I have just finished writing a review of Richard’s book “The end of lawyers? Rethinking the nature of legal services” (it will be published in Professional Marketing magazine later on this year).
The review provides a summary of the book – which I feel should be essential reading for those involved with the management and marketing of ALL professional services. It provides a thorough analysis of the changes affecting the production and delivery of legal services with particular emphasis on the impact of information technology and a number of particularly disruptive technologies. If you consider the further changes in the market bought about by the Legal Services Act and increasing consumer and commercial client power then you will certainly feel sparked into action.
But here I wanted to provide my personal response to his latest work. For me, there are three important implications for those supporting lawyers and the other professions in their strategic business development.
The first is how, as managers in the professions, we need to work much harder at keeping up to date with the numerous and fast developments on the technology front. And this means going much further than grappling with client relationship management systems and dabbling with social media.
Second it is the increasing need for marketers to help bridge the gap between their fee-earners, clients and technology – and prompt innovation – so that we can help them rethink the way that the professions create and deliver value for clients – and possibly reengineer the way firms are structured and operate whilst protecting (and enhancing) profitability.
The third is the importance of developing two essential disciplines within the management of most professional firms. First, we are usually missing the strategic processes to promote and harness creative thought and the subsequent innovation processes that enable us to harness those ideas and implement them. Second, there is a clear need for firms to have dedicated research and development centres where resources are allocated to developing new products and services. At present, product development – along with strategic pricing – is too often missing from the marketing and business development agenda.
The final chapter starts with two sentences that say it all really “The future for lawyers could be prosperous or disastrous. The arguments and findings in this book can support either end game” and “I believe that lawyers, in order to survive and prosper, must respond creatively and forcefully to the shifting demands of what is a rapidly evolving legal marketplace”. It’s the same old message – act now and it’s an opportunity, do nothing and it becomes a threat.