Sandpiper Partners LLC's The D.C. Legal Market 2016-17: Growth Stagnates; Modest Profit, Revenue Increases Forecast
Featuring Major, Lindsey & Africa's Stephen M. Springer as a panelist
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The University Club,
1135 16th St NW, Washington, D.C.
8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Breakfast & Registration
9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Program
1. State of the Market: Uncertainty Spreads
Law firms are being buffeted by many forces including increasing client sophistication and demands, more intense competition, new business models, consolidation, technology, alternative service providers, and a stagnation in demand. Our panel includes firms taking the lead in setting up different kinds of approaches to legal services and creatively interacting with buyers of legal services. What is your firm’s core vision? Long term vision? How do you develop strategy, direction and informed decision making in the rapidly changing market? Is “coherence” (decide what you are good at and focus) an answer that produces higher returns, and what tools, metrics, investment and people must support this approach to deliver results successfully? The pace of innovation and collaboration is increasing significantly as legal services are provided in unbundled solutions, and not just by the traditional players. How are recent entrants affecting business prospects and fee alternatives?
2. Change Including Diversity Initiatives that will win you more work and additional clients.
A. Diversity: law firms are on the spot to show clients they have meaningful and successful diversity programs. How to deal with significant internal and external challenges to make this happen including a candid discussion about billable hours, responsibilities, recruitment and retention as firms feel the “heat” from corporate clients.
B. Is it really possible to turn lawyers into salesmen?
C. How is the new definition of “business development” expanding to include business intelligence, metrics, data analytics and creatively used social media plus more pro-active proposals to secure assignments and deal with key operational and strategic issues?
D. Polishing your public image.
3. Pricing, Profitability, Predictability
A. Dealing with a request for a significant discount from a long term client
B. Offering clients alternative fee arrangements, fixed fee, success fee or discounts
C. Outcome based fees, sharing risk with clients
D. Profitability and realization rates under pressure.
4. The Clients Hammer Away at Costs; Accountability, Risk and Knowledge Sharing:
A. How can firms share risk with clients? How can partners be trusted advisers to clients in a time of heightened risk including regulatory, economic and political risk? What does all this mean in practical terms to service providers?
B. Clients worry that firms don’t understand or misunderstand what it means to build an effective relationship. How should firms address this? What are the characteristics of a healthy institutional relationship today?
5. Mergers & Lateral Groups: One way to deal with sluggish demand is to recruit attractive laterals or make an acquisition to deepen your bench or add new specialties . Combining with another firm make sense when demand is restrained and competition is heated. Will this strategy heat up again in the next year? What are reasonable expectations now for laterals and for retention strategies for rainmakers?
6. Staffing Models and Compensation in Transition--How They are Affecting People, Practices and Profits.
Associate compensation has increased, and the biggest resource of law firms is their people. As part of the movement to recast business models, many firms are devising new ways to utilize lawyers and other professionals to do their work. What leadership skills are necessary to manage organizational behavior and change? Firms are shedding partners, adding specialists and non-equity partners and turning to staff attorneys and project managers to run projects in a lean way and produce meaningful data analytics to benefit the firm and its clients. When a substantial percentage of revenue is derived from alternate fees, how should firms manage staffing? When clients object to fees for junior lawyers, how should you staff to please them and maintain profit margins at the levels the firm needs?
7. Business Issues: Opportunities for More Cost Savings, Risk mitigation, shared services, in-sourcing, outsourcing, near shoring all represent ways to “do things differently”, to realize savings and redeploy dollars to mitigate risk from cyber security and other economic, financial and political forces.
If you wish to attend please contact Piper Adams DeLaura at (973)278-8800 for more information.