In his day Charles Darwin would have been aware of the existence of solicitors but probably not considered that his theory on evolution and natural selection could be applied to that most staid of professions.
Darwins’ theory explained evolution as a process that took millions of years. The difference for your typicalUKlawyer is that right now they have a life changing event akin to the impact experienced by the dinosaurs to contend with.
One would hope that the introduction of the Legal Services Act would not so much wipe out solicitors as we know it but accelerate a long overdue evolution and metamorphosis. Not to say there won’t be casualties, for some the impact has already been felt. A number of practices across the country have struggled; failing to manage succession, obtain professional indemnity cover or simply folded because running costs were too high and they didn’t attract enough clients.
Add to the mix the prospect of high profile competition from nationally recognised brands such as the Co-op and BT, the governments drive to strip costs from publically funded areas and eliminate referrals for personal injury and life for your average managing partner just became more than a little interesting.
Those with an eye for an opportunity have quickly seized the initiative with the creation of apparent “safe harbours” for law firms to lay anchor and leave the tricky task of trying to compete to someone else. Examples include Quality Solicitors. The recent impressive TV ad launch from Quality Solicitors will have created a significant stir and feeling of warmth amongst its early adopting panel. Will they feel quite so content in 12 – 18 months when they’re joined by even larger already established brands? Claims Directs £16m TV budget didn’t deliver for them 10 years ago but it did create a noise.
“The survival of the fittest” a term first used by polymath Herbert Spencer following his study ofDarwin’s theory is an appropriate phrase to describe the pressure on our legal sector.
Being fit means of course being in shape, physically with the talent within the business including leadership and essentially the strategic direction including the message communicated to customers.
If you’re running a law firm right now you need to decide if you’re prepared for the future and indeed have the energy and ambition to succeed in an increasingly competitive market.
The future of many firms lies with the next generation of lawyers and managers who need to see that the business has a clear sense of its position and confidence in its approach.
The time is not to make like the dodo or dinosaur but to see the increase in activity by larger brands as an opportunity. Millions spent on TV advertising is not such a threat as many may think, it’s putting the subject of a range of legal services into the mainstream media.
Of course some may be attracted by the glossy, polished national ad campaigns but in my experience it only serves to increase overall awareness. Well placed, local firms will benefit as long as they’ve evolved and adapted to capitalise in this brave new world. Be brave, don’t fear the new world, be bright and stand out.
Partner i2i Business Solutions LLP