As 2014 approaches, law firms in the Asia-Pacific Region are faced with much opportunity as a result of regional economic growth – but they also face growing competition to attract and retain clients.

That’s why it’s worth highlighting a series of blogposts devoted to how law firms might more effectively compete in the year ahead.  The series, written by authors at JD Supra Perspectives – polled law firm chief marketing officers as well as consultants to the profession.

As JD Supra outlined: “We received a diverse mix of responses – everything from words of caution about cybersecurity to reminders that law firms have a long way to go yet as they make themselves into truly competitive businesses. We also saw themes in these answers: even as many of you anticipate an uptick in the economy, in the new year firms need to remain focused on client service, smart marketing, innovation, and truly efficient business models.”

Here is a selection of the commentary contained in the series.   I’d encourage anyone in any law firm in the region to read the series and pay close attention to the advice contained therein as you look toward the new year:

From: Top Priorities for Law Firms in 2014? Depends…:

Jordan Furlong, principal at Edge International and senior consultant at Stem Legal: “2014 will be the year that law firms either get serious about making themselves into competitive businesses, or start planning for their elimination from the market.”

Timothy B. Corcoran, principal at Corcoran Consulting Group: The greatest challenge for law firms in 2014, he says, will be sustaining this culture of change.”

John Grimley…raises what until very recently was probably a dirty word in most law firms: “My suggestion for 2014 would be that more firms emulate the award-winning ‘sales pipeline’ business development model of Baker & McKenzie.”

Paula Black (Paula Black & Associates) suggests to her clients that it is time to focus: “It’s a hard skill to perfect when there are so many demands, options and desires. The solution is very simple, create a “Focus: Three” plan. What are the top three things you want to accomplish in 2014?”

Amy Knapp (Knapp Marketing) echoes the call for innovation thusly: “Though the economy is back, a majority of lawyers and law firms have come to accept fundamental changes to their business model and how they measure success.”

From Top Priorities for BigLaw in 2014? Here’s the CMO Perspective…:

Vickie Spang, CMO at Sheppard Mullin, an AmLaw 100 firm with more than 600 attorneys around the world, captures this well:  ‘The name of the game in 2014 is keeping market share’.”

Aleisha Gravit, CMO at international law firm Akin Gump (with more than 800 attorneys), puts the focus squarely on client needs: “I think that one of the top priorities for law firms in 2014 will be in the area of client focus, specifically on delivering a client’s targeted outcome.”

Heather Morse, Director of Marketing at California-based firm Barger & Wolen: “Dust off your strategic plan, and get rid of anything that is no longer forward thinking. It’s time to get proactive and invest the resources of time, money, and people to make things happen.”

Jeff Berardi, CMO at K&L Gates, one of the world’s largest firms with over 2,000 attorneys globally, sees law firm prosperity – next year and beyond – tied to a ‘viable and long-term strategy – one which must be coupled with a clearly articulated value proposition to clients.'”

Looking ahead to 2014

The series by JD Supra, as I mentioned earlier, contains much superb advice from those who’ve made their lives work to help lawyers and law firms succeed in what is now a hyper-competitive marketplace.  I hope you find both articles of help as you look to the new year.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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