Mid Size Law Firms Doomed To Planning, Diligence
Guilford College president Jane Fernandes once counseled the College’s board of trustees that there is a difference between “planning” and “hoping.” (She communicated this very diplomatically, a measure of her fitness for her job.)
In a word (well, two words) the difference is “due diligence.”
British law firm consultants Edward Drummond & Co recently advised “mid-tier” firms in England that the largest London firms are shouldering mid-tier firms out of high-margin work. Mid-tier firms, Drummond says, are in danger of losing their ability to attract new business.
But, there is hope. Drummond, itself a planning consultant, says there is
scope for mid-tier firms to improve their margins by placing greater focus on ‘rigorous strategic planning’. For their new ventures to be effective, the consultancy said, it was imperative that mid-tier firms dramatically ramp up in-depth market research and competitor analysis while also ensuring a thorough understanding of the potential opportunities and risks of the work.
Firms were warned that without carrying out detailed due diligence, they could risk seeing seemingly profitable new business ventures suffer or even fail.
Before firms commit to “new lines of business” though, a Drummond partner counseled
analysis of competitors,
identifying gaps in the market, and
targeting potential clients
Failure to commit to rigorous due diligence is more strategic hope than strategic planning. It risks doom.
What all this means in the context of mid-size American law firms is a horse of a somewhat different color than what British mid-tier firms face, but still a horse.