Ask An Expert: 007 – A License To Bill

In a short commentary for Today’s Conveyancer, Simon McCrum, former Managing Partner of national firm Darbys Solicitors, discusses his experience of joining the business in 2007 just weeks before the Credit Crunch. That business in due course became the UK’s fastest-growing law firm.

Now a Management Consultant for law firms through McCrum Consulting, Simon shares his do’s and don’t’s for law firms navigating their way through the current crisis.

At the end of March 2020 McCrum launched a series of weekly surveys entitled “Law Firms in Lockdown” to gauge the general situation and mood in the legal sector, described as an effort to understand what was going on in the “heads and hearts” of law firms leaders.

The “head” sentiment was to provide some metrics against the number of active lawyers, chargeable hours and file openings.

Addressing the “heart”, McCrum discusses how we wanted to share how law firms were feeling about the current crisis and what was keeping them awake at night.

The results showed an immediate dip in 3 key inputs; the number of lawyers, chargeable hours and file openings. However, of greater concern is that lawyers think the real impact on their business is still to come.

“Law firm pipelines… have got a gap in them, and whether that comes to the fore at the end of May or the end of June, or later, there is a timebomb in the system.”

For McCrum it is vital that firms go back to basics and ensure they have the basics of what he calls The Perfect Legal Business (which is the title of his forthcoming book) in place :

  • Have a differentiator
  • Have an exacting engagement with clients – not as easy engagement
  • Deliver an amazing service – every lawyer, every team, every time
  • Make maximum money on every case
  • Get paid quickly
  • Focus on getting more work out of your existing clients, a tactic McCrum describes as 007 – which he sees as a license to bill

The next “Law Firms in Lockdown “ survey will be at the end of May and “will be very telling,” says Simon.

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