Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2009 - When the Going Gets Tough...

From every angle, getting and keeping good legal work is going to be challenging in 2009. Competition is at an all-time high; there are fewer financial institutions (who in past years generated anywhere from 20-50% of many major law firms annual revenues); there are very few new loans/lending/projects in the pipeline; money is tight all around; litigation will rise (but getting paid will become harder). Belts are tightening, layoffs abound and it will likely get worse before it gets better. When the clouds part, those firms that practice fiscal conservatism will remain successful. There is no better time than now to review all firm expenses, and assign relative values to each on a continuum from "necessary" to "nice but not necessary". Make sure to differentiate between true costs/expenses (i.e. money once spent yields little in return) versus strategic investments (money spent will generate a significant ROI). Many traditional marketing tools such as advertising, public relations and brochures may not be necessary in this economy, whereas well-planned, strategic and direct one-to-one communications with clients and prospects are even more critical.

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