Law as a business and law firms have certainly been in the news recently. Just this morning, I read: Business litigators are leaving big law firms for boutiques in the Dallas Morning News. I recently read the New York Times article: Dewey’s Fall Underscores Law Firms’ New Reality? I found this quote interesting:
As dispatches from my Times colleague Peter Lattman have made abundantly clear, Dewey collapsed under the weight of a toxic combination of high leverage, lavish financial guarantees to many partners and faltering revenue.
That quote made me think of what is happening with our federal budget and deficit. Have you seen the federal budget explained in simple English?
At the risk of interjecting something political into this post, I will simply say I agree with former Fed Chief, Alan Greenspan who recently was quoted: Greenspan: Obama Should Have Embraced Simpson-Bowles and I am disappointed that none of the important legislation that must be done by the end of the year will be dealt with until after the election.
But, back to law firm economics in 2012. Here is another quote from the New York Times article:
Today, firms bargain over rates and compete fiercely for both their own talent and for clients. Clients have figured out that much of what lawyers do is a commodity that can easily be outsourced far more cheaply.
With the economy still an issue, how many firm leaders are focusing on ways their firm can be more valuable to existing clients and become the firm of choice to potential clients? One law firm leader recently wrote about that. In Re-Engineering the Business of Law, Seyfarth Shaw‘s chairman J. Stephen Poor, wrote:
Lawyers today should be asking themselves nontraditional questions: how to apply resources more effectively, to shorten cycle time and lower the cost of their work product and other deliverables, while raising the level of service. In the end, your client will reward you by giving you more work across more areas, and your relationship will deepen.
Are you asking those non-traditional questions? I would love to know how you are answering them.