deeper understanding of their clients’ businesses and creating mutual value. A sense of what a true partnership consists of seems to be the missing link.
At first it might seem like an overwhelming project for law firms to implement changes in their traditional service delivery. It might seem both cumbersome and costly to develop processes and tools that to a greater extent align with what is most important to their clients. The threshold to get started doesn’t need to be that overwhelming. In few weeks and with modest investments, law firms can start taking small first steps to connect lawyers with their clients by redesigning processes and practices and developing digital tools that drive new and better ways of working. Then it’s vital to follow up and make iterative change and development into a consistent business process and not limit it to a one-off project. So, there is no reason to wait. Some would even argue that it may even be a necessity to get started now.