How can law firms be differentiated?

26 of June 2018
Executive Education INCAE

What they are going to want are results. The client who hires a law firm or team of lawyers will not be too interested in the process, nor in the middle stages, but in the concrete results in a fair measure with the cost. That is to say, what the market is looking for in legal services is efficiency, although it is not always understood in law firms.

For something in the United States, 90% of legal services firms are committed to incorporating processes that allow them to be more efficient and guarantee favorable results.

This is what Professor Octavio Martínez, Academic Director of the Diploma in Business Administration for Lawyers -DANA. With extensive academic and professional experience, this doctor from the University of Toronto points out that the greatest driver of value in a legal service is effectiveness, the possibility of making the client feel that they achieved their objectives and that they were even able to monetize them with concrete gains or having avoided losses that they feared.

This element is linked, of course, to other necessary factors, such as a correct understanding of the client's objectives, efficiency in processes and times, which in turn helps to achieve predictability in the final cost, provided that the legal service has proven “expertise” and that it maintains correct communication with the beneficiary of the service, as outlined by the Association Corporate of Counsel, in the United States. .

For this reason it is increasingly common for law firms to undergo a process reinvention, using technology to automate or systematize processes. They also take advantage of "project management", among others new formats that allow increasing efficiency and bringing the reflection of the legal service to the client's financial statements. At the end of the day, the ultimate way to measure it is with the added profit or bypassing the risks of loss.

All this, with the greatest margin of predictability; These are not times suitable to increase uncertainty for free. It is therefore advisable to seek forms of payment that allow the client to anticipate how much he will end up paying for the service. The usual thing is to charge by the hour, but this is not the favorite option in the market, since the investment ends up being much higher in most cases.

"Many can be terrified, especially if it is an hourly charge that can insert perverse incentives", comments to Professor Martínez before assuring that there is increasing pressure from clients for fixed payment methods, especially after the 2008-2009 crisis.

What they are looking for is the main driver of value: concrete results in the most efficient way. “It is not just about winning a case, but about the impact on the good image of the company. That is the business of the law firms and for it it is convenient that they prepare better ”.

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