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Time to Think Differently

As fears grow of a continued slowdown in activity, there is a perceptible shift in emphasis from firms across the spectrum. Two trends are emerging among the leading players – a renewed focus on key
client management together with longer-term strategic clarity and rigour to ensure that a compelling position can be crafted in the face of increased competition.

On a related theme, I chaired The Lawyer 3rd Annual Business Development Conference at the end of February. On the opening day, the FT published two stories which lambasted law firms for outdated practices, lack of client orientation and fee levels that were wildly out of kilter with the value that was being delivered. On the same day the conference heard how the Law Society Commerce & Industry

Group of leading in-house lawyers had published a research report, Stop the Clock?, that demanded changes to the ways in which lawyers charged for their services and a better alignment between fees
demanded and value delivered.

There is a new commercial reality emerging, spurred by a more challenging economic climate, that will create opportunities for the forward-looking firm but which will be hugely challenging for those
entrenched in the past.

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