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“Do more with less” may be a cliché, but law firms will have to figure out how to do exactly that—fast. Continuing from last year, expenses in 2012 are likely to outstrip revenue growth. The decline in legal spend will affect everyone from equity partners to graduating law students.
Competition has ramped up in response, but not just from the usual suspects. “Big Law” is now facing direct challenges from legal processing outsourcing firms and other alternative providers of legal services. In a value-based service industry like legal services, cost is not a good basis on which to compete. That leads to commoditization.
So law firms will have to clearly demonstrate their value while keeping their costs competitive. They will have to become much more efficient. A new balance between staff and support functions like marketing, IT and project management will have to be found. Law firms will need to find technologies and processes that help them do much more with much less.
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