THE BUSINESS OF LAW
OUTSOURCING CHRIS BULL What considerations should be made when introducing an outsourcing specialist into your business? Supported by
To outsource or not to outsource, that is the question Jonathan Silverman discusses outsourcing opportunities
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WELCOME A very warm welcome to the latest issue and the new look of Modern Law! It’s my first issue as Editor for the second time, having been extended the offer of returning to the fold alongside my other work in the thick of the legal industry – and it’s great to be back! I’m especially pleased to dust off my Editor’s cap and red pen to apply to a strong and relevant issue for those looking to grasp the potential of the business of law and see how collaborative working can benefit your business. I’m often asked (especially as a journalist) ‘what is key for the legal industry going forwards’? My number one reply is ‘collaboration’. Without partnerships - working with those who
can offer complementary expertise, support, guidance, fresh ideas, a helicopter view and the experience of others – you might sometimes worry that you’re reinventing the wheel or grow stale. A collaborative partner or advisor is a great tool to have to fill a knowledge or time gap, to bring new skills, resources, relevant technological solutions and even a critical best friend to keep your ideas pertinent, achievable and of value to clients. Sometimes it can muddy the water or replicate what you may have in-house. It’s also easy to be glamoured by fizzy words and ideas that seem to come from another planet. With this in mind, we’ve called upon those who can help you identify what you should look for, how to manage outside experts and providers and how to ensure best value.
My own personal thank you to all our fantastic contributors for taking the time to share their thoughts on how to ensure the business of law continues to thrive and how professionals deliver on their promises, at all times. If you’re working on something you think will shake up the legal industry, deliver a first-class service to clients or help to sustain the business of law, please feel free to share it with us. Don’t be shy, contact me via emma@ charltongrant.co.uk
Co-Editor, Modern Law Magazine. 01765 600909 firstname.lastname@example.org www.modernlawmagazine.com
Editorial Contributors Adam Bullion, Head of Marketing, InfoTrack Adrienne Cohen, Jt Managing Director, Silverman Advisory Alisa Gray, Director of Business Development, Kaplan Altior Andrew Davies, Managing Director, SpeechWrite Digital Caroline Wallace, Strategy Director, Legal Services Board (LSB) Claire Perry, Director, Emplaw Online Colin Fowle, Managing Director, Blue Car Technologies Limited Daniel Andoh, Commercial Paralegal, VFS Legal Funding Darren Gower, Marketing Director, Eclipse Legal Systems Edna Hammami, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Legit Claims James Dobson, Marketing Director, Smartsearch James Jobling, Business Development Manager, AmTrust Law
ISSUE 38 ISSN 2050-5744
Jane Malcolm, Executive Director, External Affairs , Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Joe Pepper, Chief Executive, TM Group John Hogg, Managing Director, Enlighten IC Justin Rourke, Financial Planning Consultant, Armstrong Watson LLP Lauren Lieser, Account Manager, Geodesys Mariette Hughes, Senior Ombudsman, Legal Ombudsman Mark Holt, Commercial Director, Frenkel Topping Melody Easton, Marketing Director, DocsCorp (EMEA) Rachel Spearing, Barrister Serjeants’ Inn Chambers Richard Allen, Senior Consultant and Costs Lawyer, Burcher Jennings Steve Hooper, Founder, LAWSEO Yvonne Hirons, Global CEO, Perfect Portal
Co-Editor | Emma Waddingham Co-Editor | Poppy Green Project Manager | Martin Smith Events Sales | Kate McKittrick
Modern Law Magazine is published by Charlton Grant Ltd ©2018
All material is copyrighted both written and illustrated. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly forbidden without the written permission of the publisher. All images and information is collated from extensive research and along with advertisements is published in good faith. Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this publication was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.
Jonathan Silverman talks news Outsourcing is becoming a growing area in legal service delivery. Jonathan Silverman, Jt Managing Director, discusses the opportunities available through outsourcing but also what to consider when investing in outside help
Chris Bull Modern Law spoke to Chris Bull, Leading Legal Professional, about what considerations should be made when introducing an outsourcing specialist into your business but also what are the benefits of investing in external support.
Ian Jeffery Lewis Silkin has taken a step towards the firm’s evolution by opening an office in Dublin. Ian Jeffery, Chief Executive, spoke to Modern Law about the firm’s next steps in terms of Brexit and their wider growth strategy.
Dan Tacone Modern Law spoke to Dan Tacone, President of Intapp about what they will be bringing to the UK market as well as how technology is influencing client expectations, products and their delivery.
LSB submits evidence to MoJ’s LASPO review Caroline Wallace, Legal Services Board (LSB)
Outsourcing and regulation – risks and opportunities Jane Malcolm, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
Future-proof your firm Justin Rourke, Armstrong Watson LLP
The importance of signposting Mariette Hughes, Legal Ombudsman
Your PDF application directly affects your productivity. Make sure it’s integrated. Melody Easton, DocsCorp
Employment Law at your fingertips? Claire Perry, Emplaw Online
Getting the right advice Mark Holt, Frenkel Topping
Are you getting the essential of technical SEO on your website? Steve Hooper, LawSEO
A new perspective Richard Allen, Burcher Jennings
EDITORIAL BOARD CONTRIBUTORS
“If you grow, we grow!” Edna Hammami, Legit Claims Change begins with you Adam Bullion, InfoTrack
How to build robust relationships with your suppliers Lauren Lieser, Geodesys
Growing your business Daniel Andoh, VFS Legal Funding
Learning is a journey Alisa Gray, Kaplan Altior
Commissioning independent reviews – a brave new world? Rachel Spearing, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers
Digital signatures Colin Fowle, Blue Car Technologies Limited
“Relationship is everything” James Jobling, AmTrust Law
Hosted mobile solutions on the rise in law firms Andrew Davies, SpeechWrite Digital
When to employ external marketing and PR support for your firm Adrienne Cohen, Silverman Advisory
Could an interactive approach to marketing work for your firm? John Hogg, Enlighten IC
How price transparency helps reach 59% of home movers searching for a conveyancer Yvonne Hirons, Perfect Portal
How can internal processes be streamlined in order to help reduce the risk of fraud? James Dobson, SmartSearch
Time to call in the professionals – other professionals that is Our resident Tech commentator Charles Christian writes…
Talking Heads Modern Law spoke to a range of experts all lending their advise regarding legal support, private client and conveyancing.
The leading edge through legal design Emily Allbon, Senior Lecturer, and Dr Matthew Terrell, Head of Marketing, observe the rising trend of legal design.
Huddle up Emma Waddingham, Director, provides a frank response to the ‘inhouse versus outsourced marketing’ debate and some top tips for law firms looking to huddle up with specialists outside of the business to add value to their marketing mix.
Case Study – Eclipse Guy Williams Layton selects Eclipse’s Proclaim Practice Management system to enhance service and provide a seamless client journey.
Joe Pepper, tmgroup
EDITORIAL BOARD CONTRIBUTORS
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JONATHAN SILVERMAN TO OUTSOURCE OR NOT TO OUTSOURCE, THAT IS THE QUESTION Outsourcing is becoming a growing area in legal service delivery. Jonathan Silverman, Jt Managing Director, discusses the opportunities available through outsourcing but also what to consider when investing in outside help.
henever the topic of outsourcing is mentioned to lawyers they usually dive for cover. As a profession we are understandably risk adverse; the very thought of relying upon someone not on our payroll or under our direct supervision creates immediate scepticism if not outright panic. However, in a mature service-led market where the world is flat and opportunities to utilise talented people regardless of location abound, firms determined to succeed in a challenging and fast changing environment should not close their minds to the opportunities outsourcing offers. Letâ€™s first deal with the negatives. What issues should a firm satisfy themselves with before utilising outsourcing in one form or the other?
Undoubtedly, confidentiality is paramount to the proposition; any law firm’s data is by its very nature going to be sensitive in one way or another, so identifying trusted providers is absolutely essential. Exceptional due diligence must be undertaken. Be absolutely clear on what services you wish to outsource; search for a suitable vendor, maybe by using an independent, specialist broker to do the legwork for you. Don’t be shy to ask around your network to enquire if they know of the outsourcers you are considering and if that’s not possible, ensure any prospective supplier gives you six references, or details of any user group, so that you can pick a couple of names from that list – ideally either people who you know or who you can check out for their objectivity. Ask how long they’ve worked with a particular supplier, how the inevitable challenges that arise were dealt with and resolved. Alike to asking your own staff to handle a new project, be realistic as to what can be delivered, whether it be in building a website, putting together a marketing plan or providing back office facilities; clarity of thought is crucial. Look carefully at what’s on offer and how it fits in with your requirements. Equally look for potential hidden costs which might arise during the life of the project. Remember, when using third party suppliers in a cost driven environment, headline quotations do not always tell the whole story - examine and scope carefully what is being offered to you. Whilst an employee might occasionally stay late to complete a task without additional pay, a third-party provider rarely will go ‘out of scope’ without additional remuneration. The risk of hidden costs means that any contract with a third party provider needs to be properly drawn – ironically as cobbler’s children
“Selecting an outsourcer who demonstrates both expertise and relevant experience should enable a firm to leverage on those skills to a greater extent than simply taking on an additional member or members of staff”
are usually the worst child, take care in finalising the terms of any retainer. Do not assume that the loyalty shared with your staff, which sees them remain focused and committed in delivering a project for the benefit of the firm, will be reciprocated by a consultant or outsourcer. However professional, you will be but one of their clients, so again, careful selection is essential. Thought needs to be given as to what activities you are comfortable outsourcing for your business; web design may be one, but outsourcing accounts processing or IT support may be going too far for many; fearing that this could be a process too central to the business for it to be outsourced – although of course many do just that very successfully. But turning now to the opportunities which outsourcing in its modern form creates for a law firm. Just as lawyers have become used to retaining locums and temps to carry out legal and support roles, in today’s digital economy they should give serious consideration to outsourcing other functions as this may well enable a firm to quickly address a challenge without incurring recruitment fees, going through a training process or dealing with the inevitable HR issue. Selecting an outsourcer who demonstrates both expertise and relevant experience should enable a firm to leverage on those skills to a greater extent than simply taking on an additional member or members of staff. Moreover it may well enable a practice to focus on its core activities, i.e. providing legal services to clients, without management time being sidetracked into dealing with peripheral issues such as processing data or implementing an already determined marketing campaign. Furthermore, working with an external partner also brings the benefit of containing operational and recruitment costs and offers a practice the ability to ‘bulk up’ or ‘slim down’ without the pain of HR issues. However, the key to successful outsourcing has to be the way in which it is implemented. Whilst carefully analysing one’s business requirement and clarifying the service you are asking for support with are crucial pre-requisites, of equal importance is the working relationship between your firm and this essential partner. Rigorously select an outsourcer in whom you are comfortable to place your trust and with who you consider you could work through a problem. Chemistry is crucial.
“In a mature service-led market where the world is flat and opportunities to utilise talented people regardless of location abound, firms determined to succeed in a challenging and fast changing environment should not close their minds to the opportunities outsourcing offers” Insist on a detailed written proposal with an unambiguous quotation based on your discussions, ensuring that the terms and conditions are set out clearly. Steer clear of vague performance promises, instead precisely define the services being provided for the agreed pre-set price and identify how you will deal with any overtime or overrun. Your objective must always remain clear: n You have a business need, which you wish to address by utilising the services of a third party who must first have demonstrated their reliability n Someone who can demonstrate an ability to offer consistent quality of service n Someone who has ‘done it before’ successfully for others and genuinely has the relevant expertise. n They must adopt a partnership mindset which reflects your practice’s operating values n It is imperative you can trust their team and they can effectively communicate with you and your colleagues n You must be satisfied the service will offer value for money Choose well and you’ll enjoy the level of skills and knowledge far more effectively than recruiting; it will enable business to develop faster and more profitably.
Jonathan Silverman is Jt Managing Director of Silverman Advisory.
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CHRIS BULL Modern Law spoke to Chris Bull, Leading Legal Professional, about what considerations should be made when introducing an outsourcing specialist into your business but also what are the benefits of investing in external support. 10
“At its most basic, every organisation, whether they are a law firm or not, should always consider, with every type of service they offer and activity they organise, do we build it or do we buy it?”
Convenience and quality of service are other considerations. This applies particularly to IT services. If you outsource your IT systems, they may be able to make that service run 24/7 365 and the specialist will probably know more about certain systems and processes and probably do a better job. How are the services of new model law firms being utilised by traditional law firms? The model of law firms is changing, but why are they changing and what is driving that? Are they looking for new alternative legal service providers (ALS)? People are constantly starting up new law firms and those firms are very much using new models. A lot of them won’t have staff for their core functions and their IT systems will be in the cloud; they may or may not have offices and instead they will have people working in an agile and flexible way from home or remotely; and they probably won’t be a partnership. Very few firms are establishing themselves as a partnership – they are much more likely to be a limited company. The other thing that is inspiring and changing the world we live in is the digital age. As technology evolves and matures, more people, even lawyers, get used to it at home and all the other parts of their lives. People are getting more confident with technology. If you are in a city, it is really expensive to operate and have property and employ people, so there is often an argument to say that if we can put some of this work somewhere that is lower cost then we are saving ourselves some money and that has been a big driver amongst more of the bigger firms. We have seen lots of big names such as Freshfields and DLA Piper who outsourced big parts of their operation to somewhere else and that trend continues.
