Is it time to re-imagine your Chambers?

When Clerks and Barristers look around the market for their next position they could well be attracted to chambers that share a mind-set with them and are prepared for the future

In 2015; the UK was named the least productive European nation in the G7. This startling and unsatisfactory statistic, combined with the current economic climate points to the need for us now, more than ever to make our businesses more efficient, agile and dynamic. If these figures weren’t bad enough, the Brexit vote this year has created even more uncertainty within the legal market. In order to thrive, it is becoming increasingly important to rethink old formats, lose preconceptions and ultimately, re-imagine our businesses.

How is the digital era changing the legal market and how can businesses turn this change into an opportunity? Consider these three major areas and how they can help you re-imagine your chambers to give you an edge for the future:

  • Your team: re-imagine your employees operating at their full potential, using digital technology to adapt and enhance the way they work and to ensure you have an agile workforce. Everyone in Chambers needs to understand the business aims and work together to best optimise your workforce
  • Your leaders: re-imagine your entire team. The management team need to agree that the time for change is now and revitalising business practices is the best way to begin. Gaining control by having connected, real-time information on the projected performance of your chambers, providing actionable insights to spot fluctuations and predict trends to ensure you can stay ahead of the game
  • Your customer service: re-imagine transforming the service you deliver for your clients, making a positive impact on their lives thereby driving satisfaction and loyalty.

Your re-imagined team: A digital transformation

The changes digital technology has made to our society means traditional norms are no longer relevant, effective or appropriate. Nowhere is this more visible than within the workplace, causing a significant digital dilemma for chambers. Workplace agility is important for staff who are able to better communicate and collaborate, as well as work more efficiently thanks to digital technology. It helps to liberate the workforce with a culture of autonomy, accountability and empowerment.

Fast and reliable connection to the internet outside of work, with use of the latest technology devices and access to your digital channel of choice, is now commonplace within day to day living. Given value is based on personal expectations, how does a company react and anticipate expectations within this digital era in order to maintain an engaged and responsive workforce? Furthermore, what will happen if clerks and barristers continue to receive sub-par technology solutions in chambers?

When Clerks and Barristers look around the market for their next position they could well be attracted to chambers that share a mind-set with them and are prepared for the future. In particular, the millennial workforce introduces a new kind of employee, with different attitudes and ambitions. This ‘born-digital’ generation expects a workplace responsive to its needs and expectations of what work is like. Having a forward thinking approach and the right tools to successfully implement business change will be very attractive to this generation. Investing in the latest technology and educating employees on the latest digital technology allows them to be efficient and encourage a culture of innovation. By ensuring any manual, repetitive processes that can be automated are, firms can introduce new capabilities with minimum disruption. The allowances of technology can then prevent employees from a restricted work life giving way to create a flexible, agile and productive workforce.

Take some time to reflect on your firm’s engagement with technology and consider:

  • Are your clerks and barristers empowered with the right tools to be agile?
  • Have you automated any of your manual processes, freeing up your teams from low value-add activities that can be time consuming, frustrating and prone to human error?
  • Does your chamber have secure access to the right information from any device, from any location promoting flexibility and pace?
  • Have you considered how the latest technologies, such as cloud, social and mobile can save time and allow employees to conduct more value-adding operations and tasks?

Your reimagined leaders: Looking forward and tactically thinking

With the legal industry bracing itself for radical disruption, chambers need to find new ways of not only keeping up, but keeping ahead of the game. Digital technologies afford the management team the opportunity to gain control quickly and in real-time with data-driven insights. Clients expect agility so to maintain your client base, you need to surpass their expectations.

So how do you move to become a connected, agile leadership team and why see it as a priority? If you have access to real-time information across your company, with up-to-date business forecasts and real-time mobile access to client information, imagine how it might transform your world. With data held in centralised systems, there’s no need for time-consuming data set comparisons. Imagine the potential impact with leaders freed up to make decisions faster with confidence in a streamlined and connected view of the business. As information driven decision making comes into play, leaders can use a digital dashboard to identify unexpected fluctuations, weaknesses, trends and threats. The board would be freed up to collaborate rather than compare, spotting inefficiencies, analysing the insight from their data into actionable insights, strategies and tasks.

However, by altering your mind-set, this changing playing field gives you a chance to reimagine your future. Every leader can unearth and seize new opportunities giving each business the opportunity to transform and rebuild their future. Digital technologies need to become the backbone of a business to ensure they have the capabilities to innovate quickly – before the competition. A connected infrastructure will ensure you have the insight to spot an opportunity and assess its value thereby increasing client base and client satisfaction.

Some questions to consider:

  • How much time do you spend getting an up-to-date view of the business?
  • Do you have a technology infrastructure that is connected across the organisation, providing one view of chambers?
  • How important is understanding the role and benefit of digital technologies within your future strategy?
  • Do you have the right data from which to make informed decisions, spot threats and identify opportunities?
  • Have you ever tried to re-imagine your business and what it would take to consider yourself as agile and ahead of the game?

Your reimagined customer service: responsive; excellent; innovative

Customer service was one of the first areas of business to be transformed by digital technologies as consumers become increasingly expectant regarding information, personalised service and immediate responses. Over time it has become intrinsically linked with the success of a brand ethos around quality, excellence and capability. With this consumer model in mind, how can chambers re-imagine the way they deliver services to clients to become renowned for excellent service.

Imagine being able to keep in touch with your client base involving them in events and real time progress of their cases. Providing this information online or via an app gives the client input and visibility too. This visibility empowers them with knowledge of what’s going on so to service customers effectively.

Questions to consider:

  • Can you keep your clients informed about their cases quickly and easily?
  • Can you evolve to meet your clients’ changing needs? Is your chambers in a position to offer critical “added value”?
  • When was the last time you acted upon client feedback?
  • Do you have methods to track technology innovations and analyse the resulting opportunity for the legal sector?

Today, the term loyalty is under the spotlight as companies constantly push to encourage and incentivise clients. As each new technology emerges, chambers need to – and should be – reviewing, reimagining and reshaping what they offer to adapt to new demands.

Conclusion: are you in the right place to re-imagine your business?

The digital era is resulting in chambers and their processes becoming more transparent, making it clear which firms have been agile enough to adapt, which are failing to embrace the digital opportunity and keeping up with the new way of working – and therefore the competition.

Consequently, the new digital culture is driving firms to assimilate the new world, in order to move forward and transform themselves to plan for future success. Leveraging the power of a digital business is no longer simply about incorporating digital technologies into the organisation. It’s about re-imaging the organisation and the culture within it to drive innovation, to drive change and to drive the business forward. The question for every chamber therefore has to be: are you in the right place to re-imagine your business?

By Brian Curtis, Advanced Legal

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