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Williams Lea sponsors Sandpiper Partners Seventh Annual London Legal Market Conference

News

18 Jun 2019

Williams Lea was delighted to join Sandpiper Partners as the sponsor of a day long discussion on the state of the UK legal market.

Williams Lea’s Director of Business Development, Phil Muller participated on a panel discussion centered around rethinking delivery models and structures to meet client pressures. The panel, comprised of leaders of global law firms and business of law experts discussed the need for law firms to respond to changing market dynamics and client demands in order to improve agility and firm profitability.

Here are three key takeaways from the discussion:

1. Change is happening. Gradually and suddenly.

Despite a very good year for the UK legal market as whole, traditional law firm delivery models are challenged by multiple outside influences and alternative business structures: more than half of the new legal businesses in 2019 were non-lawyer owned; The big four consultants are building legal practice disciplines; IPOs for law firms are now a regular course of business; legal market platforms that provide on-demand services are gaining popularity. How law firms adjust to these changes and other competitive threats will determine their ability to continue to thrive.

2. Centralizing and outsourcing support functions can be a catalyst for change, large and small.

The law firm panelists gave their thoughts on the impact of changing service delivery needs to their support operations. Typically, firms are burdened by fragmented support models and a growing need to deliver services internationally. Centralized back office support models – either firm run or outsourced – appeared to be the consensus solution of the panelists to provide quick, accurate and efficient business support.

3. Outsourcing comes in many forms

Outsourcing is often seen as a one size fits all solution. It doesn’t have to be. Firms can start small with either a specific support function or location. They can choose where the most appropriate place to perform those services should be: onsite, nearshore, offshore, or a hybrid approach. Surprisingly, many firms initially equate outsourcing with a loss of control. The panelists discussed the hidden potential of outsourcing to help drive change and take firm stakeholders on a transformative journey that enables better client innovation and service delivery.

To gain more insight on how UK law firms are responding to the challenges and opportunities they face, download our whitepaper, “Law firms’ approaches to an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

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