How can law firms benefit from outsourcing? At its most basic, every organisation, whether they are a law firm or not, should always consider, with every type of service they offer and activity they organise, do we build it or do we buy it? There is some truth in the criticism that for many years law firms didn’t question everything in that way, but it seems that all types of organisations, including law firms, are starting to take that approach. Businesses are beginning to question whether they need to do everything themselves and whether it would be more efficient and cost effective to introduce an outsourcing specialist to the strategy.
How should the legal sector capitalise on new technologies entering the field in order to help with workflow and productivity? There is a lot going on and there is still a lot more to do, but basic automation has probably been the primary element that firms have looked at. Repetitive tasks, like entering data, basic form filling and processing financial transactions, can now very easily be automated. I always say that you should apply a litmus test – take a look at your current process, map it out if you can and take a look at where the most paper is involved. This is a process improvement opportunity. Firms look at where there might be duplication and where there are delays, particularly if the delay is impacting the client. You should always start with the client – start with the output, what service you want to get to the client and what are the client’s expectations – work from there and re-write your processes that way.
The key for firms is to question what they need as a firm and whether external support will help them to achieve that. What are the drivers for law firms when investing in outsourcing options? Cost is always up there. If we got someone else to do some of our services outside of the business could they do it much more cheaply? By no means is that always the case, but it is one of the big drivers.
We are just coming into things like machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is early days but it has got great potential in the sector. There are all sorts of judgements, decisions and actions that are performed in the legal process based on a set of rules and data and therefore you can train a computer to do them for you. People are starting to invest and go beyond just automation. It can be a daunting challenge as it is a bit of a leap into the unknown, and particularly for smaller firms it will look like a very expensive route. How are client expectations and customer service being influenced by consumers’ experience of other products and services outside of the legal sector? Yes, I think they are. I don’t think outsourcing is a panacea for speed or for quality but if you are finding that your clients are demanding faster service, longer hours and are less patient and tolerant, then bringing in some outsourced support and service can help you do that, especially if you are a small organisation. Customer expectations are driving the demand for outsourced IT but also outsourced paralegal
“Customer expectations are driving the demand for outsourced IT but also outsourced paralegal services – it is becoming more difficult for firms to deliver the kind of service that clients want around the clock”
services – it is becoming more difficult for firms to deliver the kind of service that clients want around the clock, therefore they need to start thinking about how they can do that. How can the introduction of a consultant offer a firm a new perspective? I go back to something I say to a lot of firms – if you are a business, of any sort, and you are facing a changing environment with more demanding clients and new competitors, particularly if you are also trying to expand and grow and be smart about the way in which you use technology – you need to look around your firm, your partnership table or your management board and look at their experience and skills and how those can help you make that move and change. Most often you will look around and there are twelve people in the room and at least eleven of them are lawyers, one might be an accountant if you are a big enough firm, most of them will have been working in this organisation since they left university, they are possibly all men of a certain age, and the question is, ‘have you got the diversity or experience and skills that you really need in order to take these big next
really have got to question whether you have got the skills and experience internally and then that can be a great place to introduce a consultant. A lot of firms are increasing focus on particular sectors and types of clients and that is becoming much stronger – those firms are realising that if they can get a consultant to really advise them and get some external input they are able to properly understand what is happening in the market. How would you advise law firms wanting to invest in outsourcing services?
“People are starting to invest and go beyond just automation. It can be a daunting challenge as it is a bit of a leap into the unknown”
There are some big things that I would suggest that firms do – we go back to our first question; if we look at all of the things we do in a firm, whether they are done by people who we employ or they are done by third parties, we review whether we are getting the best service at the best price and whether we think they are things we should be doing ourselves or we should be buying from a third party outsourcer or subcontractor. For me, people present outsourcing as a sensitive decision – the best firms do it really well, they are constantly open to review and challenge themselves on the automatic assumption that they have to do it internally and I think firms needs to keep challenging themselves on that. The next step is, if you decide that you should be using outsourcing measures, then the question is, what are we trying to achieve? Only then do you look at who is available in the market and can meet your criteria. Then you have to have a really good process in place – set out a small number of things you want from that process. Try and understand the outsourcer’s motivation and business model – what is in it for them and understand how they make money from your contract so everyone understands what is in it for each party. Once you have outsourced, really think about how you keep the relationship working and strong.
steps or do you need to broaden out?’ There are lots of ways that firms can broaden out and that could be that firms take on non-executive directors who will have a totally different set of skills and experiences and could share some new insights. There are a lot of unknowns in the sector, such as in technology, and there are very few lawyers who are experts in them. If you are going to try and compete and deliver to your clients something that is a lot more 24/7 365, then you
has a portfolio of Retained Advisory and NED roles within the legal sector.
CHRIS BULL Bio Chris is the founding Director of legal and professional services retained advisors Kingsmead Square and co-founder in 2018 of the Intuity Alliance, advising on strategy, operations and innovation via a portfolio of retained, interim and NED roles. One of the busiest speakers and writers on the business of law, Chris is a regular keynote presenter, producer, Chair and panellist at major conferences in Europe and the USA and author of a series of reports. He has been COO and Chief Executive of UK lawyers Osborne Clarke, COO with pioneering Alternative Legal Service firm Integreon and KPMG’s Ambassador for Professional Practices.
IAN JEFFERY Lewis Silkin has taken a step towards the firm’s evolution by opening an office in Dublin. Ian Jeffery, Chief Executive, spoke to Modern Law about the firm’s next steps in terms of Brexit and their wider growth strategy. broader opportunities that we see for the firm, together with the specific work we want to do with our alliance partners in Ius Laboris.
What were Lewis Silkin’s reasons for establishing a new base in the Irish capital? Primarily this is about meeting the requirements of our current and target client base. Ireland as an economic centre, and Dublin as a city, have become much more significant for those clients and businesses. There is obviously a wider dimension to the move, which is around the political and economic developments largely bundled under the Brexit banner, which is a key driver as well as client demand.
What effect has Brexit had on your clients and business? Amidst all of the political turmoil, you almost forget that Brexit itself has yet to happen, but even in the period of anticipation, it is having quite a profound effect on clients and on our business. Back in 2016, at the time of the referendum, we did see a significant slowdown in activity in the months following that referendum, and in part we put that down to a wide spread ‘pausing for breath’ in the economy. During the last twelve months we have seen quite a big uptake in activity and at least some part of that will have been Brexit driven or at least driven by the anticipation of Brexit.
What we want, both for our own people, our clients and indeed the wider market to see, is the Dublin office being a natural development for us, which will add to our bases in the UK and Hong Kong, allowing us to offer services to our clients nationally and globally. We do think there are opportunities to expand the role of the Dublin office and that opportunity exists within our international employment alliance (Ius Laboris). We are the UK member of that alliance and have been for a number of years; we have looked to play an increasing part in the alliance and the opportunity arose to also work under the alliance’s banner in the Irish market, which was something we were keen to do.
What are the biggest challenges surrounding Brexit that firms need to consider and address? The most important starting point for these kind of questions is to look at the effect of political or macro-economic shock on the wider economy because it is general levels of economic activity that tend to be the biggest driver for the legal services market. The UK is now in a lower growth mode than many other developed economies;
Overall, the move into Dublin is about capitalising on client demand, responding to the driver of Brexit and addressing the
you can see that from a range of forecasts and it seems to be that that will continue to be the base case at least for the next few years. The overall effect will depend on the type of Brexit. The effect on economic activity, which is a big driver of volume for demand for legal services activity, will be more or less pronounced depending on what we get. If we get a softer Brexit it is likely to have a less dramatic effect than a harder one, and if we get the hardest, crashing out type of scenario, then that could well result in a contraction of the legal services sector at least for a period. There is also the issue of regulatory alignment as it affects the legal profession and the extent to which UK law diverges from EU law over time. As the UK legal system becomes different from that of the EU, the greater the risk becomes that clients could make alternative choices of applicable law and/or jurisdiction.
What will the new office’s core focuses be and what do you expect to see from the expansion? The initial focus of the new office is very much about the international client and requirements for advice on international employment. This reflects the international strategy that we have for employment law and our plan to continue developing it in conjunction with our Ius Laboris alliance partners.
Whilst we have that clear focus for the early months of our presence in Dublin, we do think that being there will also provide us with a long term platform to respond to wider economic market opportunities in areas like trademarks and commercial law.
“Overall, the move into Dublin is about capitalising on client demand, responding to the driver of Brexit and addressing the broader opportunities that we see for the firm”
We want to see ourselves working with many of our existing major international clients not just for their UK law needs but for their Irish law needs as well. We have established ourselves with that permanent basis of the firm in the European Union, which we can respond over time in an agile way to the needs of clients and the wider market.
How have client expectations and requirements changed over the years? I have personally worked in the profession from the early 1990s and over that time it has changed pretty much beyond recognition. Technology has massively sped up the pace of delivery and our lawyers, like all those in major firms, need to be very accessible to clients through those technologies. Technology has also made legal information much more accessible and generated lots of alternative choices for clients in managing and responding to their legal needs Because the question focuses on client expectations, it is also right to note that over the last decade the number of lawyers working in house has grown significantly as a proportion of the overall profession. It is also, I think, right to say that an in house team are now of a much greater level of sophistication and capability than they were in the earlier years and this has considerably raised the bar for what external private practice firms need to be able to offer
As part of that, the office will focus on regulatory and data protection advice. We have seen a big wave of this work in the UK in the form of GDPR over the last couple of years but GDPR isn’t a one off event, it is borne of a new era of much greater focus on information security, data rights and so on.
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How important is it for a law firm to have a growth strategy in place? It is vital, although not growth for growth’s sake. The importance of having a growth strategy is two-fold, and the first of those is that it is very important to give your firm a clear focus and ambition to serve a particular part of the legal services market very well. At Lewis Silkin we are not just looking for growth generally but growth in certain key areas in order to sharpen that focus and the beneficial effect that can have in raising the firm’s profile. The other benefit of a strong growth strategy is that it should act, if well communicated, as a good means of engagement of partners, staff and other immediate stakeholders in the firm. The firm should have a clear and distinct purpose, into which its partners, staff and other stakeholders are fully bought. How does Lewis Silkin plan to continue to expand its business? We set out to be the leading legal and related services firm in the UK for two types of clients in particular. Firstly, clients in the creative industries, and clients who put innovation and brand at the heart of their business, and secondly, the market of senior human resource professionals and employment lawyers within major UK and international businesses. We are looking at not just being domestic or to operate the jurisdictions that we are based in but we also want to be the gateway for those kinds of clients to expert professional advice in all the major economies throughout the world. Over time we are looking to introduce some complimentary services across the business, so we are not just offering mainstream legal advice delivered in the traditional way but we are looking to deliver legal services in new and innovative ways, and we are also looking in certain areas to
“The importance of having a growth strategy is two-fold, and the first of those is that it is very important to give your firm a clear focus and ambition to serve a particular part of the legal services market very well” “In many ways those are two sides of the same coin because maintaining customer service is integral to remaining competitive in the marketplace”
provide complimentary consultancy style services, again to those target markets. How important is company culture for the growth and development of a firm, and how do you maintain consistency in its culture across multiple offices and departments? Lewis Silkin’s culture is very important. We have been fortunate over the years to be consistently recognised as a firm that places a good deal of emphasis on the experience of working at the firm. It is something that we are thinking very much about as we are doing these expansions – we look to achieve cultural consistency through a number of things, certainly through regular communication across the offices including regular visits. What has proved to be very important and effective is making sure that new offices have people with long standing experience working there either all of the time or very regularly because often that is the best way to feed the culture - take a cutting of the established culture and feed it into the new office alongside the other talent that is being brought in. How important is it for law firms to remain competitive in the market place while maintaining excellent customer service? In many ways those are two sides of the same coin because maintaining customer service is integral to remaining competitive in the marketplace. The overall volume of the market is not now expanding as quickly as it once was so competition is stronger than ever. Without excellence in customer service any firm is going to be at a significant disadvantage. Along with industry focus and a good working culture, looking after our clients to the best of our ability is very much central to our values at Lewis Silkin.
Ian Jeffery is Partner and Chief Executive at Lewis Silkin LLP.
IAN JEFFERY Bio As Chief Executive of Lewis Silkin LLP, Ian has overall responsibility for the strategy of the firm and its range of business activities During the period of Ian’s leadership beginning in 2005, Lewis Silkin has more than doubled its revenues, gained recognition for nine years running as one the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, opened additional offices in Cardiff, Hong Kong and Dublin and launched several complementary and innovative businesses providing wider services to its established client base and the wider market. The firm has also executed an extensive series of change projects including relocation of its London HQ, conversion to a full equity partnership and two full relaunches of its brand and visual identity. Ian is a regular conference chair and speaker, and is widely connected in the world of legal services management.
DAN TACONE Modern Law spoke to Dan Tacone, President of Intapp, about what they will be bringing to the UK market as well as how technology is influencing client expectations, products and their delivery. How can Intapp help UK Legal SME firms grow their businesses in the current climate? That is a multi-faceted question but what we are trying to create is a professional services platform that will help our customers drive their business. The answer to your question is that they need to integrate their go-to market strategy and pin down who and what they are trying to target. Intapp are building a vertical market platform to help firms manage risk and compliance, particularly when onboarding new clients in order to help them efficiently execute on client delivery and ultimately increase their profitability.
