How to Become the Firm of Choice

How do firms break out of the pack and put themselves in a position to enjoy sustained success? ​How to Become the Firm of Choice provides the answer: firms have to make an explicit decision to become “the firm of choice” in their chosen markets. And, in doing so, they must move their operations to the next level. This means:

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Details

  • Publication date: February, 2017
  • Pages: 100
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-272-3

Description

“It is very difficult to know how to bring about performance change in a professional service firm when either the professionals often think they know best or they don’t like change. This very useful guide demonstrates not only how to do it, but also how to persuade others it’s a good idea. It is easy to read with useful appendices, which you can use to apply to your own situation. So, if you want to bring about performance change, you should definitely give it a go.”

Nick Page, Chairman, Bond Dickinson LLP, UK

“Narrated as a real-world case study, How to Become the Firm of Choice is the practical, step-by-step field guide for the managing partner of any law firm to follow to help get their colleagues to a higher level of market success. Read it from start to finish but pay particular attention to the logical and insightful ‘Key exhibits’ included in the latter part of the text. They make the entire book exemplary.”

Patrick J. McKenna, Internationally recognized advisor to the leaders of premier law firms

 

The consensus from a number of recent reports is that the majority of law firms will again see flat revenue growth in 2017. 

With external spending down, new legal service providers entering the market, and clients demanding more effective and efficient services, probably the only thing we can predict with any certainty is that competition will only get tougher. 

So, how do firms break out of the pack and put themselves in a position to enjoy sustained success? 

How to Become the Firm of Choice provides the answer: firms have to make an explicit decision to become “the firm of choice” in their chosen markets. And, in doing so, they must move their operations to the next level. This means:

  • Analyzing and improving every aspect of the firm’s operations
  • Ensuring all of the firm’s internal operations and processes are aligned with what the firm needs to do to be successful in its markets
  • Maintaining an absolute commitment to being the best and a refusal to accept the status quo; and, crucially
  • Being one-step better than the competition

Taking a fictional law firm as an example, the book examines in detail five main drivers of professional service firm performance:

  • Markets 
  • Clients
  • People
  • Financial and
  • Underpinning beliefs 

Through models, matrices, and examples based on the authors’ extensive experience advising leaders of professional service firms around the world, How to Become the Firm of Choice shows just how this can be achieved in today’s competitive market. 

It explains the questions firms need to ask, and the challenges they need to overcome, in each area in order to improve each aspect – and take the firm to the next level.  

Contents

Introduction
Acknowledgements
About the authors
An invitation to a firm’s retreat
Cast of characters

Part One

  • Where to begin
  • Oh no! Not another bloody meeting!
  • Cliff’s opening remarks
  • Nathan’s story
  • Questions from partners
  • Rules
  • Mark’s opening comments
  • Mark’s findings
  • Categorizing the issues
  • Let’s get to work
  • Market questions
  • Client questions
  • People questions
  • Financial questions
  • Underpinning beliefs questions
  • What we agreed to agree
  • Mark’s closing comments
  • Cliff’s closing comments    

Part Two

  • Two weeks later
  • Mark’s opening comments
  • Findings & proposals
    • Markets team
    • Clients team
    • People team
    • Finance team
    • Underpinning beliefs team
  • Making it happen
  • Change is tough
  • What do we do with the partners who don’t want to join us?
  • A picture is worth a thousand words

Part Three

  • Two years later
  • A final word

Part Four

  • Exhibits and key concepts
Download chapters

Authors

August Aquila
Internationally known speaker, consultant, and author
Rob Lees
Rob Lees is the co-author, with Harvard Business School professors Tom DeLong and Jack Gabarro, of the best-selling When Professionals Have to Lead: A New Model for High Performance. He is also co-author of the HBR article “Managing talent: The key challenge for today’s professional service firm”.  Rob also co-authored, with August Aquila, Engaging Partners in the Firm’s Future and What Successful Managing Partners Do. He has also published numerous articles on professional service firm strategy in both the US and UK. Before retiring last year after 25 years working with leading professional firms across the world, Rob had spent the last ten years consulting with firm leaders on how to improve their strategic position and, critically, how to deliver it. During this time, Rob also helped set up Møller Professional Service Firms Group, the UK’s leading PSF consulting firm on improving individual, team, and firm capability. Rob held several notable positions prior to moving into consulting, including global head of human resources at EY and head of EY’s global leadership institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was also head of professional development in EY’s UK firm and director of professional development at Morgan Stanley. Rob currently collaborates on selected research projects and writes on issues relating to firm strategy and performance. He can be reached at roblees2@sky.com

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