Conference review: CLT’s “Managing and marketing a profitable private client practice” 2013Posted on: September 4, 2013
Today I attended CLT’s “Managing and marketing a profitable private client practice” as I was presenting a paper on pricing. I’ve presented at previous conferences, but today I was able to listen to the majority of the other presentations and thought I’d share the nuggets and highlights.
Helen Clarke chaired the event and opened by describing the perfect storm of changes in the UK legal market. She provided some useful statistics about the wills and probate market:
- 259,989 estates in 2010-11 notified for probate (47% of all clients)
- Approximately 35% law firms undertook probate and estate administration in 2010-11 but it contributed less than 10% of total turnover of firms
- 15,584 were taxpaying estates – approximately 3% of all deaths that year
- Over 1.4 million people in the UK are aged 85 or over
Regulatory compliance in a changing environment
She then romped through a considerable amount of regulatory issues. There was quite a bit of debate about how solicitors – who are heavily regulated – compete with those licensed to undertake wills work and ABSs (e.g. accountants, financial organisations and will writers) which face less regulation.
The “patchwork of consumer regulations, professional and voluntary codes and statutory obligations” was considered too complex for most consumers to understand. There was also some discussion about how mental capacity (particularly when acting for elderly clients) could be established when delivering on-line services. I also learned that there was a Deaf Law Quality Mark. Arrangements for preparing emergency wills were also mentioned.
Wills Quality Scheme
Gary Rycroft, Chair of the Law Society’s WQS Steering Group explained the rationale for the scheme and reviewed the costs and core elements and materials within the scheme. The benefits for member firms and consumers were outlined in some detail – there was interest in the “find a solicitor” service that is to be relaunched. Finally, the application process (to be completed by October) was summarised.
Pricing of private client services
This was the session I presented covering:
- What’s happening in the market
- Pricing basics
- Market segmentation and improving the value proposition
- Guidance with a step by step approach to a pricing strategy
- Effective price communications
During the questions and in subsequent discussions, the points that appeared to have struck the biggest chords related to assessing the value of the advice or service to clients and the idea of reframing or bundling services (some of which may not be legal) to differentiate services.
Changing working methods to improve profitability
Andrew Otterburn, a Chartered Accountant who has written some excellent books on law firm financial management and profitability, led this session. I was particularly pleased that he spent some time talking about attitude – the need to be passionate and enthusiastic about delivering excellent client service.
He mentioned some recent research he had conducted into private client departments:
Secretaries per lawyer
Delegates then worked in groups to discuss their approaches to typing, digital dictation, administrative support and outsourcing. There were some interesting points about the impact of bonus reward systems on overall profitability.
Julian Summerhayes (a non-practising solicitor and mediator who now consults) started by challenging prevailing views of business development which concentrated on lead generation and suggested a greater need for culture change and intra and interpersonal skills and the problem of billable hours.
He talked about the importance of “brand you” (whether using traditional or social media methods of promotion), the power of value added service and the need to create excellent client experiences. This integrated nicely with some of the points I made earlier about pricing. His view was that accountants are much further ahead in this area than lawyers. And I really liked his point about having a “not to do” list!
His final comments related to web sites (especially mobile) and content marketing. He mentioned one established law firm that had invested a significant amount with designers to produce infographics and a new entrant that employed a full time social media manager. His “David and Goliath” point related to the importance of internal marketing.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay to hear the final session by John Eaton on integrating private client and financial services work but I saw in the notes he talked about the three Ps (Protection, Provision and Preservation) and three Is (Independence, Impartiality and Integrity).
Related posts (some of which I mentioned during my talk):
- What is CRM and why is it important to professional firms?
- Client feedback from Nationwide Building Society and FT at PM Forum Conference 2012
- Lawyers, agents and media on international communications in real estate
- Legal Marketing Case study - Withy King's research/media relations campaign
- Top five tips for effective delegation
- Marketing to the elderly – for lawyers and accountants
- 10 steps to create a business development campaign
- Client Experience Management CEM – Two research reports
- Client Experience Management CEM – Lessons from John Lewis and other consumer services (Law Society Law Management Conference 2017)
- Two book reviews – For “Rainmakers and Trailblazers: Business Development for Lawyers”
- Developing a private client practice – 10 insights (July 2017)
- Six highlights from CLT’s Business Development for Lawyers training course
- What's new?
- How do I integrate social media into my business development?
- Key challenges when developing and sustaining your private client practice
- Where do I start? Business Development for Lawyers (MBL Private Client Training July 2015)
- Elderly, grey, silver, mature or hyperactive?
- One more time – Why is social media helpful for lawyers, accountants and surveyors?
- Divorce and family statistics
- Four insights from developing a private client practice – Analysis, Objectives, Targeting and Internal Communication (June 2016)
- Book review - Rainmakers and Trailblazers: A step by step guide to Business development for lawyers
- Private client marketing – Five thoughts from heads of department (2017)
- Book review - Rainmakers and Trailblazers (Business development for lawyers) by DWF
- New lead generation and intelligence system for targeting high net worth private clients – An overview of NETZ
- Book Review: Good strategy, Bad Strategy – The difference and why it matters by Richard Rumelt
- Knowledge Update
- Collaborative marketing of family law services – Debrett’s and Mishcon de Reya
- 7 tips to being a great conference chair
- Legal sector consultancy
- How can a lawyer become more effective at business development?
- Seven thoughts on private client marketing (June 2015)
- Private client marketing - Competing in the digital era
- Five insights from developing a privately funded family law practice
- Marketing in a digital world – Conscious Solutions seminar review
- Rainmakers and Trailblazers – Business development for lawyers
- Published Articles
- Legal marketing case study – Royds Withy King private client wealth proposition and new product Life Safe®
- A strategy for developing more private client work
- Speaking and Lecturing
- How can I improve my pricing strategy?
- Marketing professional services to High Net Worth clients