“Firms are very anxious to innovate in order to better serve their clients because it is such a competitive environment out there and they want to be out in front of that”
Client requirements and expectations are constantly evolving, how can professional services firms match the pace and improve their service offering? We have been talking to client engagement partners at some of the world’s largest professional service firms and what we are
hearing from them is that firms would like their providers to offer a more digital and modern experience and to be transparent with the information around their particular engagement. We are finding that the consumer experience of other products and services within other industries are influencing the expectations of legal services. Clients know that there are choices out there and in the last year we have seen that 60% of clients have changed their professional service firm because there are better alternatives in the market. Client data is becoming a major talking point in the UK, how can technology be used to manage this type and amount of data? There are three traditional marketing methods according to one of Modern Law’s editorial contributors, Enlighten IC, and these are firmhosted events, client meetings and networking, and while all of that is true, there is now a more modern way to approach things and that is to apply technology and to apply automation. Charles Christian, a contributing expert to your publication, pointed out, getting back to your question about data, that you must, at the heart
of all of this, know your client or perspective client. Understand your client’s business and their strategies in order to allow a meaningful conversation to develop, otherwise the whole relationship is hollow. There is an enormous amount of data that could be integrated into the workflow and CRM system, which could inform the key leaders of every firm and therefore make that relationship with clients much more meaningful. How important is it to maintain competitive in the current marketplace and differentiate yourself from other firms? Law firms are doing great, globally, and the firms that build a platform that can compete to their global market strategy and differentiate themselves are succeeding – this needs to be a key part of their global market strategy. How is Intapp looking to disrupt the market and the traditional technology solutions and providers on offer?
growth with technology that is specifically built for these law firms as we believe that this market has been undersold in terms of technology. We think that we are unique in that way.
“Applying AI and machine learning to every workflow that technology and software solves is imperative – it gives you the ability to categorise data and to use it effectively”
Our hypothesis is that there are a lot of horizontal software companies out there that are attempting to serve the professional services firms and financial services firms, but these horizontal software companies aren’t built for the purpose of this industry. We have built a platform to help law firms operate more efficiently, improve their profitability and drive
We have been working with these firms for seventeen years and we have built our narrative around how we see these firms, working with them and supporting them over the years – we built this hypothesis and tested it with these firms and that is how we have come to these conclusions. What new technologies do you think will enter and disrupt the market and how should the legal sector capitalise on that? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fundamentally at the core of any software that we build. Applying AI and machine learning to every workflow that technology and software solves is imperative – it gives you the ability to categorise data and to use it effectively, whether that is to perform tasks or produce valuable and actionable information. Everything that we build is underpinned by a technology foundation that includes artificial intelligence and integration, because there are data sources, whether they are external or internal, that are valuable and having the appropriate integration strategy brings that data together better. We have recently made an announcement that
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we have acquired DealCloud – it provides a cloud based CRM deal management platform. This will help us continue our mission to create a truly unique vertical industry platform for the professional services sector. We think that DealCloud is the most innovative platform, partner friendly business development solution available today. Its key differentiator is its key focus on personal networking. Networking is a key marketing tool and DealCloud takes that method and applies technology and content to it. When you think about this market, in these global transactions, if I used mergers and acquisitions as an example, every M&A deal has a law firm that has a network of other professionals involved in the process; this is a community that works together across these industry sectors and we are serving the entire sector in supporting that eco-system. How can the legal profession build a culture the embraces innovation and disruption in order to improve delivery to clients in an increasingly connected world? I believe we are doing that more and more. We see these firms bringing team members on with innovation titles and this is not just in law firms but in all types of business. Firms are very anxious to innovate in order to better serve their clients because it is such a competitive environment out there and they want to be out in front of that.
“DealCloud is the most innovative platform, partner friendly business development solution available today. Its key differentiator is its key focus on personal networking. Networking is a key marketing tool and DealCloud takes that method and applies technology and content to it”
DAN TACONE Bio Dan Tacone serves as President at Intapp, where he leads the company’s accounting, consulting, and financial services segments globally, in addition to overseeing transformation consulting services across all professional services segments. Dan joined Intapp in 2010, bringing two decades of legal industry executive management experience, most recently as Senior Vice President, Global Customers at Thomson Reuters.
What challenges have you faced when trying to establish yourself in the legal arena in the UK? We have been very fortunate, specifically in the legal community in the UK. We serve all the magic circle firms based in London and it is a very vibrant market for us. Firms particularly in the UK are very focused on operational efficiency, profitability and client growth and that is at the heart of our platform – so we are very well matched. What does the future hold for Intapp? With over 1100 legal, accounting and consulting firms in the market, we are well positioned to bring success for the partners of our clients, the marketers and the business development professionals (who have long been underserved). This platform is purpose built and ideally suited to help make our clients successful. Today if you look at DealCloud’s website you would see that they have 400+ clients in financial services and private equity markets, your next question might be do you plan to expand this into professional services, whether it is legal or accounting or consulting, and our plan is to absolutely to do that in order to develop this work flow and this solution.
is President of Intapp.
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LSB SUBMITS EVIDENCE TO MOJ’S LASPO REVIEW The Legal Services Board (LSB) is the independent oversight regulator for legal services in England and Wales. It has eight regulatory objectives set out in the Legal Services Act 20071, including improving access to justice and protecting and promoting the interests of consumers.
he Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is currently undertaking its first postimplementation review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The reforms introduced by LASPO included major changes to the scope of legal aid, the eligibility requirements for individuals applying for legal aid and the level of remuneration payable to individuals undertaking legally aided work.
In August, the LSB submitted its response2 to the MoJ LASPO review, incorporating evidence3 that the LSB has built up in its role of oversight regulator, which casts light on the impact of theLASPO reforms on the regulatory objectives. In our response, we explain why we think it is important to look at what has happened to consumers who are no longer able to access legal aid following the reforms. Our various research projects suggest that changes in
“The reforms introduced by LASPO included major changes to the scope of legal aid, the eligibility requirements for individuals applying for legal aid and the level of remuneration payable to individuals undertaking legally aided work”
legal aid may have disproportionately affected certain groups of people such as particular ethnic groups and those from the C2DE social groups. We are also concerned about whether the reforms may have had knock-on effects elsewhere in the justice system and also more broadly in other areas of public spending such as health. In our response, we ask the MoJ to have regard to the evidence which suggests that: n Following the LASPO reforms, there were falls in the proportion of family private law proceedings and domestic violence cases where both parties were represented and falls in the volume of mediation assessments n There are misunderstandings amongst consumers about the type of legal issue for which legal aid is available n In a recent survey, the Pakistani, Black African and Mixed ethnic groups are proportionately the highest users of legal aid n Consumers coming from lower social groups (C2DE) tend to use legal aid around twice as much in percentage terms as consumers coming from higher social groups (ABC1) n Affordability of legal services is a key concern for people with mental health problems and their carers and consumers with learning disabilities. Changes in legal aid could therefore have a particular impact for such vulnerable consumers. n There is a statistical link between getting early legal advice and resolving problems sooner. At any stage in dealing with a legal issue, people who did not receive early advice were 20 per cent less likely
“We believe that our research could suggest that changes in legal aid introduced by LASPO may have, amongst other things, adversely affected particular groups and this could make it more difficult to secure the delivery of the objectives set out in the Legal Services Act” than average to have their issue resolved. We recognise that our evidence alone cannot be definitive and that it should be considered alongside evidence from other stakeholders. However, we believe that our research could suggest that changes in legal aid introduced by LASPO may have, amongst other things, adversely affected particular groups and this could make it more difficult to secure the delivery of the objectives set out in the Legal Services Act.
Strategy Director, Legal Services Board (LSB).
1 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/29/section/1 2 Available on the LSB’s website here: https://www. legalservicesboard.org.uk/what_we_do/responses_to_ consultations/pdf/2018/LSB_response_to_MoJ_LASPO_ review_(final).pdf 3 From research such as How People Resolve Legal Problems, Pleasence and Balmer (2014), Evaluation: Changes in the legal services market 2006/7-2014/15, Legal Services Board (2016) and Experiences of consumers in vulnerable circumstances with different legal services providers, Research Works (2017)
Unoccupied Direct is a trading name of Unoccupied Direct Limited, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under Firm Reference Number 797627 Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 10621712 Registered address: 4 Old Park Lane, London, United Kingdom, W1K 1QW
OUTSOURCING AND REGULATION – RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES Law firms are just like any other business – outsourcing is either necessary or unavoidable for many who don’t have the in-house expertise or facilities to carry out key tasks.
sing outsourced services, which are not subject to our regulation, does not mean that our rules do not apply. As the contracting organisation, a law firm is responsible for compliance with our standards and there are risks for those whose arrangements do not meet our requirements. Of course, we do not want regulation to get in the way of effective legal services if our rules add nothing to protecting the interests of the public. That is one of the reasons why we are reforming our Handbook, making it easier for firms to do the right thing while developing their businesses. There are lots of good examples of where outsourcing and regulatory obligations must be properly balanced, and where we have changed our approach to support you to adapt what you do.
THIRD-PARTY-MANAGED ACCOUNTS We know many firms are interested in finding low-risk ways of managing money belonging to clients. Thirdparty-managed accounts are proving a really useful alternative. We all know holding client money in a client account is one of the most high-trust and important activities a solicitor carries out. That’s why our new, simpler account rules focus on making sure client money is safe. Using a third-party-managed account can be an attractive way to manage the risks associated with holding client money, such as fraud and cybercrime. Any third-party-managed account must be regulated by the FCA, providing protection for both the client and the solicitor.
We published guidance on using thirdparty-managed accounts in December 2017. There is nothing in our regulation that stops firms from using these products today. This guidance has been written to be compliant with the new Accounts Rules when they come in. It can be accessed at sra.org.uk/tpma
is often not as tight for those potentially working from home instead of in the office.
“Using outsourced services, which are not subject to our regulation, does not mean that our rules do not apply”
CLOUD STORAGE When our current Code of Conduct came out seven years ago, using cloud computing to store data was the preserve of just a few IT-savvy businesses who spotted its potential. Since then, cloud storage has taken off. In 2013, only 30 per cent of companies were using cloud databases – that had already increased to 95 per cent by the end of 2016. Now it’s the norm. For law firms, the challenge to keeping information in this way is not just about our rules, but also complying with the new General Data Protection Regulations. Access to information is a key issue. Using the cloud might also bring with it greater risk of other cybercrime as it allows more of the profession to work remotely. Firms need to be aware of and manage the risks as cybersecurity
We have produced informative papers on the issues involving cloud computing, IT Security and Silver Linings, as part of our Risk Publications, which can be found on our website here: sra.org.uk/risk
Bringing in new business is vital to any company. Some firms rely 100 per cent on word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business to keep them ticking over, but others rely on third parties, including claims management companies, to do their marketing for them. When this happens, referral fees might be paid. Referral arrangements will always provoke debate, never more so than in 2012 when they were banned in personal injury cases. Chapter nine of the Code of Conduct outlines how we expect firms to behave when working with others to bring in new leads. We expect all firms to make sure those they use uphold the same standards we ask from the profession itself. There are plenty of other areas of course where thought is required to check your outsourcing arrangements are in line with your duties as a solicitor. If you have any queries, contact our Ethics Guidance helpline on 0370 606 2577.
Executive Director, External Affairs, Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
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FUTURE-PROOF YOUR FIRM Justin Rourke, a financial planning consultant with Armstrong Watson LLP, advises firms on business improvements.
his last decade has seen competition increase in the legal sector, applying downward pressure on prices in many practice areas. Yet the costs of running a firm are increasing due to factors like wages, business rates and tax. So, what can firms do to ensure their long-term future? Here, I explain three specific routes by which you can ‘future-proof’ your firm.
1. CHANGE YOUR COMPANY STRUCTURE Historically, many law firms have operated as partnerships. The search for future financial security and prosperity has led many to consider changing their structure, including to a limited liability partnership or limited company. There can be many benefits of incorporation, for example, in relation to succession, remuneration and tax planning. If you do change your structure you will need to undertake a review of its protection needs. Protection usually means insurance in one form or another, such as life assurance, critical illness cover, income protection, and private medical insurance (although it can have broader definitions). Within this review, there are two specific considerations: 1. Do you have any insurance in place? (Many law firms will not). 2. If you do have insurance, is it still structured correctly? The second question refers specifically to the fact that, if you change the structure of your business, you must also change the business protection policy underlying it. Some recent research has highlighted the need for business protection, and the correct tax, trust and shareholder
agreement advice to complement it. Legal & General’s (L&G) ‘State of the Nation’ business protection report for SMEs reveals that: • over 50 per cent of businesses have left no instructions as to what happens to company shares on death • average business debt is £176,000, of which 51 per cent is secured by a personal guarantee or a charge against personal assets • 26 per cent were not aware that a director’s loan account needs to be repaid on death.
2. GO SPECIALIST Another route to help future-proof a law firm is to specialise in niche or smaller areas of expertise (e.g. gaming, or sports-related disputes), or at least have key departments and individuals within the firm that do. This is often driven by key individuals who build up a reputation and client pool by becoming renowned in their area of expertise. The risk here is the reliance on the individual, who is pivotal to that sector specialism, and ultimately the profit it generates. If that individual were to become ill or die, how does the firm cover that financial gap? In the L&G survey: • 39 per cent of businesses said that the death or critical illness of a key employee would have the biggest impact on their business • 53 per cent of business said they would cease trading in under a year if they lost an owner or key person.
