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www.wilkinsonread.co.uk 25 info@wilkinsonread.co.uk

of service delivery, where unit costs are measured and ruthlessly kept down, will only be possible

with the use of information-processing technologies, outsourcing and offshoring. Leverage models,

involving both qualified lawyers and non-qualified support staff, will remain important and will

facilitate new models of pricing.

Technology will also contribute to another important area – business development and client

service. Participants were quick to assert that the client must remain at the heart of the law firm

business model, and new methods of communication will complement traditional face to face

business practices in providing clients with the outstanding service levels they expect.

Ultimately, firms will be faced with a choice. Should they compete with new, low-cost providers on

grounds of price, or should they maintain their traditional focus on providing a premium service?

In order to achieve the former, critical mass will be required – and it is likely that many firms will lose

their independence in search of financial stability and economies of scale.

Those firms wishing to retain their independence in the face of intense market pressures should

follow an alternative road. Specialisation, niche practices and excellent client service – as well as

embracing technological change – are the imperatives driving the independence agenda for the law

firms of the future.

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