Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The problem with the race to be the cheapest conveyancer is that you might win.

As the big name brands barge their way into the legal sector they will seek to squeeze every penny out of every client. Can the smaller firms compete? Of course they can as long as they don't compete on price alone.

Some firms in an effort to compete can extort workers to show up and work harder for less, in order to underbid a competitor. You might make a few more bucks for now, but not for long and not with pride. Another firm or conveyancing broker will always find a way to be cheaper or more brutal than you.

When I was completing my articles (yes I am showing my age as it was pre-’training contracts’) the senior partner would tell me every so often ‘push up you prices...don't be scared’. It was wise advice and regrettably not always adhered to by me. What the senior partner was telling me back then was that the race to the top makes more sense. The race to the top is focused on quality and respect and dignity and guts and innovation and sustainability and yes, generosity when it might be easier to be selfish. It's also risky, filled with difficult technical and emotional hurdles, and requires patience and effort and insight. The race to the top is the long-term path with the best outcome.

It’s so easy to forget whilst you fight for survival that clients actually appreciate a lawyer who cares about them. Why not be different to the supermarket law firms with their bitter cash register jockeys? A smiling face, a social chat, a don't-worry-about-the-pennies sort of interaction.

There is a side benefit when you win the race to the top. You end up with a healthy, motivated lawyers focused on a quality service. The result is increased profits,market share and a community of clients that are glad you're there.

Have I been watching too much Mary Portas? 

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