Archive for June, 2006

Impact of automation on legal practice

June 25, 2006

Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind makes some observations about the impact of automation on the legal professioin which are worth restating even if they may be trite:

Dozens of inexpensive informatuioin and advice services are reshaping law practice…The attorneys who remain  will be those who can tackle far more complex problems and those who can provide something that databases and software cannot – counseling, mediation, court-room storytelling, and other services that depend on R-Directed Thinking"

Common mistakes in marketing

June 24, 2006

David Maister is a consultant who has the ability to get to the heart of an issue in plain language.

So his recent interview in BRW on the state of Australian professional services firms is worth reading.

One quote on marketing:

What you need to do if you want to improve at marketing is to actually do something for the other person. Demonstrate your ability to help by actually helping.

When I go into firms to evaluate their marketing materials, what I look for is whether they are actually offering the prospective client an idea or a suggestion or a piece of analysis that they have never seen before. What is really surprising is how often it is not there. Prostitute marketing, or “once you start paying I’ll show you something”, is really ineffective. What a lot of firms have to learn is that the best way to market themselves is by doing and not by telling. 

If you'd like to read, hear or see more go to his website

Networking

June 18, 2006

As a small firm you need to keep the pipeline of new work topped up. You need to have referral sources, you need to network!

So how do you get to meet new people? You need to get out of your comfort zone

OK, you’ve turned up at a meeting of your local chamber of commerce. What’s your objective? Are you going to meet at least 2 people who may be relevant to your work? Get their card, add it to your mailing list?

Where do you start? How about having a conversation? Do you find it hard to talk to strangers? Here are some tips for making conversation. I like “what are you currently working on” or “what’s the best thing that’s happened to you lately?”. It takes practice.

Pricing

June 18, 2006

As a small form or solo, should you discount? Is it possible to come up with a form of billing that is attractive to your client without being unfair to you?

I've previously written about value billing but how does it work in practice? Allison Shields has 2 separate posts on pricing and value billing.

The key is communicating with your client: don't be so quick to conclude what your client needs, give them the time to tell you.

Often what you think is your client's problem is not really their main worry. What they may be worried about may be a side issue to you but they won't be happy if you try to sell them a solution for a problem they don't have or work on a project that doesn't solve their problem, regardless of how great a job you did.

That's where pricing and value billing come in: you can price at a discount if you wish but you may be surprised to find out that your client is prepared to pay you at or above the going rate in return for your availability, empathy , knowledge of their business, not charging for phone calls, photocopies or many other reasons that are of value to them.

If you turn your relationship into a commodity, they will treat it like one. Give your clients a chance!

Links to free resources

June 10, 2006

Here's a variety of links any one of which will be of value if you invest the time:

Missing BigLaw Firm?

June 2, 2006

You don't have to miss biglaw firm life…read all about it at Anonymous Law Firm's website and a partner's weblog.