Solicitors’ Guide – Instantly Cross Sell More of Your Legal Services to Your Clients and Prospects

Often when I attend a new solicitors practice to help them with their marketing, I am amazed at the lack of thought that has gone into promoting the services of the law firm. From the outside of the office there is often very little evidence of the services that the law firm can provide for passers by, there are no posters in the windows and the signage is old or tatty. Some simple changes can be made to the practice both internally and externally that can significantly improve the cross selling of your legal services to your clients. I will start by looking at the outside of your offices and then walking through the building and looking at your marketing communications. By the end of it, if you implement the changes I guarantee you will see results.

Your Premises

Let’s start with the first thing your clients see when they visit your offices. This is your chance to promote your services completely free of charge to the outside world. Are you making the most of it? Can you answer yes to all of the following questions?

  • Do you have brightly illuminated signage (all bulbs working)?
  • Do you list all of your core services clearly on your exterior signage?
  • Are your telephone number and website address displayed?
  • Do you have an A board outside of your offices with thought provoking and changing posters inside it?

If you cannot answer yes to all of these questions, act now to make immediate improvements and make the most of that passing trade. One final point on this section is that in this day and age you have no excuse if you still shut for lunch. In a tough economic climate you must be open at every opportunity possible, and if you take the time to make the changes above you need to be open to make the most of your passing trade.

Your Reception Area

Once a client or potential client enters your reception area, they are a captive audience. You can now sell your services to them and they expect you to do so. First things first, remove every single item of printed material that is not your own. Now is not the time to promote other local businesses or charities. By being a successful practice you will have far more opportunity to give to reception, but do not do this in your reception area.

Do you:

  • Have at least three different types of promotional materials for all of your services? Eg a brochure, direct mail postcards, and legal help sheets?
  • Have advertising posters on the walls?
  • Have testimonials and case studies praising your services?
  • Have a receptionist who is trained to cross sell your services?

Your Client Communications

Now we move onto your communications with existing clients. How can you cross sell your legal services to your existing clients in your client communications?

  • Add a PS to every client letter promoting one aspect of your service
  • Enclose a different promotional item with client letters every month (eg Wills in January, Personal Injury in February, Moving Home in March (in time for Easter)).
  • When your clients send you a thank you letter, thank them in writing and ask them to recommend their family and friends to you for the same excellent service.

Conclusion

When the economy tightens, you need to do all that you can to win more business as cheaply as possible. Cross selling more of your legal services to existing clients and prospects is one of the easiest ways of winning new instructions. Take the action above and you will be well on your way to winning new business for your solicitors practice.

Outsourcing vs. Captive Operations – Which Model is the Best Fit For Your Business?

While feasibility of using offshore/nearshore resources for the delivery of certain activities or business processes has been already established, long term strategic feasibility and appropriateness of various engagement models are still under scrutiny.

The most common approaches nowadays are either working with a third-party outsourcing provider or establishing captive operations in lower cost locations. Engagement models can be differentiated based upon customer organization’s need for management control, costs of operation, risks and other factors.

Third-party Outsourcing

Third-party outsourcing is classic client-vendor relationship governed by contractual obligations and service level agreements. It is mostly driven by tactical reasons such as short-term cost savings and staffing flexibility. Non-core or non-critical activities are typical candidates for outsourcing.

Traditional third-party outsourcing comes in two main forms:

  • Project-based outsourcing is considered to be the most appropriate for development of software with well-defined requirements and deliverables. It is suitable for irregular but on-going or one-off projects. On-site presence may be required to facilitate estimating, specification and relationship management. Typical pricing models are Time and Materials (T&M) and Fixed Price.
  • Dedicated development center model caters for software with changing requirements, maintenance and support of large systems, research and development, testing as well as other types of complex ongoing medium- or long-term tasks. In this type of engagement vendor provides necessary facilities and allocates a team that works only on account’s projects and is managed by customer representative. This option is usually preferred when resource requirements are low. The customer is charged fixed monthly fee per full-time employee (FTE).

Captive Operations

When considering how to organize the remote delivery of software development services, captive subsidiary option often does not receive full consideration in comparison to outsourcing. While it is generally accepted to outsource certain non-crucial activities, in certain cases this approach is inappropriate for core functions and critical activities. Decision to take work offshore/nearshore doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to outsource it. Use of remote resources for the delivery of functions close to core business while retaining operational control and benefiting from real cost advantages can be achieved by means of setting up captive facility, thus keeping work within the company.

Captive model means that customer organization makes strategic decision to create its presence in the lower cost location and conduct work there as a part of its own operations. The activities are performed remotely, but they are not outsourced to the vendor. Thus the customer is able to retain full control and mitigate respective risks associated with intellectual property and other sensitive business information.

