HedsUP! From Hedley Consulting

Welcome to the Winter
issue of HedsUP!

Now is not the time to freeze...

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Winston Churchill
Winter 2011/12

Now is not the time to freeze...
Big strategic plays are de rigueur! The first few weeks of 2012 have seen merger announcements aplenty, significant external investment in UK law firms, the launch of ABS models that will change parts of the market forever and a renewed appetite for international expansion. These are the headline grabbers, but what about the majority of firms not in the media spotlight? Are they on the cusp of making their own announcements or simply stunned by what they see unfolding around them.

Looking more closely at the high levels of merger activity being seen across the market, the firms involved may be categorised in one of three ways.

Some see current economic conditions as an opportunity for growth and for them to be in the vanguard of industry consolidation. For them, the climate allows them to pursue their expansionist plans at pace.
A further group are firms which are now contemplating merger having recognised how inhospitable their traditional world will be in five years’ time. They are choosing to make their play whilst still in a position of relative strength.

Finally, there are those in such a parlous state that they have no option but to seek a deal. Firms which have adopted the “fingers crossed and eyes closed” approach to strategy dominate this cohort.

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

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Live to serve

Along with the other ‘traditional’ professions, law firms have witnessed real transformational changes in the last 25 years, in some cases willingly, but in many, as a response to market demands. One of the most significant changes has been in lawyers’ attitudes to their clients.

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Market Changes – Dealing with Uncertainty Using Scenario Planning

In the turbulent business environment faced by modern law firms it is imperative that any strategy is robust. By this I mean that it has inbuilt flexibility, enabling it to respond appropriately and quickly to changing circumstances, as well as having sufficient resilience to allow firms to cope with more transient market fluctuations. It is incumbent on the management team to put in place systems and measures to mitigate any potentially adverse developments (as well, of course, to maximise any opportunities which may arise).This can be achieved by ensuring that the firm has good ‘horizon gazing’ capabilities and through the use of scenario planning techniques.

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Emerging Opportunities

An effective strategy for capitalising on emerging market opportunities is a standing agenda item for the boards of internationally-minded firms. Indeed, the topic is so enduring that some markets have moved from emerging to emerged in the time that the subject has been under consideration. It has become clear that a range of options can be adopted, each with merits as well as potential drawbacks.

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Client Strategy in a Changing Market

Client strategy sits at the heart of all strategy. Without the ability to attract and retain clients, at a price which delivers an acceptable level of profitability, no business can be viable in the longer term. A firm’s client strategy should be under constant review in order to ensure that the emerging needs of the client and the firm’s competitive capabilities remain aligned. In a market that is undergoing fundamental and far reaching change, this requirement has never been more pressing.

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News Bytes

The Merger Option - Mad, Malevolent or Magnificent?

Andrew Hedley will be speaking at the Law Society Law Management Section's 14th Annual Conference on the topic of "The Merger Option - Mad, Malevolent or Magnificent?". The conference will take place on 10th May 2012 at The Hilton Paddington Hotel, London. To read more about the conference or to access a full agenda and booking form click here.

MPF European Leadership Awards 2012

The shortlist for the MPF European Leadership Awards 2012, of which Andrew Hedley sits on the Judging Panel, has been announced. To view the categories and download a list of the shortlisted firms click here. The awards ceremony and gala dinner will take place on 1st March 2012 at the London Marriott.

Best Practices in Legal Marketing

Andrew Hedley authored two chapters in the recently published Best Practices in Legal Marketing. To read the Executive Summary and view the full contents click here or to order a copy click here.

The Cambridge Chartered Programme

Andrew Hedley has been appointed as a specialist tutor on Cambridge Marketing College's new Chartered Programme. This is a unique initiative aimed at helping delegates gain and maintain their Chartered Marketer status through a structured range of activities from networking events, through courses to self-study materials. For more information about the college click here or to download a copy of the Chartered Programme prospectus click here.

Client Strategy in a Changing Legal Market Report

Andrew Hedley’s Client Strategy in a Changing Legal Market report has now been published and is available to purchase online. Client strategy sits at the heart of all strategy. Without the ability to attract and retain clients, at a price which delivers an acceptable level of profitability, no business can be viable in the longer term. To read more or to order the publication click here.

Developing Strategic Client Relationships Report

Andrew Hedley’s comprehensive report, Developing Strategic Client Relationships, published by ARK Group, continues to attract purchasers from around the world. Running to over 150 pages, with case studies of leading firms and ground breaking initiatives in this area, the report brings a much needed strategic perspective to client development and relationship management. For more information about the report and to order a copy click here.

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