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www.wilkinsonread.co.uk 13 info@wilkinsonread.co.uk

Delivery, Pricing and Technology

The most common theme emerging from our research was the need to change the way services are

delivered and to constantly be adapting to clients’ requirements. Efficiency, pricing and technology

were the factors many respondents highlighted.

Technology will play a critical role in the related issues of law firm delivery and pricing. Using

technology to streamline processes and engineer the services to the needs of the client are

fundamental challenges, as clients become ever more IT literate and request accurate updates on a

regular basis. This will mean that firms have to invest in technology and consider how they price

their services, as clients demand more transparency in billing. Fixed fees will become more of a

focus and will impact on the overall service and client care provided by firms.

Derwent Campbell, Managing Partner of South-West based firm Mogers, puts it succinctly: “it’s all

about driving down the unit cost, and thus driving down the cost to the end user. We are

concentrating very hard on improving internal efficiencies, and technology has a crucial role to play

in this.”

Campbell is correct to underline the importance of unit cost. Law firms have traditionally operated

on the basis of ‘buying and selling hours’ (i.e. they buy hours from their staff, and sell them to their

clients). This, however, can obscure the actual costs the firm bears in providing services, and can

allow unprofitable services to masquerade as profitable. By better utilising leverage and technology,

firms can reduce the costs of delivery and, by promoting efficiency, can actually provide a better

level of service to clients.

Barry Wilkinson believes that activities should be placed into one of three categories. The first

category comprises expenditure that adds value – investments that produce a return. Second, some

costs are necessary in order to maintain compliance, such as with the Solicitors’ Accounts Rules.

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