Edge International


Why is Law Firm Strategy So Hard?

Why is Law Firm Strategy So Hard?

The title of this article poses an obvious question with which many forward-looking, high-performing firms wrestle. In their native state, law firms are not inclined to “manage,” and to the extent leadership mobilizes firms around shared priorities they tend to be at best only the “here and now” priorities. Law firms are not good at seeing around corners. There’s been no need to as law firms have operated in a pretty static market – it’s only been recently that the legal market could be described as fluid and dynamic.

So what is happening now? The artistry of law is being fused with the science of business processes and technology. Unlike many “real businesses,” law is still primarily a bespoke art. Law firms themselves can’t adopt all of the great process and technology advances with which businesses have lived for some time; in short, law firms will have to pick their spots.

How can law firms pick the right spots? How can they transform their business model and service delivery in intelligent ways without getting out over their skis? What can law firms do to get a better handle on the changes in their market they themselves are not going to see in the normal course? Below are a few recommendations that may help firms wrestling with these issues.

Transforming the strategy, operating model and service delivery features of a law firm is a daunting ambition. Firms can make some transformational advances without taking on too much if they keep the above ideas in mind and pick the right spots; in so doing, process and technology can work hand-in-hand with the bespoke art of law to create a better product.

Mike White

Edge Principal was a practicing attorney for seven years prior to founding and operating two enterprise software companies — Sirius Systems (sold 1997) and MarketingCentral (sold 2007). He owned and managed ClientQuest Consulting, LLC for 10 years serving law firms. He holds an AB in History from Duke University and a JD from Emory University School of Law.