3. STAND OUT AS THE BEST EMPLOYER A further consideration is staff retention.
Some incentivising policies that could be offered to employees include: • private medical insurance • income protection (all incomes continue to be paid) • death in service benefits. The L&G survey identified that 70 per cent of business owners had not heard of ‘relevant life plans’ – a life insurance policy for directors of limited companies that can be paid by the company to provide a tax-free lump sum to their family on death.
We often spend so much time working in our business that we fail to spend enough time working on our business. A strong and progressive law firm will always be looking for ways to improve the business, its profit and the experience for its staff and clients. The key is to ensure that whilst the focus is on obtaining growth and profit, equal attention is paid to issues that could potentially undermine progress to a significant degree.
Financial Planning Consultant, Armstrong Watson LLP. The Law Society has exclusively endorsed Armstrong Watson LLP for the provision of accountancy services to law firms throughout the whole of the North of England.
Senior Ombudsman, Legal Ombudsman.
Marketing Director, DocsCorp.
The importance of signposting
Your pdf application directly affects your productivity. Make sure it’s integrated.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers transparency plans are now well on track with applications either approved or pending with the Legal Services Board. A lot of the focus has been on the plans for price transparency, but equally as important are the requirements to publish details of complaints procedures on websites. Firms have always been required to provide their complaints procedures and to signpost to the Legal Ombudsman at various stages of their process, this is set out in the Legal Services Board requirements and guidance1. The current regulator plans go further than the LSB requirements by requiring that the information is available on websites, in addition to documents such as the client care letter.
How can the integration of different technologies be used in a law firm, and how can this help improve processes?
The LSB requires that you tell clients about their right to make a complaint both at the time of engagement, and at the conclusion of your complaints process. This should include the contact details for the Legal Ombudsman and the timeframe for bringing a complaint.
Legal technology can free staff from workflows that are labour intensive, but light on value-add. Improving the creation of common documents like a Share Purchase Agreement or Legal Due Diligence Report is an example. Making the process more efficient can free lawyers from repetitive tasks that eat up precious billable hours and produce a better product with fewer errors. So, how do you make this a reality at your firm?
Last year we undertook joint research2 with the SRA, and looked at the number of firms3 who provided complaints information: n 98% of firms said that they provide information about their complaints procedure at the start of the relationship, usually in the client care letter. However, 37% of surveyed consumers reported not being informed about the complaints procedure.
The key to more efficient document production lies in the PDF application your firm uses and how it integrates with your document or case management system.
n 34% of firms reported providing information to consumers about the Legal Ombudsman at the end of the complaints procedure.
Start by looking at how the firm ingests paper files, like signed contracts. The right PDF application will have a watch folder where scanned files are automatically picked up and imported into an electronic binder (a collection of files all relating to a client, case, or matter) within your document or case management system. At the same time, the scanned PDF can be converted into a text-searchable PDF, so it doesn’t become invisible to your systems’ search technology.
Whilst firms are doing a great job at signposting in the early stages, consumers are most likely to pick up on this information at the point at which they really need it. So it is equally important to provide the information either at the point that a consumer is dissatisfied, or when you have finished your own internal process so that consumers know they have another avenue.
Next, when the user is ready to publish, their PDF application should automatically generate a final electronic binder with a Table of Contents, page numbers, or Bates Numbering. From there, it can be saved as a single PDF binder straight to a document or case management system.
We believe that the value of good complaints handling is becoming more recognised in the sector. It provides you with vital feedback on your service and processes that you may not receive otherwise. Dealing well with complaints is a sign of good customer service in itself, and potentially means that consumers are more likely return to your firm, or recommend you to others.
Ask yourself – does your PDF application do all of this? If not, it may be time to reassess, so you can be confident you’re getting the maximum benefit from existing technologies at the firm.
Our updated signposting pack4 provides an overview of the information that should be provided at each stage.
Be aware that your document or case management system will improve and change over time. Look for PDF application vendors that have a close working relationship with industry providers to be sure they stay up to date and continue to deliver high-value integration
1 https://www.legalservicesboard.org.uk/what_we_do/regulation/pdf/2016/201607_Version_2_ Requirements_Guidance.pdf 2 http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/research-shows-room-for-improvement-in-how-lawfirms-deal-with-complaints/ 3 Over 500 firms were surveyed as part of the research and represented a variety of firm sizes. It was largely representative of firm population. 4 http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/refreshed-guidance-for-signposting-customers-to-thelegal-ombudsman/
Director, Emplaw Online.
Commercial Director, Frenkel Topping.
Employment law at your fingertips?
Getting the right advice Why it is important for personal injury lawyers to use a specialist IFA to invest a claimant’s damages?
Client work, business development, training, case law updates; are you using your time effectively when it comes to research or clarification of the law?
When someone is involved in an accident, suffers a personal injury or life-changing event, it is vital that they get the right advice to safeguard their financial future.
Employment Lawyers’ working lives are often split between giving contentious and non-contentious advice. Requiring knowledge of Tribunals, High Courts and Court of Appeal for the litigious side on the one hand, whilst on the other, requiring an excellent understanding of how to support HR professionals, including contracts of employment, policies (employee and remuneration) and restrictive covenants. Not only will an Employment Lawyer normally split their time as above, but they can often be involved in supporting their colleagues in other departments, for example, on in-house personnel issues, on a personal level, on a large transactional level – the list goes on and on.
However, as a personal injury lawyer it is also crucial that you get the right advice in order to stay at the top of your game, so you are able to maximise damages for your clients. You simply cannot leave anything to chance. Providing the wrong advice could expose you to allegations of professional negligence. Using a specialist IFA will give you the peace of mind that your client is getting the maximum damages and the right financial advice for their future security.
People who have received damages following a catastrophic injury that was no fault of their own are often left wheelchair bound or with a severe brain injury and require on going care and support to ensure they can continue to rebuild their life.
How do you deliver the best service to your clients? By ensuring you have the best tools at your fingertips to give quick answers is something that is vital in a busy legal practice. Having trusted answers written by leading experts in their specific field can not only save time when researching, but actually gives you the confidence that you were right in your advice. This is particularly so when information is linked to case summaries, full case reports, legislation and information on acas.org.uk and gov.uk. Receiving the highest quality, up-to-date online help enhances practices and departments when it comes to customer satisfaction.
These damages can then be used to pay for specialist accommodation, on-going rehabilitation or medical care to ensure the injured person can live as comfortable a life as possible. However, these payments need to last for the life expectancy of the claimant. Suddenly a two-million-pound settlement doesn’t seem a lot when it is expected to last a lifetime. Financial and wealth management experts, who adhere to the Deputy Standards published by the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) to protect professional deputies, can help you feel better informed to maximise damages and make the right investment choices that are focussed on protecting the assets of your clients.
TIME MANAGEMENT When it comes to in-house legal teams, private practice fee earners and government legal departments, each one requires excellent time management so accessing content quickly which gives you precise answers (written in a straightforward manner) allows teams to look after their clients in the knowledge their advice is accurate.
A specialist IFA will work with lawyers and your clients to calculate the earning potential and financial losses for people who have suffered a serious accident or life changing event, while providing evidence-based reports to help secure maximum damages and devise a financial plan to meet ongoing care and accommodation needs.
SRA and CPD Talking of time management, when you are subscribed to a dedicated company such as ours, you will receive a monthly update designed as a one stop read to keep you bang up to date on the latest cases and employment law developments. You can also have access to contracts of employment, policies and other template documents. Having these documents at your fingertips makes working life so much more practical and time efficient. When it comes to the SRA, we know that we must ensure we are being compliant and learning & developing is still a large part of being a lawyer, so recording and evaluating what we are learning fits in nicely with the working week. Having the correct subscription to satisfy specialist learning goals can ease the burden of extra research.
They will examine the financial circumstances of each individual client and advise on whether a lump sum settlement or periodical payments would be the best way forward, plus assess the impact any damages might have on clients’ welfare benefits and advise on the establishment of a Personal Injury Trust fund where appropriate. Without the right advice you could be exposing you and your clients to unnecessary risk. Using a specialist and truly independent IFA will help you feel better informed to maximise damages and make the right investment choices.
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Are you getting the essential of technical SEO on your website?
A new perspective How can you change company culture in a target driven environment - is this best achieved with outside support? In any professional service industry, billing is the driver to financial success, yet how is this managed effectively?
Our clients often think we are speaking in a different language when we first get to work on their websites to promote for SEO.
Solicitors’ practices, as I was told early in my career, are oil tankers, not speed boats, and take a long time to change direction. So how do we change from what has historically been the bedrock of fee management, namely targets? This issue is inextricably linked to the almost universal approach of billing everything we do by reference to an hourly rate. Even if we are charging a fixed fee, the estimated hours spent and rate applicable are inevitably the components for arriving at what the fixed fee should be, although in my experience, this usually results in a misconceived approach and lost profits.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that a business designs their website to look good and to be nice for their clients (well in some cases they do), but there are things you need on your website in order to be found that might not always be considered in the design process. 1. Content - Images may look good but you need words on your website! The average number of words on a top ten result in Google is 1,843 words. That is around 3 A4 pages of content. It’s a lot of content to fit onto a page, but when you think about your services and the questions your website should be answering about your services, it isn’t as hard as you think.
Hourly rates are simple and can apply to all work, regardless of type, size or volume, yet it drives bad behaviours. I have worked for some practices whose chargeable time targets leave no time each day for lunch or comfort breaks, resulting in “time-dumping”, which skews WIP valuation and affects realisation rates drastically. Hourly rates also reward the inefficient and fail to reward those who work efficiently and expertly.
By simply adding a FAQ section to each product or service that you offer you will hugely increase your word count. It’s really important to make sure you write for the person who is going to be reading the text - you won’t see results by just cramming in keywords.
Crucially, charging by the hour places one-hundred percent of the price risk on the client, since they must pay for every second you spend working for them.
2. Optimise your images - Making sure your images are renamed to give a description of what is in the actual image and giving your images an ALT tag (Alternative tag which is a description of your image with your keyword in it) your images will get found and you will benefit from the images showing in search.
When I provide pricing training to law firms, the move away from hourly rates and a time target driven culture, towards a value-based pricing structure, is challenging. However, once a firm understands that moving away from hourly rates means that you the firm, are accepting some costs risk, you are free to embrace a value-based pricing structure. This results in greater profitability, more capacity and therefore happier clients.
3. Make sure your site is optimised for speed! We live in an impatient world, people don’t like waiting for anything and this includes your website. If someone is waiting for a website to load and it takes longer than 3 seconds to start to show, it’s game over - they will leave your website and you will never get them back again. Optimise your site for speed by ensuring images are resized down to what they need to be rather than relying on the browser to do the work, get your developer to ensure your site is fully optimised as per Google’s guidelines.
So, what of targets? What if you didn’t record time at all? Well, no negative lock-up for a start and more importantly, targets can be driven by what you want fee-earners to bill across the year, perhaps measured by type and complexity of case, rather than the flawed approach by chargeable time!
4. Make your site with the user in mind. They don’t care what your favourite font is, and they won’t care about the fact you wanted something to fit, if it doesn’t make their life easy they just aren’t interested in your brand and will leave. There are a huge number of factors involved in onsite technical SEO, so it’s important to make sure you get your site audited and optimised for both users and search in order to benefit from increased search traffic.
Many firms are stuck in a rut and don’t have the motivation or perhaps the disruptive gene-pool in-house to bring a new perspective and especially the experience to show that something different can work, bring increased profits and a healthier culture for both the firm and clients alike.
The Simplicity of Legit Claims We place our marketing and business development expertise at your disposal, so that you, the Law Firm can enjoy your time and have the Leads coming to you. From the moment you signup with us, you take control of your future. We take care of your profile, bring Leads to you, therefore your only responsability is to offer your Personal Injury experience to your clients.
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“If you grow, we grow!”
Change begins with you It wasn’t that long ago that the only way to buy music was in-store. You’d go out, buy a record (paying in cash of course), and if you played it a lot, it’d probably end up getting pretty scratched.
When should law firms be recognising the need to invest in outside support? Solicitors have been some of the most independent people since the profession was created, and since they first outlined their career at the age of five in front of a classroom by saying the most determined phrase of their lives: “when I grow up, I want to be a lawyer!”
Now this whole experience can be done in a completely different way. To buy music, you don’t even have to leave your seat. You won’t be paying in cash. There isn’t a shelf packed with records and the audio remains high quality no matter how many times it’s played. You’ll also be able to do it in a fraction of the time it used to take.
Most of them achieved the extraordinary feat on their own. While a lot have carried on growing their career, and now have a business partner made out of the same cloth with the same career, it is primordial for them to realise that they do not need to carry on doing things on their own.
This is because both buying and listening to music has evolved. People and organisations have driven those changes and we’ve all ended up enjoying the benefits. We’re now living in a more convenient world. Now we look for these benefits everywhere in our lives – including in the workplace. We’re fans of the simple and smart technology that we use to listen to music, manage our finances, shop online or communicate with others.
Solicitors are specialists in their fields, and they have been trained for the last decade of their lives to have tunnel vision, where nothing will stop them from achieving their goals. As much as this is a blessing, the most successful directors of firms know two things that most of the others don’t: how to expand and how to outsource.
However, there are often perceived obstacles to overcome. In a busy legal practice, making process changes can be pushed way down the list of priorities in the face of heavy workloads, long to-do lists and external factors that need consideration, yet there are now organisations driving change in the world of conveyancing – service providers who partner with firms to bring them the benefits that they need.
