HedsUP! From Hedley Consulting

Welcome to the Summer
issue of HedsUP!

Reasons to be cheerful?

“I am an optimist. Anyone interested in the future has to be otherwise he would simply shoot himself.”
Arthur C. Clarke
Summer 2013

Reasons to be cheerful?
In any period of change comes opportunity as well as threat. The firms which are set to prosper in the new world order as those with an appetite to challenge how things have always been done and to find superior ways of meeting changing client demands as well as overcoming competitor threats through innovation, both internally and externally.

The volume of legal services purchased year-on-year will continue to rise; what is changing, however, are the mechanisms and channels through which these purchases are made, the prices that can be charged and the efficiency of the processes which are employed to deliver both the legal product and the service wrapper which augments it. By developing a deep understanding of these changes and using scenario planning techniques to model a range of future end-states, firms can plan better, secure greater market share and preserve profitability. They can be optimistic about the future because they understand it and can see their place and purpose in it.
This is not to say that shaping a firm and its people to maximise these opportunities will not be challenging, for it surely will. It will require a shared and clear vision, strong leadership, a determined strategy and a focus on operational excellence. Those which have, or are able to develop, these core attributes will seize the future and dominate their markets.

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

How to win Partners’ Hearts and Minds for a Proposed Merger

An interesting point is reached in any merger discussion, at which the negotiating teams must set aside issues of market dynamics, strategy and positioning. Plans for operational change, efficiency improvements and rationalisation must also be side-lined. Even the development of compelling propositions to attract new clients and expand existing relationships must pause in order to answer one question. This question is, when looked at through the eyes of the common or garden partner, “what’s in it for me?”

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Develop a Strategic Framework for Merger Communications

It is all too easy for those focused on the consummation of a merger (and with a deep knowledge of the transaction) to assume that its strategic logic will be self-evident. It is always wrong to presume that the benefits flowing from the union will be apparent to the combined firm’s client base.

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The Power of Using Values to Drive Post-Merger Integration

Ignore the importance of cultural fit and strong shared values at your peril when merging firms. Cultural dissonance is one of the most common reasons that mergers fail to deliver their expected returns. Within law firms, for which common values and behaviours are crucial to creating cohesion, getting these aspects of a merger wrong can be disastrous.

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Fit For Purpose

The legal services market is witnessing an unprecedented level of merger activity. The legal press is full of news of firms either in discussions or announcing a deal, but there is also a swell of activity behind the scenes of firms just starting to consider the value of merger as a strategy for their firm, or in early discussions with potential merger partners. So how can firms get from those early stages to concluding not just any deal, but the right deal? The aim is to find the right partner for the individual firm to help it achieve its strategic goals. But this is very challenging. Firms may play ‘fantasy football’ in private, envisaging the ideal scenario of what the firm wishes to become and the nature of its merger partner, but the reality is that choices in the real world are somewhat more limited, candidates less alluring, and mutual attraction more difficult to find. This article is designed to help provide a framework for firms facing this process.

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Plan Ahead To Get Ahead (Part 2)

Alongside the setting of the firmwide strategy, planning should be conducted at the next level of detail whilst still considering issues in broad terms. These second tier plans will nest within the overarching strategy framework, both aligned with and subservient to it. Planning at this level allows the broader leadership team to consider inter-relationships, identify resource pinch points and assess the critical paths which may affect both the sequencing and timing of any project implementation.

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News Bytes

The Lawyer Management Awards

Andrew Hedley has been invited to be a member of the judging panel for the inaugural The Lawyer Management Awards. The awards are “designed to reflect excellence in the full range of services which take place behind-the-scenes, from financial management, to technology, through to business development. The awards also of course incorporate the HR function, covering activity in recruitment and retention through to diversity in the workplace. The awards will culminate in recognising both the individual and the team who have truly enhanced the overall performance of their firm through effecting change at an organisational, strategic or cultural level.” To read more about the awards click here.

Law Management Section Merger Toolkit

The Law Management Section Mergers Toolkit, with two chapters contributed by Andrew Hedley, is designed to help firms gain a better understanding of the merger process and provides practical guidance throughout. Andrew Hedley's chapters consider the strategic drivers for merger and how to unlock the merger dividend. For more information 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 via 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 email enquiries@hedleyconsulting.com.

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