Being client-focused is something for everyone in a law firm

On Monday next week, legalsupportnetwork will launch something we're very excited about - an e-zine all about the issues, challenges and successes in business services and support in law firms, called Briefing.

Our first Briefing interview is with the law firm process and strategy guru Professor Richard Susskind, and it makes for fascinating reading. I know that 'I would say that, wouldn't I', but in talking to him we covered all the role types in business services that are important to LSN - finance, human resources, information technology, marketing, BD and knowledge management - and he tells us what he thinks their challenges are and, in part, how to face them.

I was struck most, perhaps because it's my job too, by his straightforward thoughts on why law firms - and the lawyers therein - should embrace social media:

"I don't think we've given nearly enough thought to how we can actually bring [social media] to our clients, brief them as a network and then prove that we will communicate with them, collaborate with them and make the information available to them. That's at the heart of social networking."

Social media, to Susskind, isn't a load of hooey for marketing people. It's potentially a tool for those facing the customers in law firms to communicate with those customers, and engage in conversation with them. In other words, it's email all over again.

He may be right - he may not, though he's been right about quite a lot.

What the interview did bring up, though, time and again, is the urgent need for everyone in a law firm to be more focused on how they're increasing value to the client in a firm-wide way, whether they're thinking strategically or acting tactically. This is a cultural thing, but it can be helped along by systems and IT, of course - which is what a lot of the launch issue of Briefing is about.

I know that the people who read LSN's content get this, by and large, but there are a lot of people in law firms who don't, and it's our job, and yours, to bring this basic truth to their attention and convince them of its urgency.

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