Take Away the Numbers and What’s Left?

I have mentioned the eponymous Tom Peters and his oft quoted expression:

“Hard is soft. Soft is Hard.”

If you read In Search of Excellence you will understand why this modus operandi is (and remains) so important.

Law firms are no different to the cohort of Big Business that formed the target group for the book.

They are obsessed with the numbers:

  • The ratio of juniors to partners;
  • Their place in Chambers;
  • PEP;
  • Chargeable hours;
  • WIP; and
  • Unpaid bills.

Just imagine if you took away the numbers?

  • Everyone had an equal chance to share in the firm’s profit;
  • Chambers ceased to exist;
  • If there was a differential between the most senior/junior it was capped a ‘x’ times earnings of the lowest paid (£15,000 x 10 = £150,000?);
  • You did the best possible humanly possible for your client;
  • WIP was replaced by fixed fees;
  • Clients were so WOWed that they paid within 24 hours of receiving the invoice.

Numbers distract from the sine qua non of the why you became a lawyer.

Don’t tell me you went into law to make “loads of money”? Of course you did, but I don’t see that on your website or marketing literature. Instead, I see messaging about how much you love pleasing your clients.

Just for once, stop talking about the numbers and instead focus on:

  1. Excellence in client service;
  2. Asking your clients to pay you what they think you are worth;
  3. Getting the client to complete a satisfaction survey by an independent source;
  4. Giving a money back guarantee.

You are in the service sector. Not the work in progress or PEP business.

If you are prepared to divert some attention to the Soft skills, I can guarantee that it will make a difference to the number of clients you retain, grow and win.

I can’t imagine for one moment you going into a new client presentation and talking about your impressive lock up figures!

~ JS ~


4 responses to “Take Away the Numbers and What’s Left?”

  1. Julian

    I would love a firm whose about us page sai “we’re here to make lots of cash, but in doing so we will try to do the best job we can. Refreshingly honest, aren’t we?”

    In my mediation practice, i’m toying with the idea of “money back guarantee” and “pay what it’s worth” but i’m just unsure how to present it, particularly the latter. Won’t clients, particularly commercial ones, just say “give me a price. I’m also concerned that it looks “desperate for work” rather than “confident in my abilities”.

    As always, a good blog! Keep up the good work.

    Steven Mather
    @smather21

  2. Julian

    I would love a firm whose about us page sai “we’re here to make lots of cash, but in doing so we will try to do the best job we can. Refreshingly honest, aren’t we?”

    In my mediation practice, i’m toying with the idea of “money back guarantee” and “pay what it’s worth” but i’m just unsure how to present it, particularly the latter. Won’t clients, particularly commercial ones, just say “give me a price. I’m also concerned that it looks “desperate for work” rather than “confident in my abilities”.

    As always, a good blog! Keep up the good work.

    Steven Mather
    @smather21

  3. Steven

    We are on the same page. I think mediation is perhaps a different proposition. If you were to go down the route of money back g’ees, you would need to be very careful when the ‘result’ didn’t go the clients’ way. You could find yourself doubly out of pocket if one side didn’t pay then so might the other. The payment might be too easily tied into the outcome as well which is risky. I think Andrew Fraley’s model of time-limited, fixed fees is the best one that I have used. Always happy to chat some more any time (or Skype).

    Julian

  4. Steven

    We are on the same page. I think mediation is perhaps a different proposition. If you were to go down the route of money back g’ees, you would need to be very careful when the ‘result’ didn’t go the clients’ way. You could find yourself doubly out of pocket if one side didn’t pay then so might the other. The payment might be too easily tied into the outcome as well which is risky. I think Andrew Fraley’s model of time-limited, fixed fees is the best one that I have used. Always happy to chat some more any time (or Skype).

    Julian

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