New Year Revolutions

December 12, 2012

Your firm’s plans for 2013 revealed










The firm settles into its wing-back armchair and considers the year about to end.

It shudders as it raises its sherry to its lips. 2012 hasn’t been disastrous, it thinks. But it hasn’t exactly been great, either.

‘A long way short of peak,’ as the PwC Law Firm Survey said. Austerity everywhere. Even the sherry, the firm reflects, is Tesco own brand this year.

Next year has to be better, the firm decides.

In a flash of inspiration, it seizes a pen and begins to scribble down its resolutions.

  1. See the world. Everyone else is doing it. Why can’t we? Australia, China, Singapore, Canada, South Africa, South America, the Middle East, Korea. It’s all about getting more revenue from overseas. We just need the appetite, and a few pennies to invest, and a whole swathe of emerging markets can be ours.
  2. Find love. Hmm – maybe we don’t have the appetite. Or the pennies. Maybe we should find a partner closer to home. There’s a merger mania going on across the UK legal sector – at least 14 this year according to The Lawyer. If we don’t join them, maybe we’ll get left on the shelf. Best act now, and worry about the specifics of business rationale later.
  3. Go on a diet. Again. Yes, we’ve been cost-cutting for years. So why doesn’t it seem to make any difference? The PwC Law Firm Survey suggests we’re not alone. The majority of respondents (53%) have completed cost reduction programmes in the past 24 months, but most reported savings of just 5% or less. Maybe we could shed a few more equity partners (and a bonus or two) while we’re at it.
  4. Ditch the crud. Yes, certain underperforming partners are still clogging up our system. But they’ve been around for so long we’re beyond knowing how to tackle them. The old school ones are the hardest. We can’t just impose new-fangled performance metrics and then manage them out to retirement. Or can we?
  5. Learn something new. We know it’s all about talent development and learning programmes. But hang on, maybe they cost too much money. And we might not be around long enough to realise any long-term investment in talent. So instead we’ll look for one or two big and brilliant rainmakers who can turn things around. And the tasty titbits they’ll bring in will help attract that merger partner…
  6. Reveal the firm within. Other firms are there all the time, on the front pages of the legal press talking about ‘aligning their offerings with changing client need’s and’ global/national/next-door’ expansion plans. Let’s raise our profile: use phrases like ‘leading firm’, ‘excellence in client service delivery’, ‘exemplary team-work’ and ‘superior thinking’. That should do it. Easy, isn’t it, this PR lark?

The list done, the firm leans its head back and closes its eyes. CP

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