Tag Archives: Legal Fees

“Don’t you want me, baby?”

Seeking a product used by most law firms, I had the pleasure of putting out to tender a significant contract worth around £150k per annum.

The existing supplier was a well-known company in the market and the point of contact was highly credible, trustworthy and pleasant. In fact, he was a thoroughly decent bloke. One of the challenging suppliers was recommended by a friend, but was otherwise completely unknown to me.

The existing supplier knew they were in a competitive situation and telephoned several times to take stock of the situation and to ensure they put the best tender forward that they could. Indeed, the resulting tender was more competitive than the year before: they provided additional features and this justified the tender process if nothing else did.

The challenging supplier came to see me and my colleagues three times. They were well-prepared with colourful charts and other sales tools, and also mentioned other products they provided. Their enhanced product offered slightly better value than that of the existing supplier. They were very attentive and could not do enough for us.

The existing supplier was obviously disappointed, but accepted the inevitable when the challenging supplier won the contract. Since that sale, the new supplier has maintained the initial contact through in-person visits and invitations to evening talks and other events, always providing valuable insights and clear, attractive supporting material.

Clients want to feel their professional advisers are part of the team. Team working is about clear regular communication. The original supplier above did a good job, but had been so busy doing the job that they lost ground to a personal visit from a rival.

It is a tight legal market at the moment with insufficient work for most, but how many have made a point of visiting existing clients in between matters just to keep the relationship and communication going?

The last thing you need right now is your existing clients wondering if you want them!

* The title of this post refers to The Human League’s single from their third album Dare (1981)

Liam Wall
Founder
BigWig Legal Network

www.bigwignetwork.co.uk

What is BigWig Legal Network?
The deregulation of UK legal structures will have a huge impact on how Law is practised and new legal services are offered. BigWig Legal Network is the UK’s first membership development organisation for fee earners in legal practices, priced for membership affordability, which will offer what legal professionals desire most of all: Accurate, dependable new insights and techniques for developing the legal services of the future.

Find out more at our Last Wednesday meetings.

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Corporate Clients want more for less. Or do they?

A few years ago, I observed the procurement process a major law firm went through in the hope of being appointed to a bank’s legal panel. Apart from the online fee process, the bank also wanted to know what other services were on offer. They wanted access to partners and fee earners for free to make internal seminar presentations, as well as access to the firm’s library and research capabilities. Also, online billing and a line-by-line review of what they had been charged.

At the time the feeling was simply that the bank wanted to have their cake and eat it too. Banking was highly profitable at the time and it may have been just that. But many other corporates use the online process carefully to set legal fees and to extract the most benefit.

Times are changing for the legal profession.  Rather than fight your clients who seem to want more for less, why not consider what is happening and embrace the opportunity to work with them to increase the productivity on their files and share the additional profit?

Why? Continue reading

Jack of All Trades

My mobile is wonderful!

It is a phone, an MP3 player, a voice recorder, a calendar, a video player and recorder, a web browser, a camera, etc, etc. I have it on contract, but, if purchased over the counter, it costs about £400. Great value as I no longer need an MP3 player, a camcorder, a desktop web browser……..really?

In truth, I have an MP3 player and a camcorder and a desktop computer, as well as the mobile phone. The computer cost three times the price of the phone. The camcorder was a similar price and the camera cost about half as much as the phone. I even have a land-line at home which I pay for monthly.

Why? Well, think about it. For really good, clear pictures of your holiday, are you going to trust your mobile phone or will you buy a camera that is a specialist device? If you were going to leave your children with someone at home all day, would you want a qualified nanny or someone who was “probably OK”?

I have these extra, more expensive gadgets as well as the ubiquitous mobile phone because I am willing to pay for a level of experience (and service) that is higher than any old Tom Dick or Petra can offer, i.e. if I can see added value in the particular product or service.

It is the same with solicitors. Some clients may be happy with an adequate legal adviser. Will they pay top dollar for adequate? No. They will pay top dollar if they believe their problem is serious and needs resolution urgently by an expert in that field. Continue reading

Justifying your Fee

Does your potential client know why you are worth what you charge?

This may sound ridiculous, but do you know what you spend most of your working days doing? At one level, you might feel that this question grossly insults your intellect and your memory as well as your professionalism. So why do I ask?

Well, the obvious is not what I mean. For someone to want to buy your services, they need to know and understand what you do. I have had potential and actual clients like the look of me and then ask me to do things of which I have no experience at all, simply because I matched some preconceived notion they had of an accountant.

Let us assume you meet the Managing Director of a medium-sized corporate. You are a litigator. He says, “What do you do?” It is your big opportunity to open the door to billing heaven. You draw in a breath and say, “I’m a litigator”, or perhaps, to more enlightened souls, that you work in dispute resolution. The MD looks interested and then moves on to the weather. No problem, you think. If the MD ever needs a litigator, I’ll get a call. The MD will know I am the best litigator in town.

In fact the MD may be wondering what a litigator does that is relevant to his business, or whether appointing a litigator may signal that his business skills have failed. Or, whether his existing law firm already has a litigator, as all solicitors do the same thing kinda? Continue reading