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A People-Centric Approach to Managing Law. Part 1: Improving collaboration with technology

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If you're at Law Tech Futures today (Tues 25th March 2014) join Fraser for his session at 10.30 'A People-Centric Approach to Managing Law Firms'.

Collaboration vs cross selling

‘Cross selling’ services to clients is often cited as a key growth strategy by law firms and is the argument most put forward for one firm offering a broad range of services.

However, I would argue that true financial reward lies not in the use of cross selling, but through delivering collaborative cross-practice services.

In a recent study by Heidi Gardner from the Harvard Business School she defines collaboration as:

“Collaboration occurs when a group of knowledge workers integrate their individual expertise in order to deliver high-quality outcomes on complex issues.”

This is contrasted with cross selling:

“Pure cross-selling occurs when partner A introduces partner B to his own client, so that B can provide additional services”

Most importantly, the report concludes that delivering collaborative cross-practice services brings in significantly more revenue than can be explained by mere cross selling.

She then provides two possible reasons as causes of this:

  • Collaborative work is of a higher value
  • Increased retention of clients and professionals

So collaboration has a major impact on revenue. But there are barriers to achieving it, which I will cover in this blog. Future blogs will discuss how collaboration can increase the retention of clients and professionals.

Barriers to collaboration

The barriers to collaboration come in many forms but, essentially, there are two underlying reasons.

The structure of work discourages collaboration

Systems often require work to be structured along regional or jurisdictional lines for compliance or reporting purposes. For example, where multiple matters are required for each country or practice area involved in the delivery of client services. This is often caused by the failure of the underlying systems to support global matters or handle sub matters.

Lack of inter-operability

Collaborative technology is gaining wider adoption, with increasing numbers of firms implementing solutions like Lync, Microsoft SharePoint and Yammer. However, users are often reluctant to engage with platforms that are separate from the systems that run the day-to-day operations of the firm.

Encouraging collaboration through technology

With LexisOne™, powered by the Microsoft Dynamics® AX platform, we’ve taken a different approach, enabling us to deliver clear benefits for firms.

Microsoft Dynamics AX is a truly global solution, designed to scale with your business. It can be deployed for a single firm in a one country. It can also expand to support the unique requirements for conducting business in 36 countries - all from a single deployment. Multiple currencies, time zones, languages, and compliance with multiple banking and reporting standards, and legislative codes, provide the global coverage firms require. Using one system for an entire organisation provides the foundation that allows partners in different practices, locations and geographies to proactively collaborate on client matters.

In addition, the Microsoft Dynamics AX solution delivers pervasive interoperability with Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and Lync, providing the familiar, productive experiences users expect. Consequently, usage of the collaboration tools is improved.

I believe the above, combined with LexisNexis’ comprehensive understanding of the legal operating environment, will allow our clients to work in a truly collaborative manner and achieve the associated revenue benefits.

If you're at Law Tech Futures today (Tues 25th March 2014) join Fraser for his session at 10.30 'A People-Centric Approach to Managing Law Firms'.

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