This has been the most open secret to the best companies in the world, where the two or more partners specialise in different areas of the business, and for what they cannot handle, they outsource or consult. This is no different to any law firm. The day that they have established their firm, they need to consult and hire people who do what they do best, so that the solicitor can do what they do best.
It’s fair to say that there are a few parallels between the technology we provide, and the way we listen to music. Nowadays, it’s all in one place, on one screen, high quality, quick to use, simple and smart.
Having tunnel vision might be the biggest blessing in the world, there is no need to be a jack of all trades, and quite frankly being associated with the word specialist is much more professional in any association than being known as someone who does a little bit of everything. In a more logical way, it is much more entertaining of an idea for a law firm to outsource its business development to one specialist, the marketing and branding to another specialist and consult in house on operations and strategies.
But there’s another element that’s also crucial in all of this. If you’re a conveyancer, then change begins with you. There are things within the conveyancing industry that are beyond your control but the systems and process you work with everyday are not.
In the informative era of today, where everything is connected and technology is a platform of possibilities. Business has become simple. You either win or learn a lesson.
So ask yourself if you’ve got the drive, because making the change doesn’t need to involve lots of hassle. Much like buying music, the chances are you could do it right now.
So the question is, did the best get the best consultants, nonexecutives and partnership agencies? No, they didn’t. But they got someone who was a specialist in their area for when they needed it, and they made the most of the talent at hand. If there are any words to live by, by any partnership agency, it’s “If you grow, we grow!”
We are delighted to announce that Nageena Khalique QC has joined us as a new member of Chambers Nageena is the 12th established practitioner to join us in the last 12 months, enhancing our Court of Protection; inquest and inquiries; and public and administrative law teams in particular. Over the last three years, numbers at Serjeantsâ€™ Inn have increased by 35% with a gain of 11 silks. The set has won 23 awards in the same period and was one of the first chambers to be recognised by the Bar Council for its excellence on well-being. Most importantly it continues to attract the key briefs in crucial cases, such as Alfie Evans, the Deepcut inquests, and the Undercover Policing Inquiry.
The LexisNexis Legal Awards 2018 Chambers of the Year
The LexisNexis Legal Awards 2018 Award for Customer Focus
The Modern Law Awards 2018 Chambers of the Year
Legal Week Innovation Awards 2018 Chambers Innovation
The Modern Law Awards 2018 Katie Gollop QC Barrister of the Year
020 7427 5000 | www.serjeantsinn.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | DX: 421 London Chancery Lane
Account Manager, Geodesys.
Commercial Paralegal, VFS Legal Funding.
How to build robust relationships with your suppliers
Growing your business When should a piece of the pie be sold to an external investor to support a future business plan?
The selection and building of your supplier relationships is a continuous process that strives to balance your business needs with the needs of the supplier. In today’s market, where businesses are consistently prospected, using people and organisations that you can trust and rely on to provide a high-quality service is of critical importance. Choosing a supplier can often be the toughest decision so look for one(s) where they can demonstrate expertise and longevity within the industry. Research the array of products the supplier can offer, compare them to competitors and invest time to meet with them. Price will always be a factor, but the cheapest provider is not always the right one so clearly define what it is you are looking for and do your research into what solution accommodates this need. At the top of the agenda for a strong relationship is communication. If this aspect of the process is neglected, then you could risk complications arising which will lengthen the transaction process and potentially be costlier. Having been an Account Manager for the past fifteen years, I cannot emphasise the importance of the relationship being two-way. If the supplier does not know about a certain issue, how can they assist in addressing it? Regular interaction will build a trustworthy relationship which allows for open and honest discussions on product and progress updates, as well as the opportunity to demystify regulation updates, compliance, etc. Geodesys hosts a series of topical CPD workshops at various UK locations throughout the year. These well-attended events provide a platform for our clients to hear from industry experts like Kate Faulkner, mingle with likeminded people and touch base with their Account Managers. As the relationship and the communication between the organisation and the supplier develops, you will find efficiency will improve and potentially increase operational value too. Offering feedback to the supplier is key in ensuring they can provide a service that meets your expectations and drives continuous improvement. Geodesys offers their customers, for example, multiple mechanisms for gaining feedback including surveys, meetings and seminars, which helps us continually improve our systems and service.
Arguably, lawyers are cautious of seeking external investment as it appears to be a complex process; nevertheless, a growing number of firms are no longer focusing on mere survival but rather growth. To fuel their ambitious growth plans, firms need access to finance, and supporting a future business strategy by exchanging a piece of your company in return for cash is common practice. However, deciding whether to raise money from equity finance is a very difficult choice for most law firms, as bringing in new shareholders always means “dilution” to the existing shareholders. On the other hand, a shrewd plan coupled with the right investor can be transformative for a law firm and lead to financial gains for both parties. Whilst the law firm may have parted with some equity to attract investment, each side ends up with a more valuable slice due to capitalizing on the opportunities before them. Each time the shares of a company are diluted its economic value should increase. Firms must be prudent and always consider the investors approach to investing. For example, are there non-monetary benefits such as managing the firm with autonomy and ultimately being responsible for the day-to-day activities of the firm. Additionally, some investors can contribute capital and provide mentorship to deliver innovations that will benefit the firm. Investors may be able to offer external expertise, whilst working in tandem with the business to share the challenges and opportunities of a growing firm. Moreover, fuelling ambitious plans and investing in infrastructure does not necessarily mean that a piece of the pie should be sold. Some firms can grow organically by merely managing their cashflow better. For example, at VFS Legal Funding we understand the challenges a law firm faces and can provide the additional funding required; aligning facilities to match expected cash flow. The law firm can achieve its business objectives, helping the law firm increase its profitability by increasing their financial muscle. Prudent planning coupled with the right investment will ultimately result in a firm growing into a valuable business. Equity is expensive and selling a piece of the pie can be a difficult task! However, owning a smaller piece of a big pie should not be frowned upon.
CONCLUSION Developing good relationships with your suppliers is not a complicated process. Be communicative, tell them your needs and expectations, treat them fairly, be demanding and be loyal. It’s that simple.
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Barrister, Serjeants’ Inn Chambers.
Director of Business Development, Kaplan Altior.
Learning is a journey
Commissioning independent reviews – a brave new world?
What are the benefits and how often should you re-connect with and review your current service providers?
In all regulated areas, responsible officers frequently have to navigate the challenge of interpreting rules and regulations. When policies and checklists have been settled in principle, those responsible must take up the gauntlet of managing their efficacy in practice.
Socrates knew what he didn’t know, but when it comes to selecting the best service provider, can you relate? Are you truly able to identify your best options and are you reviewing them often enough?
Regulators in the sectors of Finance, Charities, Health and Sport have in recent years seen a rise in the commissioning of independent inquiries, to review concerns or perceived failures where private or government orders have been raised.
These questions come into sharp focus during annual budgeting, when firms analyse efficiencies and forecast spend whilst planning future projects based on the firm’s strategy and requirements. To get the best from your providers, you need to understand how they’re responding to new market trends, how receptive they are to changing business demands and to what extent they’re willing to adapt to accommodate your needs. But first you need to take a critical look at your own working practices to ensure what you established in the past is what you actually need for the future.
Whilst the spotlight and perception of these scenarios have frequently been negative, there are many sectors where reviews are seen as constructive learning exercises; there are clear benefits in preparing employees, pre-empting problem areas and strengthening efficacy. Mock Ofsted inspections of schools and preparatory Care Quality Commission teams are an example of useful reporting, reviewing process and procedures to test the knowledge and understanding of those executing them. Regulatory advisers and the private client sector can gain much from commissioning an independent inquiry, whether it is reviewing a checklist or process for safeguarding procedures, to a ‘fact-finding’ exercise where a flaw or concern has been raised. This can serve as due diligence, - useful in itself but also in demonstrating due process in the event of subsequent reporting or formal investigation; and can increase employee engagement with compliance, so working to impress transformational culture change on the organisation.
If you have a chosen provider, do not rest on your laurels or let them rest on theirs - you should be looking to continuously challenge them, as well as yourself, to remain at the forefront of your industry. In a perfect world, you’ll build relationships with a provider that offers longevity thanks to high quality levels of service, aligned values and a willingness to adapt as your business changes. However, if that isn’t possible, look to alternate between providers for different services – remember it’s always best to reflect and evaluate and then shape your plans - nothing is set in stone.
So how does one assess when, how and who to undertake these reviews? The starting point is to always consider the strategic objective; how will the report or feedback be managed and what are its operational objectives? My top tips in this regard are: n Focus on fact-finding; n Consider if the process will be transparent or confidential; n Remember that as well as potentially exposing weakness they can protect and enhance strengths; n Concentrate on promoting efficacy and lesson-learning seek practical recommendations from your reviewer.
To be truly pioneering, you have to disrupt your own established ways of thinking as well as identify those service providers in the market who are similarly brave and ambitious. Open yourself up to the concept of diversity of thought, innovative ideas can spring from across the business and can often be overlooked unless embraced as part of your business culture. Seek out those providers that are continuously pushing the boundaries of their industry, who can help you to think differently to navigate the changing landscape of your own.
Key considerations are: n Who to appoint as a Reviewer – qualifications, skills, experience and standing must all be given weight, with independence of paramount importance; n Consult and plan the protocol and how the review will be conducted to ensure that the process is managed practically with due regard to the material to be considered and its status (Legal Professional Privilege is not always guaranteed); n Ensure clear Terms of Reference; Set realistic timetables, targets and transparency levels with stakeholders. Critically, consider it a strength and not weakness, it may tip the balance when the decision makers consider culpability and accountability in future conduct reviews.
At Kaplan Altior, we’re always looking at ways to best innovate our service and nurture an experience-led culture across our business. By making continuous improvements and through taking a personal and practical approach to everything we do, we ensure we’re able to support our clients more effectively. Learning is a journey, not a destination and one in which we should all partake.
Moving searches forward.
Identified: risk from one or more kinds of flooding
Groundsureâ€™s Homebuyers Plus is a new residential environmental risk report, an enhanced version of the existing Homebuyers report. Based on Land Registry polygons, with new features, improved layout, intuitive design and clearer navigation, Homebuyers Plus saves time and improves workflow for conveyancers. To find out more, visit: groundsure.com/mlm or contact your preferred search provider.
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Managing Director, Blue Car Technologies Limited.
Business Development Manager, AmTrust Law.
“Relationship is everything”
How can the integration of different technologies be used in a law firm, and how can this improve its processes?
This statement rings true every time I catch up with clients. Relationships are built on trust and take time to develop, with you both working together to create something equally beneficial. A good long standing relationship will flourish if you invest time getting to know each other’s capabilities and have a constant dialogue. Working with your service provider for solutions that support your business and ultimately your clients.
The usage of digital signatures is becoming increasingly common in law firms. A US study found that customers can typically save up to $36 per document when electronic methods are used rather than traditional paper methods.
The benefits of such a relationship could include an intuitive response to your client’s needs, a better service offering that supports the long term view of your business and of course better value for your money.
The digital process also tends to prove much faster than its predecessor with an estimated 84% of documents completed within 24 hours. At present, both sides are guilty of delays and wastage. An estimated 1/5 of lawyers have “missed an important revenue deadline chasing written signatures” and over 16% of 2016’s client complaints to the Legal Ombudsman were related to “delay” or “failure to progress” on matters.
However, we all know the foundation of a business relationship is based on an “opportunity”. A chance discussion promoting your services, showing the world what you have. I am definitely of the opinion, if you have got it then you should flaunt it!
Digital signatures also promise to be more secure than their paper counterparts. The usage of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is essential to this as each user is given a unique public and private signature key. This key is a “hash” (a long and unique sequence of numbers and letters that represents the data itself). If the document is altered, then the hash changes and the parties are alerted to the change because their keys will no longer interact with each other. The use of PKI significantly lessens the ability of malevolent third parties to tamper with a document. Digital signatures also allow the respective parties to view the history of when each signature was entered onto the document.
Although the grass is not always greener on the other side, it is just mowed differently as my Nan used to say, sometimes it pays to see what the other lawn mower actually looks like! If feel you are not getting what you need from your service provider or unsure what else is in the market, it would be worth your time to perform your due diligence, know what other service providers are out there. Appreciate the value of your custom to suppliers and understand why yours is an account worth winning.
Worldwide compliance with digital signatures continues to grow every year as countries make it a priority to enact legislation. Over 60 countries allow digital and electronic signatures and major markets such as the US, the EU, China and India have had legislation in place for nearly 20 years in some places. The Law Society and The City of London Law Society published a practice note endorsing the use of digital signatures after the new Regulation on Electronic Identification and Trust Services for Electronic Transactions in the Internal Market (910/2014/EU) came into force in 2016. It is likely that an increasing number of law firms will explore the adoption of digital signatures to gain a competitive advantage.
But remember that key phrase, ”Relationship is everything”. You have worked hard to build that relationship, it has taken time and effort. Something which has come at a cost, a sacrifice has been made. You have a track record with your present providers, would it not be worth engaging with them to see if they can at the very least match what you are being offered? Our environment is one of competition, it is only naturally that we will only settle for the very best. So engage with alternative providers from time to time. Know the market, understand its capabilities, but be mindful of the value of your current relationship and the uncertainty of the new. Pick up that telephone, speak to your incumbents and give them the chance to shine, take the bull by the horns and put that date in the diary, have that coffee, who knows what it might lead to…
IGNORANCE IS NO DEFENCE
DevAssist investigates locations for development risks that could impact a property. We are an accredited CPD provider on development and planning.
