A large number of law firms have been postponing even an update of their business strategy. We hear comments like:
"It's too uncertain."
"We can't foretell what this year will bring."
"It's better to be opportunistic -- cross bridges when we come to them."
Our firm's experience in advising law firms during previous downturns and disruptions tells us that these firms might lack the investment mentality and intellectual courage that is necessary in any business that wants to succeed. The early months of 2022 will be the best time to review, update, and maybe even totally rethink the strategic priorities for your law firm.
Rapidly changing client expectations and fiercely competitive legal markets present a frustrating intellectual challenge for smaller firms that have been successful so far, but now are confronted by an uncertain future and limited resources.
- What's over our horizon? How can we know, with reasonable confidence, what our legal market will be like in the 2020s and beyond?
- What do we need to do now -- not only to remain competitive and profitable today, but also to prepare to respond to the challenges that we will face ten years from now?
Walker Clark offers two services that can help your firm develop and implement cost-effective, fact-based answers to these questions.
the Walker Clark Strategic Priorities Review
For a fixed fee, that includes all expenses and takes into account the economic circumstances of your firm, we will custom-design a Strategic Priorities Review that will:
- Collect and analyze information about your firm to ensure that your strategy is well-informed --- based on business reality rather than wishful thinking.
- Develop and present a Walker Clark Over the Horizon Prospectus for your firm. This is a fact-driven projection of the future of your legal market between now and 2030, and the forces that will most likely affect the defining characteristics, practice specialties, client sectors, and economics of your law firm.
- Facilitate a Strategic Priorities Conference, which usually lasts one to one and one-half days and gives you and your partners an opportunity to give your current strategic thinking and business assumptions a good, hard intellectual shake.
- Deliver a comprehensive written report, with specific recommendations, action plans, and performance measurements, all of which are intensely focused on producing the best return on your investment of time, intellectual energy, and resources.
- Provide "on call" implementation advice and support to help you move from planning to successful action in the critical first 90 days after you receive our report.
Regardless of whether your firm's business strategy fills an entire binder, is unwritten, or even non-existent, the Strategic Priorities Review cuts through the uncertainties and ambiguities to focus on what your firm needs to do to succeed in your market.
Contact us to discuss how a Walker Clark® Strategic Priorities Review can help your firm to overcome the obstacles and achieve your firm's full strategic potential.
Looking for a more intense, "whole system" future planning method that can be completed in three days?
Future Search is a non-traditional planning methodology developed by Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff. More information is available at the website of the Future Search Network: http://www.futuresearch.net. Future Searches have been used in a wide range of settings in business, government, NGOs, and community organizations.
Walker Clark members are pioneers in facilitating Future Searches in law firms and other legal services organizations.
The advantages of a Future Search include:
- It is relatively quick. Unlike a traditional strategic planning project, which might take 6 months or more to complete in a large law firm, and might demand hundreds of partner hours, a Future Search Conference takes 16 hours over three consecutive days. This makes it ideal for a three-day weekend retreat.
- It is especially well-suited for small and midsize law firms,
- It is very well-informed and efficient. One of the mantras of the Future Search methodology is to "get the whole system in the room." This improves the probability of the firm having all of the relevant information it needs, and lowers the risk of overlooking a critical point.
- It is inclusive. As part of the "whole system in the room" concept, a Future Search includes not only partners or lawyers, but people from all stakeholder groups, which can include staff, suppliers, and -- especially valuable for law firms -- clients, as represented by in-house counsel or senior executives. This can be very important for implementation.
- It defines common ground. Although there might be significant disagreements about a firm's strategy, Future Search seeks and defines the common ground on which all people can agree. This is important to build the greatest buy-in, which ensures that your firm can implement your decisions without resistance or sabotage.
- Implementation usually begins at the conference.The firm does not have to wait for a report before it can start to work on implementation. A Future Search conference usually ends with the preliminary development of and -- this is very important -- commitment to action plans.
Click here to learn more about Future Search, and whether it is the right planning choice for your firm.
Whichever "over the horizon" approach you prefer...
The things that wait for your firm -- both opportunities and challenges -- just over the horizon are constantly getting closer every day.
So why wait until the challenges are upon you and the opportunities have passed you by?