Skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Oct 12, 2011 @ 03:26 AM

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, Chicago, Illinois[/caption]

Steve Jobs, at the Macworld Conference and Expo back in 2007, used the above quote from ice hockey superstar Wayne Gretsky to characterise the Apple philosophy.

Now that ABSs are here, it struck me that the quote was as equally applicable and germane for law firms.

Apple succeeded by creating products which it thought the public would want, not necessarily improving what the public already had.

Apple had the courage to create products with its own imagination: as in most endeavours not all were successful.

So will law firms be brave enough to second guess their clients needs and wants in providing products and services which as yet do not properly exist or are incompletely realised?

Although undoubtedly there will be other reasons, some law firms are at least having a go, judging by the rounds of merger activity. There is also a rush to the new umbrella legal brands such as Quality Solicitors and High Street Lawyer.

It may be that some law firms may have finally realised that cooperation and a willingness to “think outside the box” is a valid strategy.

“If I was going there I wouldn’t start from here”

But, I have a sneaking suspicion that the new entrants in the legal services market might have started shaping their service and client care propositions from a different perspective.

Jordan Furlong, in his blog “Rise of the Machines” in the new blogging section of The Lawyer magazine website this week puts succinctly, what he feels the new entrants in to the legal market will promote:

These companies manage processes. They leverage knowledge. They automate to increase timeliness. They systematize to improve quality. They streamline to improve affordability. And they relentlessly prioritize service and the client experience. Law firms don’t do any of these things because we don’t compete on speed, price, simplicity or service. To the extent we compete at all, we do it on “quality.”

The Internet and Opportunity for Law Firms

An obvious place where law firms can dare to be different and differentiate their law firm is on the internet.

Marketing and winning business on the internet simply was not an option for law firms until relatively recently.

What the internet can do is attract potential clients to your firm so as to allow a relationship to begin. Internet marketing and social media in general are scalable and capable of returning great ROI.

The internet will be the main battleground for finding and winning over existing new and potential clients.

For smaller firms the costs associated with joining an umbrella brand may be prohibitive. As an alternative your law firm will need to work out how to function and promote itself in cyberspace.

Local strength on Google and other search engines combined with enhanced services and packaging of legal services has huge merit for law firms looking for a likely solution to where the puck may go.

Proof of the Pudding

Who would have thought someone with whom we had not had any interaction thus far, could land on our website, like what they see and actually instruct us to act there and then.

It amazed me when it first happened on my Clutton Cox law firm website.

I still get very excited and it is happening every week.

The Final Mixed Metaphor

Where will you position your law firm puck in the near future?; will you be myopically content to leave it where it is now – right in front of your eyes!

Law firms are beginning to think differently and more smartly about how their legal services will be accessed and dispensed in the future

The worry for some law firms reluctant to change may be not so much a case of deciding where the puck will be but not even realising that  the ice upon which they are already on is dangerously thin.

Solicitors Marketing Success provides advice to sole practitioners and small law firms on how to use the internet to market their law firms effectively from creation of websites, email marketing, blogging and social media.


If you have not done so already sign up on the right hand side of this page to receive our regular free blogs on how you law firm can get found online and convert potential clients into actual clients


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Topics: solicitors marketing, Alternative Business structures, blog, tesco law, sole practitioners, Law firm, small law firms, Lawyer

The New Legal Eagle Has Landed: One Small Step

Posted by Paul Hajek on Wed, Oct 05, 2011 @ 04:08 AM
[caption id="attachment_396" align="alignright" width="220" caption="The New Legal Eagle Has Landed"][/caption]

The first batch of Alternative Business Structures will be upon us tomorrow. Rumour has it 100 or so will authorised via the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.

This could be the dawning of the Age of Aquire-us (ouch! apologies to Fifth Dimension).

Officially, outside investors will be available to invest in legal services: truth is it has been happening for a while via the Co op, Optima and others.

What we will see is acceleration in not only mergers of law firms (mine included) but also acceleration in access to legal services, primarily via the internet.

New Technologies in the Legal Market Place:

We need only look over to the US to see what may be coming our way as the internet is set to revolutionise how clients source legal information and interact and instruct law firms.

Google Ventures has pumped in $18 million into the fastest growing online legal service in the US called Rocket Lawyer.

Rocket Lawyer provides legal forms which can be completed on line free or for a fee and can also not only be reviewed by a lawyer but the document can also be stored on line.

For a monthly fee subscribers can also “have access to free document reviews from local attorneys, and deeply discounted rates on legal fees for more complicated legal services

What are being marketed on their website are the softer benefits such as ease of use and peace of mind. As its web site strap line notes “Finally Easy and Affordable Legal Help”

And if you want a word to describe what the future has in store over here post ABS try "disruptive" for size. A press release for Rocket Lawyer reveals:

“As a former attorney and venture capitalist, the value proposition for small business owners and individuals is truly outstanding and very disruptive, as Rocket Lawyer drives down costs to benefit both the consumer and the local attorney.”

If you look behind the jargon you have direct access to what consumers (who may be come clients) really want:-

“We see a large market opportunity for legal solutions that are easily accessible and affordable to users…….Rocket Lawyer’s combination of an intuitive user-driven front-end with a strong technology-based platform uniquely positions the company to scale and deliver the type of ‘wow’ user experience that online customers love.”

There you have one vision of the future– legal information simply delivered, but also perhaps reassuringly a desire to use a local law firm as well.

Will It Happen in the UK?

Yes, of course. It may take a little while to gain a foothold but once legal services are deconstructed (even by solicitors themselves) there will be less attention paid to words like “quality”, which is taken as a given in my opinion and more to accessibility, ease and affordability.

What does this mean for the sole Practitioner and Small Law Firm?

The answer may be simple but requires huge intellectual capital.

Your mantra must be get closer to your clients, let them know what you do and how you help and solve their problems. Spread the word spread your message demonstrate your ability as a solicitor and a law firm.

Communication above all else will be vital. Communication with clients via email has a very low cost base.

The internet and internet marketing will be your friend. The internet can level the playing field.

There are already tools at your disposal.

You can already offer online document production ( and the sooner e.g. DirectLaw offers a pay as you go service the uptake amongst law firms will increase exponentially- are you listening?)

You can already offer SMS texts to clients to update them and provide an online record of key events in their matter.

You can already demonstrate your legal prowess via blogging

You can already get closer to clients and potential clients via social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook

And you can provide fixed fee calculators and fixed fee guarantees with no hidden extras for legal services and invite potential clients to instruct you online without any further interaction.

At my law firm Clutton Cox all this happens daily, weekly and monthly: routinely.

There is a tremendous opportunity for law firms to reinvent themselves and realign their legal services with what clients really want.

But, if law firms are slow to react, other non lawyers are waiting in the wings to fill that void.

For those law firms it may not be the last time you hear the word “disruptive” in a legal services context.

Solicitors Marketing Success provides advice to sole practitioners and small law firms on how to use the internet to market effectively their law firms from creation of websites, email marketing, blogging and social media.

If you have not done so already sign up on the right hand side of this page to receive our regular free blogs on how you law firm can get found online and convert potential clients into actual clients

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Topics: ABS, blog, small law firms, Google Ventures, DirectLaw, Rocket Lawyer