SOLUTIONS: STRATEGY

The future is not what it used to be. In a rapidly changing world, a strong sense of identity and direction must be balanced with the agility and resilience to change direction, sometime unexpectedly.

The future is not what it used to be. In a rapidly changing world, a strong sense of identity and direction must be balanced with the agility and resilience to change direction, sometime unexpectedly.

The future is not what it used to be. In a rapidly changing, hyper-competitive world, law firms need to be able to balance the strong sense of identity and direction needed to guide strategic investment decisions, with the agility and resilience to change direction when needed, sometimes unexpectedly.

We support our clients in developing systems and structures to set better strategy and to make better decisions. Strategy has moved from being a periodic, linear sequence of ‘assess, plan, execute’ to a continuous, iterative process of strategic thinking and action. This works best when all in the firm whose actions can impact strategy and overall performance are equipped to think strategically and do what they need to, to drive the firm forward.

We support our clients in:

  • developing systems and structures to set and implement more effective strategies and make better strategic decisions
  • understanding their existing and emergent opportunities and challenges and their strengths and weaknesses to address these
  • assessing the firm’s financial performance across markets, practices, service lines, clients or industry sectors, to determine where most value is being created and diagnosing root causes where value is being diluted
  • solving their most difficult, important strategic challenges, through research and analysis that the firm cannot do itself
  • understanding gaps that exist between their clients’ expectations and their own perceptions of what clients want/value, and developing ways to bridge that
  • assessing their competitive position in their market/s, their performance relative to their competitors and options for enhancing both
  • assessing the desirability or otherwise of new markets and options for market entry and growth
  • developing new systems and structures to enhance collaboration across offices
  • better projecting the firm’s capabilities into markets where it does not have a physical presence
  • developing actionable plans to move from an existing market position to a better, targeted position, including translating strategic objectives into practice / industry sector / office / function business plans, and firm-wide strategic initiatives
  • developing a client industry sector orientation in the strategy, or enhancing it
  • understanding the implications of emerging digital technologies on strategy both in client organisations (which impacts their legal needs) and in the firm itself
  • for large international firms, developing ‘hub-and-spoke’ thinking to deepen core competencies in major centres while projecting those competencies into markets where the firm does not have these (even if they do have an office or other form of presence).

Case Study:
Advising a large US law firm on penetration and growth in key European markets

A prominent U.S. law firm wished to explore its options for bulking up its operations in Europe, especially the Benelux region. We helped them articulate the strategic objectives that they wished to achieve in those markets and the capabilities that they would require in order to pursue each of a range of options that we identified. We assessed the opportunities and challenges involved with each, which led to them selecting one of the options.

The engagement emphasised developments in intellectual property in Europe and the opportunities and challenges that these presented for our client. Also, opportunities presented by a joint venture the firm had with a professional service firm, not in legal services.

We conducted thorough desktop market research and analysis and discussed the outcome of that with a wide range of key personalities within the firm, on both sides of the Atlantic.

We have advised clients similarly on market entry and growth strategies in a range of markets in mainland Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Case Study:
Assessment of strategic options for an office following partner departures

Several key partners in a small but strategically important office of an international law firm announced that they were leaving to join a rival law firm, leaving the remaining partners in that office concerned about the future viability of their business.

We conducted a strategic review of their options, including an assessment of inbound and outbound referrals and opportunities for deeper collaboration with other offices. This included identification of key international clients of the firm that were located in the jurisdiction in question and also serviced by offices elsewhere in the world and finding new areas in which the partners could create distinctive value propositions.

The process of deeply consulting with affected partners (we conducted many more partner interviews than was originally anticipated) defused concerns and created a constructive sense of optimism about new directions the office might, and subsequently did take.

Case Study:
Arms-length worldwide market assessment for a global law firm

A leading global law firm wanted to take an ‘arms-length’ view of it global strategy. Our brief was to assess, objectively and without reference to their distribution of offices or mix of practices across markets, where a firm ‘like them’ should choose to invest. We designed a set of geo-economic and socio-political metrics to assess future demand for legal services of a kind that a global law firm would typically provide and applied those to all global markets.

On that basis, we prioritized the markets and then assessed the key characteristics of those with highest priority. The model so created was then matched against where the firm was focused and where its key clients were concentrated. We also benchmarked the firm’s key competitors.

The result of the analysis was a rich template against which the firm could assess its strategic growth priorities.

Case Study:
Performance enhancement in a European office of a leading US law firm

A leading global law firm engaged us to explore opportunities to enhance the corporate practice in one of its offices in a mainland European jurisdiction. We conducted a thorough analysis of the deal flow into and out of that jurisdiction, including which law firms were doing the legal advisory work, and where. We conducted extensive interviews with partners in that office, as well as in other offices with whom they had referral relationships.

Melding the objective analysis and internal perspectives created new insights into where business development initiatives should be focused and how the firm should pitch its value proposition to clients, emphasizing connectivity across multiple offices.