Splitting services

The notion that top flight firms will change their full-service ethic on the whim of a Dutch lawyer is absurd. But the logic of Ralph Kroner’s argument and the support his speech gained from the world’s largest practice (see pages 16-17) serves as a wake-up call to complacent firms which think they have got their strategies sewn up.

And it is not just medium-sized firms banking on everyone’s least favourite cliche, the “one-stop-shop”, that should listen. Global giants increasingly selling themselves as all things to all multinationals should stop and think.

Full service means nothing to most clients. Firms have to sell themselves on what they do best and pick up other work on the back of this. There is little room for firms that profess to be all things to all people. They will be perceived as generalists and will not be able to compete.