The Recorder recently highlighted predicted trends for law firms in 2015. To summarize their predictions:
- Demand for litigation will remain flat
- Transactional work will continue to be a strong area
- Data privacy will grow rapidly as a practice area
- Many firms will look to downsize their office space in order to spend more money on attracting top talent
- Firms will establish niche areas of expertise
- Alternative fee arrangements will continue to rise
Items 1, 2, 3 & 5 all make sense in order to increase/maintain top line revenue in light of a flat market. Item 4 is expense management and item 6 is a function of the necessity of project management in the today’s legal world.
Let’s take number 4 a step further. If firms are reducing office space in order to afford top talent—which, as everyone knows, is not the quickest solution to implement–here are some ideas firms can do in the interim to reduce expenses:
- Address the issue of onsite and offsite records storage through a strategic plan to eliminate paper.
- Look at what back and middle office services are being provided on-site. Can they be eliminated and moved to a less expensive location while increasing end-user satisfaction?
- Competitively bid your contracts: automatically renewing or extending is leaving savings on the table.
- Maximize the recovery of costs. Clients will pay and attorneys will bill, reasonable and documented soft costs. Make sure your cost recovery strategy addresses these factors.