Charlotte Parkinson, Modern Law, spoke to Dolores Evelyn (pictured), Eclipse Legal Systems about how an agile approach to running a law firm, whether a niche firm or a full service entity, is fast becoming the solution to the challenges presented in the modern legal arena.
Recent legislative changes have forced many law firms to swiftly acclimatise and adapt to a completely new marketplace. Developments in a multitude of areas of the legal market are forcing many firms to take stock and reconsider their approach. In order to remain afloat, firms have to consider ways to run their practice as an agile business. In most recent times, changes to the personal injury sector have forced many firms to reconsider their approach to the market entirely. Consolidation of the market is a threat, and these changes have affected the whole legal market,
but it is the niche law firms in particular which might be experiencing the brunt of the new landscape.
A challenge for all
The ‘Red Tape Challenge’ launched by the Government – a scheme devised to cut lengthy regulatory and administrative processes – has also lead to a number of legislative revisions in recent years and the legal sector has been on the receiving end of these. Although the scheme initially proposed changes to make processes within business easier, it has also sparked changes which have caused a greater work load for some firms. As well as the reforms to PI legislation, this government scheme has sparked change for regulation of claims management companies and commercial law amongst others. Reforms to the entire sector, such as the LASPO act and developments in commercial and public litigation in recent years have brought about swathes of change across the wider legal market. In light of these ongoing developments and reforms, there are a number of different ways in which these firms of all kinds can consider diversifying to retain a competitive offering for clients. For niche firms of all specialisms, there is an option to adjust and streamline processes to take into account these new factors and continue to remain profitable regardless of the changes.
How to streamline your service
The recent legislative changes to Road Traffic Accident Claims, for example, have seen government reforms affecting how these claims can be practised – and the new fixed fee regime being introduced, which has led to these types of claims becoming less profitable. Many firms have been looking at ways of streamlining their processes within these claims (such as utilising technology) in order to reduce overall costs – thus still benefitting from taking on RTA claims, regardless of the legislative change. Some firms are looking to restructure their processes by diversifying and taking on new areas of legal service offerings, in order to increase and expand the firms’ client base and ensure they stay ahead in the new market. Looking at ways to adapt quickly and effectively and remaining agile by adopting the ability to diversify your business offering is something which all law firms now have to do in this newly competitive and evolving market.
As Dolores, the Sales Director, at Eclipse Legal Systems, says:
“An agile business approach has to be underpinned by technology. Without the ability to create great IT processes, you are at an immediate disadvantage. Processes should reduce administration, remove duplication, and provide a ‘framework’ for increased efficiencies. So if you have the right kind of software, you can not only create processes which improve the way you do things now… but you can also expand these core processes into different work areas – using the nuts and bolts of your existing methodologies. “We have a wide range of clients, using our Proclaim Case and Practice Management systems, who have successfully expanded into new work areas – or configured the way they deal with existing ones. They have all used this ethos – taking a great ‘process’ and adapting it to a changed or new environment. The fast and agile will survive and thrive!”