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Jt Managing Director, Silverman Advisory.
Managing Director, SpeechWrite Digital.
Hosted mobile When to employ solutions on the rise external marketing in law firms and PR support for your firm
The latest research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) reveals that the overall cloud adoption rate in the UK now stands at 88 per cent, with 67 per cent of users expecting to increase their adoption of cloud-based services over the coming year. The top four reasons respondents gave for cloud take-up were delivery, flexibility, operational cost savings and scalability.
Ensuring your practice is seen and heard by prospective and current clients in a ferociously competitive environment is vital for your firm’s long-term success. With capitalising on marketing being so essential, identifying the most effective model for achieving best results from marketing and PR for your firm is equally important; so when should you consider seeking external support to aid a practice’s growth?
The legal market has followed this trend with many firms opting for cloud solutions to meet growing client demands and changing office dynamics. Hosted voice recognition and digital dictation workflow system offers legal firms all of these benefits and more. To reflect modern out-of-office working, mobile cloud solutions help organisations create real agile working environments.
TIME IS TICKING When there are not enough people or hours in the day to complete all of the marketing activities and your firm is struggling to meet deadlines or remain abreast of the latest tools and techniques to amplify your marketing, these should signal a red flag for change. Appointing a specialist will not only lift the burden from within your walls, but it is likely to help upskill you and your team in the process as they’ll bring with them specialist knowledge about marketing and insight into the latest tools and techniques which you can utilise to their fullest effect.
REDUCED COSTS With minimal upfront cost and no minimum term contract, hosted voice recognition solutions can considerably reduce a law firm’s voice workflow and dictation costs. Furthermore there is no need for installation or costly infrastructure which creates a really attractive and flexible proposition for legal clients.
FLEXIBLE MOBILE WORKING
STRATEGY, WHAT STRATEGY?
Mobile hosted dictation solutions can be available on any device, whether it be mobile, desktop or tablet. This means the user is not limited by device, system specification or otherwise. All the user needs is an internet connection to be able to access their dictations from anywhere, at any time.
Online, offline, internal or external, whichever area of your marketing and communication you are approaching, it should be guided by an overarching strategy to deliver brand consistency and authenticity. Failure to implement your activity within the lens of a guiding strategy risks delivering a confused message compounded by a scattergun approach of inconsistently targeted activities and audiences. Together these are unlikely to achieve the awareness outcomes your firm seeks. An external expert will develop a strategy, which brings your brand’s values to life, ensures your channels align to deliver a consistent brand voice and engage your audiences across multiple mediums.
VOICE RECOGNITION Fully integrated within your workflow solution, voice recognition allows you to dictate from any device, electronically sign, send in real time, track and edit your document all within the same system.
INTEGRATION The best voice recognition solutions will integrate directly into the law firm’s existing workflow and case management systems, creating an end to end process, helping customers develop an even more seamless workflow solution.
NUMBERS ARE MISSING Would you employ a new fee earner without having some idea of the revenue they are supposed to generate? I’d suspect not. So why would you invest valuable resources in marketing without an expectation of what the return should be? If your marketing activity is based on unsubstantiated expectation then consider using an expert who’ll be able to help you create a programme built on data and results to help you improve future performance and maximise your investment.
SCALABLE SOLUTION Scalability and flexibility are at the core of I.T hosted solutions. Users and groups can be set up almost instantaneously; allowing managers to limit or increase document accessibility on the go. Prioritisation can be set by a click of a button to ensure that key documents are produced before tasks of lesser importance. This managerial workflow aid is essential in keeping turnaround time low and client satisfaction high.
Geodesys. All you need to know. For over 20 years, Geodesys has provided a wide range of conveyancing searches and services to clients nationwide. The result? Indispensable peace of mind. Whether your transaction is local, regional or further afield, our unique and insightful service is available to you.
Over 20 years of conveyancing searches. For information call 0800 085 8050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.geodesys.com
Managing Director, Enlighten IC.
Global CEO, Perfect Portal.
Could an How price transparency helps interactive reach 59% of home approach to marketing work for movers searching for a conveyancer your firm? The evolvement in technology has changed the ways we communicate, perform daily tasks and the ways we look for information. We now search online before making a decision and expect to have instant answers at our fingertips.
With more and more firms marketing online, what can you do to differentiate your practice and stand out from the crowd? One method could be to introduce some form of interactivity to your website and allow visitors to engage with you more during the buying process. Help prospective clients at this important time and it will be a much easier process for them to become a client.
According to research, 59% of home movers are getting two or more quotes before selecting their conveyancer as price transparency is important to them. This number has increased quite significantly as just three years ago majority of the home movers only obtained one single quote before instructing a firm. Rather than the traditional methods of phone calls or face-to-face visits, home movers are now seeking digital channels to find quotes online in the evenings and on the weekends, when they are not at work.
1. Online Calculators - could a Stamp Duty Calculator be useful to help conveyancing prospects to understand the cost of moving or an Online Pricing calculator highlight typical costs for a prospective client? Check out our own Revenue Growth Calculator to see this in action (enlighten-ic.com/revenue-growth-calculator).
It is imperative for firms to be able to provide an instant quote at a time that is most convenient to the client. If your firm can’t provide a quote when it’s requested, then the consumer will move on and go to the next firm who can. The research also shows that 35% of home movers would pay more for a premium customer service, provided it can deliver convenience.
2. Interactive Infographics - take an informative thought leadership report, maybe the results of a recent survey, and create an interactive infographic to present the results and allow visitors to filter the data on-screen themselves. 3. Online Chat - online chat has become increasingly popular for firms to engage with visitors on their website and increase leads from their website. The downside however is that someone needs to be there to respond…
The firms who are succeeding in todays’ demanding property market are the firms who are adapting technology and taking advantage of these changing consumer behaviours. Fletcher Longstaff Limited is among one of these technology forward firms. The firm recently implemented Perfect Portal to help their prospect clients obtain an instant quote via the firms’ website out of hours with all the information and clarify on all fees. Being pro-active and providing the clients self-serving information has been successful for the firm, in fact August saw a record with over 50% of the quotes generated through their website calculator.
4. Bots - to avoid having someone to service your chat 24/7, online bots are now helping fill this void and can be developed to answer some of the more frequently asked questions. 5. Quizzes, Polls and Questionnaires - with the move to highlight customer feedback/ reviews online, why not develop an online client satisfaction survey and demonstrate how good your client service actually is? Being seen to value the opinions of your clients can go a long way.
Research demonstrates that home movers want to selfserve information and they expect transparency on all the fees for service before making their decision. This supports further research by the CLC that firms who offer an instant conveyancing quote calculator on their websites convert more visitors than the firms with just have a contact phone number or an email address on their websites.
There is a very real opportunity for innovative law firms to stand out from the pack (and perhaps address regulatory calls for solicitors to be more transparent at the same time). The key, however, is to use new technologies to automate the process so that it doesn’t involve a time commitment for your team.
It is important that firms understand that transparency is more than just price, home movers expect clear communication throughout the process. We can help firms take advantage of every opportunity and provide complete transparency from quote to completion. The easy to use system can generate an online quote with all the accurate fees within seconds and the automatic follow up and communication features ensure the clients receive the best possible service throughout the process in a method that is most convenient for them.
If you would like to discuss how an interactive approach to marketing could increase leads from your website, please get in touch. Alternatively, please check out our Definitive Guide To Legal Marketing at enlighten-ic.com/legalmarketing for lots of useful hints and tips to market your practice.
Struggling to keep your clients updated on case progress? Maybe itâ€™s time to try Perfect Portal
Provide instant updates via an easy to use online platform With multiple parties involved in a conveyancing matter, keeping everyone updated can take up your valuable time. With Perfect Portal itâ€™s easy. The complete New Business Management System means you can proactively keep all parties updated through the system with just one simple click, improving your service levels. Communicate effectively, improve efficiency and provide transparency with Perfect Portal.
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Marketing Director, SmartSearch.
How can internal processes be streamlined in order to help reduce the risk of fraud? Compliance with the Money Laundering Regulations can present law firms both large and small with a complex set of policies and procedures with the Know Your Customer (KYC) obligations presenting the most onerous aspect of the regulations.
SmartSearch has been specifically designed to create a “One Stop Shop” for all AML, anti-fraud and KYC needs. The regulations require a “risk based approach” to customer verification and firms who adopt the platform can quickly and easily verify all new clients, whether they are individuals or corporate clients, based in the UK or overseas.
Verifying business or corporate clients can be extremely challenging and time consuming with most firms using multiple data sources, both on and off-line, and a mixture of documents and software platforms. The requirement to verify directors, partners, ultimate beneficial owners and the need to establish the ownership, purpose and control of the entity can mean that firms can literally spend hours attempting to comply with the regulations.
By integrating all AML, anti-fraud and KYC datasets into a single platform, law firms are able to eradicate documentary evidence; this removes the myriad of information systems and service providers required and reduces the time taken for an Individual AML check to three seconds and a Business check to less than four minutes. In addition, where other electronic AML systems simply produce a fail result so the law firm has to conduct enhanced due diligence, it delivers all of the relevant information to enable this to be done immediately.
But this process can be simplified and streamlined, reducing both the time spent on compliance and the risk of fraud to the business by using an electronic verification platform.
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Modern Law Magazine’s editorial board provides practical guidance to our readership about the latest market developments. Our editorial board members’ knowledge and insight is extremely effective and valuable to firms facing impending business challenges. Our members get seen both in print and online through our news feed and social media platforms. Members also have the opportunity to be included in events including roadshows, roundtables, conferences and award ceremonies. The editorial board enables you to provide solutions through your editorial contributions, positioning you as thought leaders and granting excellent exposure in the legal sector.
But don’t just take it from us:
“Being on the editorial board of Modern Law has given me an opportunity to share ideas with the editor and other members of the Board. I have been made to feel that my contribution is unique and valued. It also has meant that the readership get the chance to hear a psychological perspective on law, legal practice and quality improvement, which I think is worthwhile and positive.” Professor Hugh Koch, Clinical Psychologist and Director, Hugh Koch Associates and Professor in Law & Psychology, Birmingham City University.
“The reward being part of the editorial board comes not by financial compensation but by increased visibility specifically to the brand I represent. To be recognised as a decision influencer is a rare and wonderful commodity. MLM has added that value for us.” Edna Hammami, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Legit Claims Limited.
If you feel that your company is a legal leader then please get in touch – we would love to talk about the range of benefits we can offer with membership.
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Time to call in the professionals – other professionals that is Our resident Tech columnist Charles Christian writes…
hen it comes to law office technology, lawyers have two unfortunate personality traits that can work against them! The first is the How-Difficult-Can-This-Be? Scenario. As you’ll have noticed, many lawyers have a very high opinion of their own abilities – they genuinely believe (to use a term coined by Michael Lewis in his book on Wall Street bond traders Liar’s Poker) they are “Masters of the Universe”. So, when a computer problem arises, their initial reaction is something along the lines of “I specialise in complex commercial disputes… how difficult can tech be?” The second unfortunate trait is while lawyers value their own time (billable hours and all that) they do not seem to value other people’s time quite so highly. The worst example of this I encountered (and only a couple of years ago) was the finance director of a “silver circle” London firm having to deal with a newly appointed partner, who was demanding the IT director’s salary be cut because he thought it outrageous a mere techie should be earning so much money (The partner had clearly never seen the bills plumbers and car mechanics charge!). Combine these traits and you have a scenario where the potential complexity of tech issues are not only underestimated but lawyers opt for the cheapest possible solution to fix it. The old adage that if you pay peanuts, you only get monkeys to work for you, seems to have passed them by! Over the years I’ve encountered firms that have tried to save money by buying hardware from “box-shifters” or via mail-order outlets, only to discover they don’t offer the handholding care and support services you get from specialist legal IT vendors. My favourite was a QC, I once visited (for a magazine interview) at his chambers in The Temple, only to find he’d
“Over the years I’ve encountered firms that have tried to save money by buying hardware from “box-shifters” or via mail-order outlets, only to discover they don’t offer the hand-holding care and support services you get from specialist legal IT vendors”
decided to replace his PC hard-drive himself and was busily filing the opening in the case because the replacement he’d purchased wasn’t the exact same size as the original. Here was a man with such a high fee-earning capacity that I could never have afforded his services (if I’d needed them) yet he was faffing about with a file on a D-I-Y computer maintenance problem a specialist could have fixed in a fraction of the time – and no doubt done a better, neater job. Perhaps it is because so many lawyers still focus on total billable hours (or, in the case of barristers, fees), in other words turnover, rather than profit margins and the underlying cost of doing business, that they still have such a narrow approach to outgoings and look for the cheapest option? The more mature business approach is surely to consider such factors as convenience and “opportunity cost.” For example, would you rather faff about trying to fix a tech problem or getting on with client work? Similarly, it does not make sense to have a whole firm grind to a halt waiting for an amateur solution to come to the rescue. Just as clients are always advised to seek specialist lawyers for specialist problems, so lawyers need to realise that no matter how smart they may be (or at least think they are) there are times when the prudent, costeffective option is to call in another professional to help them.
