Our extensive experience and broad capabilities often come into play for larger firms by leveraging their internal resources. Outsourcing work not within your core competencies or capacities is just good business. We can meet with your key people for an overview of our capabilities.
Let's face it. Marketers and business development professionals at large firms have a lot to do, and the stakes are high. They produce new materials and improve and update traditional communications for the firm, for specific practice areas, and for individual attorneys. They plan events and may be responsible for ROI on those events. They help to expand new markets. They are the "protectors of the brand" at the most fundamental level. They initiate positive public relations programs and limit the damage when bad news strikes. And too often they are expected to increase firm revenues. Truth be told, that's not entirely fair. Expert marketing efforts are indeed essential to increasing revenue. But with some exceptions, they rarely boost the top line directly. After all, marketers aren't usually sitting across the table from prospects clients, persuading them to become clients. Ultimately, attorneys must "close the deal."
Our expert professionals can help attorneys and business development staff at all levels become more efficient and effective in the firm's efforts to bring new clients and grow the firm in other ways. They offer skills and experience in every facet of marketing, selling, coaching, and implementation for law firms from public relations to informing the marketplace to helping attorneys work with marketers to identify and secure new engagements.
Large firms enjoy many advantages in operations, especially in staff and financial resources. But staff can't be expected to know and do everything necessary to achieve and maintain operational excellence day in and day out. Managing partners are too removed from front-line operations functions to appreciate the impacts of inefficiency—or the advantages of well-implemented best practices. And that's where the specific expertise, both in functional areas and in working with law firms, of our professional consultants can truly leverage a large firm's internal operations.
For example, special initiatives can require special talents and skills but don't necessarily require full-time employees. Moving or re-designing offices? Installing new data management or telecommunications systems? Clients worried about security measures for their data?
Professional external consulting ably managed by internal staff or partners can assist in meeting other challenges as well. Is a change in management or compensation structures a possibility? Do stagnant or falling net realization rates need attention? Is too much talent leaving for better opportunities? Are key rainmakers on the verge of retiring without mentoring younger business developers?
Let's talk about the challenges you're concerned about now as well as those our experience shows are real possibilities.
Cost and Risk Management
Large firms face truly complex cost and risk management issues. Outside, unbiased thinking and expertise can provide alternatives and pare down choices within the decision-making process from beginning to end. If internal resources are strained, our consultants can also perform or manage implementation either one time or ongoing.
When firms merge or are acquired, for instance, consolidating administrative and other internal functions is always a challenge. Even without such major distractions, monitoring cash flow and analyzing both revenue growth and profitability must be top of mind and considered from different perspectives. Where do the firm's fee policies stand compared to its competitors? Some larger, corporate clients are requiring their law firms to meet quantitative, quality control standards and consider alternative fee arrangements. Staying on top of this kind of unprecedented change takes time, effort, and expertise that even large law firms don't always have and can rarely spare.
Only a few years ago, the American Corporate Counsel Association reported that almost 70 percent of in-house lawyers were unhappy with their outside law firms. In fact, one of three had followed through and fired one or more of its law firms in the past year. Considering the inertia of large companies—as well as the inertia of large law firms—it's unlikely the needle has moved much since then.
Our consultants who specialize in cost and risk management thoroughly understand the traditional, current, and anticipated problems and opportunities in these two key areas. They also appreciate the potentially significant implications, both positive and negative, of serving larger law firms.