Classic: Four lessons in the art of motivating change

Four lessons in the art of motivating change: Lawyers, pigeons and the change journey is by Stephen Poor, now Chairman Emeritus of Seyfarth Shaw. If change management in BigLaw was topical in a few years ago when Stephen wrote this, it’s even more important and pressing now.

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PwC launching ILC Legal in US

Today in Am Law Daily, Chris Johnson (1) broke the story of PwC launching ILC Legal, a fully fledged law firm, in the US.

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Price. Price. Price.

As in real estate with position, so in law, the top three challenges facing law firms are all price related (1):

1. Negotiating price with clients (Price)

2. Winning new business (Price is a key element)

3. Competing with other firms (Price is a key element).

When we talk to firms in other professions, we hear the same story. Even in consulting engineering, where the demand side is the strongest in years and resourcing are a challenge, firm leaders tell us there is still big price-down pressure.

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Incentivising the New Normal

Businesses that don’t merely endure, but thrive, over extended time periods tend to attract and foster leaders who establish and maintain tight alignment between business strategy and business execution.
Unfocused businesses with unfocused leaders generate sub-optimal financial performance even when things are going well. But when permanent market disruptions occur — a certainty in every market segment — unfocused businesses with unfocused leaders tend to flail until they’re acquired, dissolved, or relegated to a shadow of their former strength. This is a lesson that many law firm leaders have learned.

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Law firm ownership: An evidence-based approach

Law firm ownership: An evidence-based approach was posted by Ron Friedmann on his blog on September 04, 2017. coming from the land of the world’s first stock exchange-listed law firm, I cannot but say Ron’s rebuttal of Bruce MacEwan (aka Adam Smith Esq.) is a must read and mull over.  

All in and observers of the BigLaw ecosystem need to have a view. Ownership and its consequences is a very important issue in maintaining the capacity of firms to deliver high and sustainable value to clients. In my opinion, the woes of Slater & Gordon not withstanding, ownership is already the major issue of our times.    

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A professional services value chain

Michael Porter’s famous value chain did NOT have me at hello. I’ve never found it a particularly valuable tool in crafting professional service firm strategy. Most firms don’t talk about “Inbound and Outbound Logistics” or have “Procurement” as a major support function. Distinguishing between “Operations” and “Service” in a service business is just plain confusing.

In the spirit of further developing the theory of the professional service firm, here’s my go at a professional services value chain…

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