Computer selection? Call in an independent computer consultant to do the donkeywork. Computer upgrade and maintenance issues? Call in a specialist contractor. Day-to-day IT and training? Employ your own IT staff – and be prepared to pay the going rate else you Charles Christian is the Founder of the Legal IT risk being back with the monkeys. Sure, tech Insider newsletter and talks can be expensive but it’s part of the cost of about tech and geek stuff on running a modern legal business. And it’s a taxTwitter at @ChristianUncut deductible.
Proclaim encompasses Practice, Case and Matter Management software, and is endorsed by the Law Society.
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s d a e H g n i k l Ta T R O P P U S L LEGA
How can law firms utilise outsourcing? Law firms can utilise outsourcing to cleverly keep control of large cases: to read through those documents and make an initial assessment over their relevance, dramatically speeding up the review process. E-discovery experts can also use early case assessment tools to gain an unprecedented depth of understanding over the data and decide what to do much earlier in the process than normal.
In the legal e-discovery market, it is becoming more common for firms to outsource large disclosure exercises to document review agencies. Whilst this can help in relieving some of the burden of a heavy case, it can often be costly and require plenty of solicitor oversight anyway! However, there is a halfway house that could let firms manage the case themselves and still break down the volume of work. The solution is outsourcing the early parts of the disclosure exercise to a specialised e-discovery provider with the latest technology and experienced project managers. By leveraging specialist knowledge, the volume of documents that make it to solicitor review can be reduced by as much as 75%, suddenly making the task manageable. Here is how:
The end result for your law firm is that you have used technology outsourcing to mitigate half the job but still keeping overall control, using this method you have made an otherwise overbearing task manageable under your own roof! Just remember there is no â€œone fits allâ€? solution â€“ understand your objectives to accurately select the right approach and outsource it to the right service provider.
1) Use a large pool of experience: outsourcing means you will have a much larger pool of experienced project managers working for you, who are able to understand the data easily and work out how to deal with it, this means the data will be managed much more efficiently, reducing the output size.
Solicitor, Director (Europe), Knovos.
2) Use the latest technology: once the data is processed then experts can use the latest in Technology Assisted Review
Benefitting from external sources of capital
Assisting our clients
Litigation funding, in its simplest guise, is where a third party, without direct interest in the proceedings, provides a litigant with the financial resources to enable costly, risky litigation or arbitration cases to proceed. If the case results in a recovery, the third-party funder receives a “success fee”. If the case is unsuccessful, the funder loses its investment and the litigant and its lawyers owe nothing.
My name is Simon Wadlow and I am a Director of Total Legal Solutions. The main area of our business is cost recovery. We set up almost three years ago and through our guaranteed results, we have grown significantly.
Over the last three years, litigation funders have adapted to finance law firms directly. Law firm finance is capital provided directly to a firm secured against a litigation portfolio or a draw down facility provided by the funder to cover a preagreed proportion of the law firm’s incurred fees in any given case. Funds may also be drawn down to cover the firm’s general operating expenses like employee salaries and other overheads.
We guarantee to increase our Law Firms cost recoveries by looking at WIP recovery v fees paid for the service and by being a little more scientific on such recoveries and pricing than firms have traditionally. We do this by employing some of the most respected names in the cost industry and by using the latest technology to provide our staff with prompts, which must be acted upon to clear.
There are considerable benefits for law firms in outsourcing this expense to expert litigation funders. Law firm finance deals offer the potential to stabilise a law firm’s financial position as it pursues strategic changes. It can offer smaller firms the ability to advance meritorious but riskier cases, generally mitigating risk for the firm and client, who will not be in a worse position if the claim is unsuccessful. Finally, law firms can alleviate cash-flow challenges, as litigation funding provides a certainty that legal invoices will be paid in a timely manner.
We also carefully study the patterns of our opponent as well as looking into the way we perform on a daily basis. As part of our service we will also look to assist our clients in generating new cases. It is important to spend time with your clients on a quarterly basis in order to assist them in this area or helping them to expand in new areas; you can do this by in a number of ways, which I would be happy to discuss or review. With our industry being subject to regular changes it is also wise to look into new areas of work. Many firms are put off this as they have worked in one area for so long but experts are available to provide consultancy and in-house changes. It may be possible to generate new work out of your existing client base.
The decision handed down in Excalibur Ventures LLC & Ors -v- Psari Holdings Limited & Ors  EWCA Civ 144 draws a distinction between professional funders and those who are inexperienced and unprofessional in their assessment of case merits. The importance of outsourcing to the right type of funder, experienced in litigation procedure, with a full understanding of risks, is vital. The process of securing litigation funding is becoming more streamlined as law firms gain more experience in dealing with funders’ due diligence processes. As AI is used more to predict case outcomes, funders will take quicker decisions on risk, enabling them to deploy capital more quickly and with more confidence.
Director, Total Legal Solutions. Should you wish to speak with me over any of these issues, then drop me a line at email@example.com or call the mobile on 07912 432235
Investment Associate, Woodsford Litigation.
Managing Director, Bluebird Support Services Limited.
How do you know you will get what you want, and need, from your outsourced partner? The reality is that most businesses start outsourcing with a clear like-for-like replacement of what they already employ. It’s certainly a good starting point, and the main reason for outsourcing will always be to reduce overhead. If you can get the basics right, then your client experience should never be negatively affected. If, however, you choose to work closer with your outsourced partner, then your client experience can be exceptional and can set you apart from your competitors. Your best suppliers can help you in many ways. For example, training, branding, marketing, operational efficiency, technology. You should receive useful advice and know-how included in the cost of the service if you work together with your supplier to develop a strong relationship. They may even be useful for referrals. Here are some other factors to consider:
Reliability. Building rapport, trust, and confidence doesn’t happen with automated systems; it happens when people talk to each other regularly. Customer service excels when the requirements are clearly understood, so clear communications are necessary. Ask yourself ‘what am I putting up with?’ Accuracy. Your clients will perceive that you’re only as good as your last piece of work. Is customer service being monitored effectively by both you and your supplier? Is a lack of accuracy having a negative impact on your productivity, efficiency and client experience? Security and confidentiality. You have an obligation to your clients to secure and maintain their data. Every supplier in your business must support you in that. Choose partners that can add security controls, mitigate risk, and benefit your quality management system and processes. Relationship. Do you share your pains and plans for your business with your suppliers? Rather than look upon your outsourced suppliers as a transaction, instead choose to work with them as business partners. It’s symbiotic!
s d a e H g Talkin Understanding the industry landscape
LIENT C E T A PRIV
What external factors are currently affecting Q Probate Research, and how can these be managed? Historically, a lack of regulation has posed A significant challenges within our industry. Most of these issues were being caused by hobby
What lessons could the legal market take from other industries?
genealogists, one man band firms, and associations operating without the level of knowledge required navigating the highly sensitive nature of work involved within this industry. As a result of this, fraudsters posing as Heir Hunters have unscrupulously stolen millions from the public. Fortunately, The Association of Probate Researchers (APR) was formed to address these problems and safeguard the interests of the public. APR is a recognised body under the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) and insures its members adhere to the highest quality of conduct. This subsequently ensures the public have peace of mind that their paralegal practitioners are regulated and backed by a compensatory scheme. Fraser and Fraser are proudly the founding member of APR.
When dealing with clients, whatever area of the law you practice in, it is essential that you provide them with sound, well-informed advice. For certain situations, this advice may be better sought from complementary industries.
effect is the post legal services act QWhat having on the private client industry? The legal services act was introduced within the A private client industry to increase competition to improve the provision of services, and protect
Unoccupied Direct explains that, sometimes, seeking out a specialist partner could protect your business and your clients at the same time. In their particular industries, these companies will have tailored their products and services to the market, so they can be trusted to meet the needs of your clients. For example, some solicitors, especially in the probate sector, may choose the current home insurance provider of the deceased to cover the property while it is empty. However, they may not know that some providers may only cover the property while it is unoccupied for a limited period of time, or offer a very limited level of cover. In order to ensure that you provide a comprehensive service to your client and protect their estate, it’s worth looking for a specialist firm to work with. At the same time, working with other industries that have your needs in mind may actually improve the overall service that you provide, as your processes may become more streamlined. Unoccupied Direct, for example, offers an exclusive credit account for solicitors, so that you can manage your clients’ cover efficiently. By using modern, tech-savvy businesses, you could wave goodbye to archaic practices, by reducing paperwork and speeding up your methods.
and promote public interest. Since its introduction there has been a significant increase in the number of non-lawyers involved in the business of providing legal services; most notably with some supermarkets having entered the market. Despite this vast diversification within the market place, Fraser and Fraser have continued to ensure they remain the most competitive within the industry, through continuing to raise the standard offered to beneficiaries by our service. We pride ourselves in conducting our services with the upmost integrity to ensure we provide a seamless service to our clients.
What challenges and opportunities do you Q expect within the private client industry in the next ten years? The next ten years for the Probate Research A industry looks promising. There has been an important continuing increase in professional ethics and regulation. Greater access to TV provides an increased level of transparency, whereas online records have made the unsolvable solvable. Specifically, Fraser and Fraser are well positioned for the future through our unique decades of experience and quality reputation, which gives us a deep understanding of the industry landscape. We will continue to grow, diversify, and explore opportunities overseas, whilst ensuring we strive to maintain the highest standards of integrity within our sector – both here in the UK and overseas.
With so many specialists at your disposal, don’t just stick to what you know; let the experts bring their skills and knowledge to you and your clients.
Business Development Executive, Unoccupied Direct. Unoccupied Direct is a leading provider of Unoccupied Home Insurance.
Marketing Manager, Fraser and Fraser.
s d a e H Talking How are client needs changing in the conveyancing market?
ANCING Y E V N CO
What are conveyancing firms looking for in their services supplier?
We now live in a world powered by information with consumers craving instantaneous information. This is the major change in the way clients operate. Technology is therefore a huge influence on the way they interact, and the conveyancing sector needs to adjust to these changes.
Risk drives decision-making in any industry, none more so than conveyancing. Service provider choice is governed by this, and a conveyancer will care very acutely about credibility. Given the propensity for claims against conveyancers, their confidence in a service provider will arguably be the single biggest defining factor determining their engagement.
We can already see this happening with estate agencies, like Purplebricks moving to an online platform. Consumers also prefer their information condensed into a single site; the upsurge in comparison sites across many sectors highlights this and sites like Rightmove and Zoopla have demonstrated that this is merging into the conveyancing sector. Could we see a comparison site for legal service providers’ fees and services in the near future?
This confidence will be influenced by a number of supporting business functions, including customer service, operational management, and domain knowledge. Perhaps the last of these functions is most influential, as alongside credibility must come simplicity. Credible simplicity is paramount in a conveyancing environment of ‘less time and more information’. A conveyancer must hold the belief that their service provider is a domain expert and able to filter the mountain of data available into a simple summary of what is truly important for them to act on.
An ever-present client need is that of clear communication between themselves and the legal service provider. When the conveyancing process can feel slow and laborious, consumers now demand to understand the process and require regular updates. Clients will expect more transparent, regular communication with their conveyancer and will use a range of platforms to facilitate this; whether that be through face-toface, telephonic communication, email or through proptech innovations like apps that can track progress, understanding the process and developments is important in the modern world.
Another factor is the ease of acting on information that is important. Taking environmental reports as an example and focusing on flood risk, depending on service supplier choice, a conveyancer may need to engage with two or three commercial enterprises in order to resolve identified risks. Service providers therefore need to keep things simple and be the conveyancer’s single point of contact from risk identification through to resolution.
DevAssist exists as a part of these changes and as a part of addressing the client’s desire to know and understand more and more about the property they are purchasing, the future of the surrounding area and how to avoid any pitfalls. Finally, clients expect a faster service, gravitating towards law firms that offer a certain speed of delivery. Recent reports have indicated that legal service users are driven by cost and look for a fixed-fee system, ensuring that there are no hidden fees.
Lastly, and perhaps most obviously, what conveyancers are looking for is in the title; service. A professional support team should be on hand to service any re-active requests, whilst any progressive service supplier should be evolving its products to be pro-actively helpful and service the exact needs of customers – both now and in the future.
DevAssist reports are clearly priced and have a turnaround of appx five days from request to report delivery with a fastrack option if urgent
Head of Consultancy and Customer Services, Landmark Information Group.
Managing Director, DevAssist.
THE LEADING EDGE THROUGH LEGAL DESIGN Emily Allbon, Senior Lecturer, and Dr Matthew Terrell, Head of Marketing, observe the rising trend of legal design.
â€œLegal design provides us with an opportunity to change the balance of power between those who can understand legalese and navigate complex legal information, and those who cannotâ€?
ver the past few years, legal design has captured the attention of designers and legal professionals worldwide. This relatively new method of using the principles of design to make the law accessible, easier to understand and useful is not to be underestimated. Legal design has the potential to give law firms the leading edge over their competitors and provide greater access to justice for many.
opportunities and potential for law firms to get on board becomes apparent. Law firms have an opportunity, and arguably a responsibility, to assist their clients via the process of legal design. A law firm working together with legal designers on behalf of the client will help clients better understand the legal information, and any subsequent recipients of this information, potentially preventing any misunderstandings and in the worst-case, legal action. In many instances there is no obligation for legal information to be presented in a specific format when delivered to a client by a legal firm. However, if law firms don’t take responsibility for taking legal design principles on board from the beginning, they risk that information becoming diluted as their clients seek to take this responsibility on in order to explain the information to their customers.
