Survival will require strength in diversity

The whole area of client care is preoccupying the agenda of many firms and barristers chambers at the moment.

Pinsents, as we see on page three, has addressed the issue by appointing a partner to specifically look after client services. Many others are dedicating marketing resources to the matter and are putting systems in place that they hope will keep clients happy.

However, the issue has now moved on to the next stage, and firms must consider the place of value-added services in their practices. The growth of multidisciplinary practices is one indication that this will be an issue for the future – firms will increasingly have to question how they can add value in areas unrelated to law.

Some practices, for example, are already looking at employment issues and whether the addition of human resource consultancies could improve their services. Adding a human resources arm would allow firms to approach clients and assist in putting systems in place that would prevent legal problems developing.

At least one firm has developed an employee profit share scheme consultancy, which assists companies with their arrangements in this area.

Increasingly, firms are also looking at training as a way of assisting clients and are holding seminars in relevant areas of law. Recruitment and publishing have also been mentioned as other areas in which assisting clients may bring in benefits.

The law firm of the future, if these moves are a pointer to its nature, will be a multifaceted animal, with law as simply the kernal of the business.

Lawyers may well be disturbed by this image. However, if they want their firms to remain ahead of the pack, it is an issue which they should be considering seriously. Only by looking at such options and embracing proactivity can they hope to achieve a competitive edge.