I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed on “The Inevitable Future of Law” by Jacky Wetzels of salesmoves, a legal marketing consulting firm based in Amsterdam. The resulting article covers the gamut of how law firms arrived at where they are today and the inevitable comparisons to global multidisciplinary firms and the Big 4 accounting firms. Dedicated sales departments and sales training are also discussed as becoming more important for law firms to compete in today’s rapidly changing legal industry.
Dentons surprised many this past week with the introduction of a free global referral network for law firms. I was interviewed for this article on Dentons’ latest move in the May 16, 2016 issue of Law Times. Here are some of my comments quoted in the article:
“You have freelancers on the net and now you have law firms available very quickly on the net through this type of network,” Cameron says. “It could speed up and make more available choices for clients. It could certainly disrupt the industry, giving access to more firms.”
Cameron says the new network could be particularly beneficial for smaller mid-level firms that could not afford to pay membership fees for a similar network. These smaller firms could potentially have access to a large global network, which will give them work they were not able to obtain before, Cameron says. It may also give the smaller firms a better chance to retain their own clients, as they would be able to refer them to a firm with higher levels of expertise in another country or specialty, he says.
“There are certainly more potential benefits for small mid-sized firms that may not have been involved in a network before because of the cost,” Cameron says.
While Cameron says the network has the potential to be a “game changer,” he has concerns about how Dentons will be able to vet what is expected to be a vast network of members for quality.
“You start to wonder how they can enforce the standards,” Cameron says. “Do you really know who you’re dealing with and how are they going to control that?”
Cameron also questions where the bar will be set to vet quality standards for such an extensive and vast network.”
Notwithstanding my concerns above, I think Dentons has made a very forward-thinking move here and I expect they will do well in this new venture. It will certainly disrupt the way that law firm referrals are handled in the future.
I often speak to law firms about different ways to increase profitability. The attached article discusses eight good ways to increase profitability. The suggestion to focus on larger, more “institutional” clients that provide regular work is key. Focus on fewer, more profitable clients and service them well. Conduct regular client service interviews and make sure clients are satisfied and achieving their strategic goals using your legal services.