GREATER ACCESS TO JUSTICE The impact legal design can have on an individual’s ability to understand complex legal information is extremely empowering for the end-user, especially within the public domain. In an age where access to justice is a growing concern, legal firms and indeed governments, can outsource legal design skills to empower individuals to navigate legislation, advice, and rules to ensure they understand their rights and obligations, as well as the rights of others. In New York, artist Candy Chang collaborated with The Street Vendor Project and Centre for Urban Pedagogy to translate the most commonly violated laws by street vendors of into an accessible visual format to help the population of 10,000+ vendors operate within the law. This demonstrates the scale of impact legal design can have in relation to the public’s access to justice. In the UK, Peter Bradley from Citizens Advice recently attended the Legal Design Sprint in London, along with organisations such as Jisc, Browne Jacobson LLP and the ICLR, to find a legal design solution for his clients. For Peter, it is important to find a solution for presenting important information during the application of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Currently, individuals who are unable to work due to sickness or disability can apply for ESA, however, to do so they need to navigate pages upon pages of information littered with legalese. These are only two examples, yet they highlight how legal design can be utilised to provide the wider public with better access to important information.
A BALANCE OF POWER Legal design provides us with an opportunity to change the balance of power between those who can understand legalese and navigate complex legal information, and those who cannot. The new European data protection laws (GDPR) require organisations to provide information in a clear and understandable format. The ICO has recently released a call for evidence regarding an Age Appropriate Design Code for conveying legal information. This demonstrates that we’re gradually acknowledging the need to communicate information clearly to its intended audience. Lawyers and law firms should not be exempt from this. Legal design, when not overseen by a lawyer, could also result in a number of legal and social challenges to the client and end-users of that information, especially in relation to areas such as defamation, misrepresentation or even social embarrassment. It is therefore important that lawyers are engaged in the design process and work closely with a range of professionals, their clients and end-users, when approaching legal design. Law firms also have an opportunity to increase the longevity and strength of the relationships with their clients by outsourcing legal design and overseeing the final product to ensure that the interests of all parties are maintained in the new legal design informed version; providing their clients with a more complete service and establishing a competitive edge that keeps their clients’ interests at heart.
is a Senior Lecturer at The City Law School.
Dr Matthew Terrell
is Head of Marketing at Justis. Emily Allbon is a Senior Lecturer in Law at The City Law School (City, University of London), creator of the award-winning Lawbore law resource website, and named one of 55 National Teaching Fellows in 2013 by the Higher Education Academy – the UK’s most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching. Dr Matthew Terrell is the Head of Marketing for Justis, and the driver behind the Law & Technology International Writing Competition. Matthew has extensive experience in design, from conceptualising interiors for Madam Tussauds to working in the film industry as a Storyboard Artist to Art Director.
UP When is it time to call in the specialists? Should you ditch an in-house marketing role in preference for agencies that swear they really know their onions? 58
Emma Waddingham, Director, provides a frank response to the â€˜inhouse versus outsourced marketingâ€™ debate and some top tips for law firms looking to huddle up with specialists outside of the business to add value to their marketing mix.
’ve worked both in-house as a marketing director and now through my own consultancy as an external provider. I’ve instructed suppliers for my employers, have been commissioned to run projects or retained marketing services and I also project manage other agencies on behalf of clients. There’s not much I haven’t seen and I’m quick to tell clients if they’re missing a trick. Too often (sadly), I’ve seen agencies patronise law firms, be quick to mop up all the work at the detriment of in-house talent, fail to be managed properly or have been allowed to create expensive campaigns that add no value to the client’s strategy. I’ve also witnessed some outstanding and creative agency-led projects, possibly achieved because an external specialist isn’t bogged down in the day-to-day of the client’s business. I’ve also seen over-worked in-house marketing teams that just can’t do it all and, conversely, firms with in-house marketing powerhouses filled with pockets of specialists. Sadly not all can afford this!firms the leading edge over their competitors and provide greater access to justice for many.
I don’t like to advocate the ‘in-house versus outsourced marketing’ support mentality. It’s limiting and often detrimental to the sustainability of your brand and to the development and creativity of your own marketing team – if you have one. For me, it’s about finding the best solution for your firm, your budget and resources. It’s about finding the right people to apply their specific experience, skills and contacts to create a captivating and valuable project. I honestly believe that collaborations between the right people (managed well) work wonders – both internally and externally. So how can it work in practice? My first example is of a client with a highly creative and passionate partnership but no in-house marketing function. The firm has a great relationship with a local PR company that understands the brand and is excellent at getting coverage across a large region. The coverage drives people to the website, where we can monitor enquiries and generate work. However, when a national story broke, the firm decided to use a different PR company with the edge in the national media, ensuring the solicitor featured was advised strategically on working with the national media to profile his other public law challenges in the future. This
“It’s about finding the best solution for your firm, your budget and resources. It’s about finding the right people to apply their specific experience, skills and contacts to create a captivating and valuable project” agency used their honed contacts and experience to get a faster result and also put the client in control. I then ensured the client’s digital strategy provides accessible, relatable and captivating information to captivate anyone who has read the story and wants to know more. This includes effective enquiry management across a range of online tools, 24/7, and to have a steer on digital marketing, branding and other applications to reach out to consumers. My PR specialism is for B2B audiences so I was very happy to work with people who are highly skilled at reaching out to consumers via the media. This exemplifies my own thoughts that the best marketing agencies aren’t a jackof-all-trades but focused on what they do well. In this case, the client used its specialists wisely, ensuring they’re all coordinated to allow them to harness talent and support they otherwise couldn’t afford in-house on a full time basis. In my second example, my client - a national legal membership organisation with a large and brilliant (but very busy) in-house marketing team - often works with me to utilise a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ for existing or new campaigns. I was also invited to lead a project to create a new online magazine for members in another side of the business. By challenging them to think about how people would access the content, share and engage with it, the project moved from an online flip and turn magazine to a new website, created purely to share professional information, helpful tips, news, analysis on the sector and interviews in video, audio and text format. The result is a highly engaging website, updated more often than a magazine, with measurable interactions, spin-off marketing opportunities and thousands of pounds saved annually as it’s much easier to manage than designing a traditional magazine. The client benefitted by utilising the ‘helicopter view’ I have over the sector, on engagement and on sustainable marketing but it also pulled on the outstanding experience of the digital agency we used. The digital team added real spice to the format and also allowed for growth in the build to cater for new interactive technology. Team effort! Meanwhile, the in-house team has now taken my plan for maintaining engagement and posting content and the measurable stats are impressive.
also helps them to understand your brand story, messaging and tone of voice. This ensures they don’t run wild with budgets or generate ideas that conflict with your brand aims. They might even be able to help you with these plans but that’s another project… n If you have a project or campaign that you think you need help with, allow them to come in with fresh ideas and bring them into the huddle. They should be seen as part of the team, in the short term or not. n If you have someone in-house that can support marketing activity and they simply need the boundaries, ideas and content focus, then ask the agency to wok with them and stay focused on what they do well. This is part of the team working approach and helps your own team to grow. n Utilise video calls to share screens and talk through ideas – avoid lengthy or unnecessary face-to-face catch-ups (you’ll pay for it!) n The consultant should be able to offer a ‘buddy’ to come in and help in other areas if the project requires it (design, print or data management for example. A successful, ethical and proven working relationship between agencies is not to be sniffed at; it’s more likely to be a winning mix! n Gather creative and successful advisors around you. Look out for those who have an understanding of the next generation of client and how they access information, especially smart home technology such as voice assistant marketing opportunities for Alexa and Google Home. They will have the space to learn these tricks whereas your inhouse team might be caught up in the day-to-day. Above all, work with people you love and who love what you do. If the agency doesn’t ‘get’ the heart of your business, they’re not going to be as passionate about finding the right solutions to promote you.
Some tips for working with outsourced marketing pros: n Have your business plan and brand guidelines at the ready (in confidence of course). This really helps an external party to get to know your vision, projections and target markets well – and fast. It
is the Director of Emma Waddingham Consulting.
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uy Williams Layton selects Eclipse’s Proclaim practice management system to enhance service and provide a seamless client journey Highly renowned North West firm, Guy Williams Layton, is implementing the Proclaim Practice Management Software solution from Eclipse Legal Systems, the sole Law Society Endorsed legal software provider. Guy Williams Layton is the successful union of several highly respected firms that have been providing legal services throughout the North West for many years. Currently based in Liverpool and
Heswall, the firm prides itself on its ability to adapt to the changing needs of the legal market, whilst preserving the best aspects of true personal service. The firm attributes this to its substantial investment in its effective use of technology. Eclipse will implement its Proclaim Case Management system throughout the offices and across a number of departments, including Debt Recovery, Conveyancing, Employment and Probate, serving to standardise working practices and enable teams to work from a centralised system. As part of the implementation, Eclipse will also conduct a full accounts conversion from Guy Williams Layton’s incumbent system, providing a fully integrated Proclaim Practice Management Software solution. To further drive client service and streamline efficiencies within the Conveyancing department, Guy Williams Layton is opting for Proclaim’s integration with the Land Registry Business Gateway (LRBG), serving to automate a number of stages within the Conveyancing process, as well as provide fee earners with access to Land Registry services - entirely through the Proclaim desktop. Additionally, in a bid to enhance client inception procedures, the firm will benefit from Eclipse’s New Business Enquiries toolset, providing end-to-end management of all incoming enquiries. Staff will be able to nurture on-going prospect relationships and target them
with relevant marketing materials, and when the time is right, create a live client file to include all pre-existing data. Jonathan Hogg, Partner at Guy Williams Layton, comments: “Eclipse’s expertise in the legal industry, its Law Society Endorsement, and Proclaim’s comprehensive toolsets, meant it was our first choice in terms of software providers. Proclaim will deliver a sophisticated, innovative and flexible legal software solution, and will truly enable us to effortlessly streamline our processes and introduce high levels of automation.” “We pride ourselves on our reputation for providing exceptional client care, and utilising Proclaim will enable us to enhance our service offering even further, allowing us to provide a seamless client journey from instruction through to completion. For further information, please contact
Marketing Director at Eclipse Legal Systems, part of Capita plc, via email@example.com or call 01274 704100. Alternatively, visit www.eclipselegal.co.uk
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JOE PEPPER Did you expect the legal services sector Q to change so drastically when you started working in it? I started working in the legal sector in A 2006, initially through the provision of outsourced services to the top 100 firms. Part of
QWho inspires you and why? I typically tend to be inspired by people I know at a very local level rather than A looking for people in the mediA I am inspired by anyone who overcomes adversity, in whatever that may be, in order to achieve whatever it is that they want to achieve whilst retaining the core spirit of their own inner beliefs.
the rationale was an expectation that through the passing of the legal services act and the subsequent introduction of the ABM, that we might see change adopted in a similar way to what happened in the banking industry in the 1980s, but to be honest that didn’t happen, and there were lots of reasons why that didn’t happen, one was learning the lessons of what happened in the 2008 banking crisis. I went on from there to work for EDM Mortgage Support Services and onto tmgroup.
My general overriding view is that technology has moved on at a phenomenal rate but at the same time all of the participants in the property transaction have had to deal with more disruption - from the emergence of online/ hybrid estate agents, to a raft of new regulations designed to protect the consumer and ultimately the government - which they have never dealt with before. It has forced businesses to focus on the short-term and so now we are in a position where it is taking us longer to do property transactions than it did ten years ago, even though we have got all of this incredible technology. Technology is becoming far more advanced then the industry is able to deal with. The sector hasn’t changed as drastically as I thought it was going to, however, it has now started to change and I see that process accelerating almost daily.
Have you had a mentor? If so, what was the most valuable piece of advice they Q gave you? I have two that come instantly to mind. There was a woman called Elizabeth A Gladden, who was a very key influencer on me
“Technology enables us to look at processes and develop solutions that make our businesses and lives better”
when I was young. She was a very forceful, confident American who taught me the importance of having a can-do attitude and how to break through glass ceilings and not fear anything. Later on, there was a chap called Rod Edwards who was formally a British Naval Officer and a senior business leader at the time, and what he gave me was the confidence to believe in following your own instinct and your decisions and to retain that belief, even when things may not initially go as you expected.
were not in your current position, you be doing? QIfwhatyouwould Still something to do with technology because it has given us a huge amount A of opportunities. If we don’t deliver the right
technology, we will either leave ourselves open to our own companies being taken over or we will see more and more of our work outsourced overseas. Technology enables us to look at processes and develop solutions that make our businesses and lives better.
What has been the key positive or Q negative impact of the liberalisation of legal services? I remember a pretty aggressive entrepreneur A telling me that the legal sector was going to go through a revolution within a couple of years but actually the change that it has gone through has not been overnight, it’s been very gradual, particularly when compared to other industries. Legal services providers have been faced with fresh competition forcing them to reassess their offerings and look at alternative ways of working. That has made them realise how processes and technology can be used to improve the quality and ultimately the profitability of the work that they do.
is the Chief Executive of tmgroup.
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Eclipse’s Proclaim system is the solution of choice for 25,000 legal professionals in over 1,000 organisations. Proclaim encompasses Practice, Case and Matter Management, and is endorsed by the Law Society. From new start-ups to industry heavyweights, Proclaim is the system of choice for forward-thinking law firms. • Fully integrated Practice Management Software solution • End-to-end case and matter management workflow processes • Ready-to-go workflows for specific practice areas • SAR-compliant legal accounting • Fast to implement, easy to use
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