Organizations that want to establish captive centers have similar goals as those deploying traditional enterprise or shared services operations. In the first place captives are supposed to lower cost through labor arbitrage. But recent research shows that buyers are seeking not only cheaper but skilled labor at offshore/nearshore locations. They want to obtain competitive advantage and gains from process improvements. In order to avoid risks of underutilizing captive capacities, organizations must thoroughly assess their long-term operational requirements and predict service needs that may arise in the future.

The most common approaches to setting up captive operations are the following:

  • Creating captive center from scratch (do-it-yourself captive) can be successful when customer organization has necessary resources, local expertise and market knowledge. Decision to set up own captive center may evolve organically through growth. Organization can either perform extensive due diligence on its own or buy existing company with operations in the chosen location.
  • Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) approach means partnering with third-party vendor to establish and stabilize center. Vendor is responsible for initial setup, staffing and operations of the captive center during the predefined period of time. At the end of the contract period the ownership is transferred to the customer. Thus organization takes over the turnkey captive center tailored to its specific needs. BOT option best suits organizations that do not have local expertise or extensive resources available. In this type of engagement only logistics associated with setup of the captive center is outsourced. Build-Operate-Transfer optimally combines control element of the pure captive model with flexibility of outsourcing. Essentially it provides maximum control at minimal risk.

Main benefits of having own captive center:

  • Ongoing realization of real cost savings
  • Full operational control and monitoring
  • Full ownership after the transfer
  • Minimization of intellectual property and data security risks
  • Retained knowledge of industry, specific business processes and techniques
  • Improved communications by continual reinforcement and experience
  • Easy replication of parent organization’s processes
  • Captive center can be commercialized at some point in the future

Both outsourcing and captive operations have similar driving forces (cost reductions and competitive pressures in the first place) and particular advantages, but main factors for choosing one or another vary.

Both approaches will deliver benefits in terms of improved focus, optimization of processes, reduction of operational costs, faster time-to-market etc. But companies must thoroughly evaluate each option to identify one that represents the best fit for their specific requirements, business culture and strategic goals.

The approach selected will depend on whether the primary driver is short-term cost savings or whether the company has long-term vision for offshoring/nearshoring and wishes to retain control over processes and intellectual property.

Establishing nearshore captive center in Ukraine through BOT model

If software development is a core competency of your company and you have long term specialized resource requirements, it makes sense to build your own capability in order to support the full software life-cycle, secure intellectual property and build up specific know-how. Nowadays this process is not as difficult as it used to be. The key to success is finding a trusted partner that already operates in the environment of country. By doing this you will benefit from:

  • Clearly defined setup methodology and timeline
  • Planned step-by-step implementation
  • Responsibility for all logistics associated with establishing a captive center
  • Practical knowledge of establishing IT business and dealing with related legal and contractual issues
  • Deep comprehension of cost and effort components associated with setting up and running a software development center in offshore/nearshore country
  • Hands-on experience in software engineering, generally recognized methodologies, processes and quality assurance that can be adapted to captive center
  • Established HR practices, experience in recruiting qualified IT staff
  • Attention to addressing security and business continuity issues
  • Consulting and support throughout the setup process
  • High level of business commitment and responsiveness
  • Flexible client-specific approach

Need For 2nd Level Legal Offshoring

Everybody thought the growth of legal outsourcing would multiply but it didn’t grow as it was expected. In the first level of legal outsourcing, eyes were set on cost cutting.

Despite excellent projections it couldn’t come out of its infancy stage. The proximity of clients and vendors could not increase. Many LPO’s were born like bubbles and vanished identically. All the way it was a good signal to show there was a gap between two ends. The said gap could be bridged if some better means were discovered.

The first level of legal Outsourcing consisted of Captive centers and off shoring of the services to LPO’s.

The Captive Centers started closing down not because of the same were un-economical but primarily due to other problems connected with the working. The stress taken by a company in running the Captive Unit had started becoming a nuisance to them. The very purpose of setting up Captive Unit came under attack whereby its future was sluggish. Though a good number of captive centers have been efficiently working yet most of them could not prove to be economical. Factors like investment, employee attrition rate, changes in Government Policies and day to day running problems discouraged companies to open their Captive Unit.

The mushrooming of LPO’s had put the clients into a saga of disbelief. It had become very tough to settle down with third party vendors. It was inevitable that confidentiality would be bridged and exit policy was tough.

There was a need to find better ways for offshoring legal and paralegal services. The important key points of offshoring decisions include: – The reputation of the company, the non compromising attitude towards confidentiality, keeping control on the working and having cost savings. Law firms of UK / US were divided on off shoring and subsequently about the nature of services to be offshore. The mist had become so heavy whereby the answers could not be found for off shoring while keeping in mind the key points. There came the need of 2nd level outsourcing. The solution to these problems lies in attaining the benefits of Captive Unit at the price of Third Party vendors and this is required to be dealt with “aptly”.