How can law firms ensure they drive their business plans forward in an increasingly-competitive market?
It is a phrase that has been used a lot, but “get big, get niche, or get out” is the mantra that many commentators in the legal industry have espoused. I am not sure that is entirely correct, as I believe there remains a space for exceptionally good local businesses to thrive. However, they will need to be able to advertise themselves locally in an effective manner and deliver exceptional service to give them a chance of competing with the much larger and wealthier national competitors. Nevertheless, getting big to enjoy the economies of scale available to the large players, or joining with a larger group of law firms (or large non-lawyer-owned type entities, when and if that format is allowed) remain viable options going forward. However there are only so many large groups of companies and rich benefactors out there, so this is obviously for a limited pool only.
Thus, having a niche role in any community remains an effective route to market, and a chance to remain profitable as a company. The efficacy is entirely dependent on how niche the marketplace is and whether you can keep your strategy in line with any further changes coming on the horizon. Will, for example, the use by Insurance companies of IT tools designed to show medical fees at extremely low rates at least be the death knell for many business models? We will see.