find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Managing client relationships in a competitive legal services market

Managing client relationships in a competitive legal services market

Clients are still leading on law firm relationships and their enhanced buying power is here to stay, writes Angela Priestley It's typical that change should afflict the legal profession - as it…

Clients are still leading on law firm relationships and their enhanced buying power is here to stay, writes Angela Priestley

It's typical that change should afflict the legal profession - as it does most areas of business - during and in the short-term following a recessionary period.

But, as has certainly been the case with the Australian legal market in recent decades, it's also typical that such dynamic shifts quickly return to normal once the market improves.

The global financial crisis has broken all the rules in this regard.

According to Middletons managing partner Nick Nichola, the changes and their consequent challenges facing the Australian legal market following the GFC are here to stay.

"They are game changing and they're irreversible. I don't think we've seen that before," he says.

Such changes relate to the increased buying power of clients as a result of competition in the legal services market: their ability to now ask for more from their law firms, to work with technology, diversify legal purchasing according to their needs, retain more staff in-house and access cost saving initiatives such as legal process outsourcing (LPO).

Nichola believes the depth of the GFC along with a long-term and thus more engrained change of psyche from clients means such changes are here to stay.

"Clients realise they really do have bargaining power and they don't have to just accept what law firms dish up by way or 'this is how we charge and this is our method of charging and if you want to use us well you've just got to accept it'."

And he believes that the increased use of LPO globally is only going to exacerbate such changes. "We now have corporations like Deutsche Bank outsourcing a whole heap of their legal functions to LPO. Corporates are talking about LPO, and they're talking about the savings."

Ultimately, says Nichola, good management will allow a firm to outlive such a dynamic environment.

He believes that means good staff engagement, harnessing opportunity - be it opening a new office, offering LPO-like services to clients and/or assisting with clients who are looking to diversify their legal purchasing - and applying a vision to what a firm needs to do to stay relevant in the decades to come.

Nick Nichola is speaking at the LexisNexis Practice Management conference.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Managing client relationships in a competitive legal services market
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...