The Bellwether Report 2016: The Riddle of Perception launches today.
I’m delighted to announce that the Bellwether Report 2016: The Riddle of Perception launched today. Now in its fourth year, the increasingly influential report continues to break new ground in exploring and understanding the dynamics of independent law.
Based on structured interviews with 122 independent lawyers and 108 clients the report uncovers some telling differences of opinion. It highlights contradictory perspectives on what independent lawyers’ priorities, challenges, attitudes and appetite for change were and how, if at all, the profession is reacting to these.
Spanning everything from the demands of the economy and embracing digital technology to managing the client/lawyer relationship, we uncover differences in how lawyers see themselves and their competition, and how they are really perceived by their clients.
The report reveals that 95% of independent lawyers and midsize law firms predict ‘rough times’ ahead and despite a rise in confidence reported in The Bellwether Report last year, both confidence and performance have both dipped back to the levels reported in 2013/14.
The report suggests that the lack of confidence may be due to a distinct mismatch between lawyers’ key challenges and the changes that have been implemented or are planned in the firm. 85% of lawyers agree that client demands are having as big an impact on working practices as regulations, yet only 40% of firms have taken on more staff to meet those demands. Taking on non-fee earners to help develop business/increase efficiency is also quite low on the list, even though a number of the main challenges faced by lawyers lie outside their skillset.
Other key takeaways are:
- 95% predict ‘rough times ahead’, but 81%are feeling positive about the future and 58% plan to grow in the next five years
- 92% believe that ‘continued investment in technology is no longer optional’ – it is a ‘must’
- 77% of respondents say that lawyers don’t believe they are operating in the service industry
- 87% of firms don’t see the advantages of using AI tools to inform their decisions
- 30% of lawyers think they offer excellent value for money, but only 8% of clients agree
The report reveals necessary changes to meet the growing demands of the ever more demanding clients as well as dealing with the distinct mismatch between lawyers’ key challenges and the changes that have been implemented or are planned in the firm.
Get your copy of the Bellwether Report 2016: The Riddle of Perception here on the Business of Law Blog. You’ll receive a free copy of the research, along with a series of helpful business guides to support your firm.