‘Law is a Buyer’s Market – Building a Client-First Law Firm’
Book review by Simon Tupman
· ISBN: 978-0-9953488-0-6
· Author - Jordan Furlong
· Format: Softcover
· © Copyright 2017 by Jordan Furlong
When I first read Jordan Furlong’s book, - ‘Law is a Buyer’s Market – Building a Client-First Law Firm’, I thought ‘Hallelujah’! Finally, a pragmatic book for lawyers that neatly explains not just what is happening to the legal services market, but also why it is happening and what law firms (both large and small) can do about it.
This is an exceptionally coherent, unacademic, easy-to-read book (210 pages) that will inspire every reader to re-think how they run their legal business and how they can deliver greater value to their clients.
As the author explains in the prologue, the book’s fundamental message is: ‘view absolutely everything you do through the prism of the people and the businesses that consult you and purchase your services – your clients.’
The author begins by explaining how the pendulum of power in the legal services market has switched from being a seller’s market to a buyer’s market and what impact it is having on law firms. He then goes on to explore and explain the emergence and development of lawyer and law firm substitutes – the notion that lawyers and law firms are no longer exclusive suppliers of legal services. Using up-to-date illustrations of innovative organisations that fit this category, he goes on to examine why the changes to the market represent an ‘insurmountable challenge’ to the traditional law firm model. I particularly enjoyed his section on ‘the trouble with law firms’ which identifies three key features of a traditional law firm that inhibit innovation and adaptation.
The author emphasises the need for law firms to become ‘commercial enterprises’ like any other business and urges their leaders to find ways to separate ownership from management and management from labour, to institute business processes and to make the most of technology.
Some readers may be forgiven for being pessimistic about the future. After reading the second half of this book, they may feel rather more optimistic as the author presents solutions that do not require huge investments in technology but rather, fresh thinking, new disciplines and relatively low-cost initiatives that every law firm can implement.
Specifically, he outlines three related strategies to help law firms address the central issues:
- A client strategy that focuses on the needs and interests of clients;
- A culture strategy that focuses on developing and maintaining a vibrant workplace culture; and
- A competitive strategy that focuses on ensuring firms remains competitive and distinctive.
This book will help lawyers to get past the current hype and jargon, to better understand the disruptive forces, their likely impact, and to work out how best to deal with them. For all lawyers concerned about the future and in need of some ideas and inspiration, then this book is a great place to start.
Order your copy here. (NZ and Australia only)
(Rest of world can order here)