HedsUP! From Hedley Consulting

Welcome to the Winter
issue of HedsUP!

in the Face of Turbulence

"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence;
it is to act with yesterday’s logic."

Peter Drucker
December 09
Temerity in the Face of Turbulence
The legal sector faces a number of unprecedented challenges in the year ahead. The one with potential to disrupt most widely and deeply is a wholesale move to fixed-fee pricing. Surveys of in-house counsel show that they are resolute in demanding fundamental change over the next twelve months.

Delivering profit from fixed-fee work requires wholesale changes to historic operating models and has far reaching implications.

One inevitable consequence will be the demise of associate lockstep, the process by which salary (and hourly rate) increases are pegged to years of qualification rather than any objective measure of increased ability to add value for the client. Another will be a significant acceleration in the use of legal process outsourcing for increasingly complex work.

An emphasis on better management skills will also be necessary as firms disaggregate the legal process, undertake individual work components at the lowest price point and then reassemble the “legal product” at its point of delivery to the client.
The effect on firm culture, talent management and the psychological contract between partner and associate will be hugely significant. However, these are nettles which must be grasped to emerge from the recession with businesses that are viable in the longer term.

Simply hoping that one can hold out long enough for better times to return is not a strategy. Temerity in the face of turbulence is unlikely to deliver the desired result!

I hope that you enjoy this issue of HedsUP! If you have any questions or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,
Andrew Hedley
Andrew Hedley

On your desktop

“The Road is Long”
Merger Masterclass

Published in Managing Partner Magazine

The strategy for embarking on a merger need not be overly sophisticated, but it must be founded in reality and supported by some testing of the assumptions on which it is based. Many managing partners regard the delivery of a successful merger as their gold-standard achievement. In one act they see themselves able to demonstrate, for the entire world to see, that their firm is going places, has ambition, and is prepared to move decisively and determinedly to achieve its goals.

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“Hitting the Ground Running”
Business Development Masterclass

Published in Managing Partner Magazine

Many firms are coming to terms with a very uncomfortable truth: that growth is the only way out of the perilous position in which they find themselves. In many cases, costs have been pared to a point at which any further marginal reductions will have limited impact. Furthermore, the extended timescale over which such measures will take effect will not meet current demands to balance the finances. Indeed, further cost cutting may well ultimately damage the business in the longer term.

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Changing the Game Plan
Published in Legal Marketing Magazine

In these challenging times, the need to be more effective at managing strategic client relationships is ever more important. Those clients that continue to deliver revenue (albeit perhaps at significantly reduced levels) need determined focus, care and attention. Competitors are more desperate than ever to capture a share of their legal spend and are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths, in terms of both reduced fee levels and enhanced service promises, to secure the work.

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Developing Business on a Shoestring
Published in PSMG Magazine

Forget the logic about counter-cyclical investment, when cash is in short supply discretionary budgets feel the pain. This is even more the case in businesses with high fixed and semi-fixed cost bases like professional service firms. It can therefore be no surprise that business development and marketing budgets across the professional services sector are pared to the bone. For marketers, the challenge shifts from grand plans to doing more with less – developing business on a shoestring!

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