Firms stake their claim over pieces of the market pie

Law firms are finding new ways to grow amidst fierce competition, a new survey has found.

As more players enter the market, firms are finding new ways to claim a bigger piece of the pie.

According to a report released by ALPMA and LexisNexis, 54 per cent of firms are looking to increase the number of target markets they address and 44 per cent are looking to increase their geographic footprint.

ALPMA president and Lantern Legal Group CFO, Andrew Barnes said this isn’t the greatest approach.

“This is an interesting approach in an already-crowded market,” he said.

“Only 7% of firms say they'll reduce their target markets, however it is often a sign of strategic discipline when a firm decides to narrow its focus on a smaller group of promising markets and clients.”

Expanding service offerings was an approach taken by around 39 per cent of firms, for around a third of respondents this included expanding services into the online space.

The move away from the billable hour continues among Australian and NZ firms with 45 per cent of respondents saying they are aiming to offer further services on a fixed fee or alternative billing structure.

“This is a real sign that the industry is listening to customer demand for better value from their lawyers,” said Barnes.

A focus on improving workflow and a focus on business development remain among the top growth strategies, but surprisingly, the report found that only 49 per cent of firms were planning to adopt more flexible working practices.

“Hopefully we are starting to realise the benefits of a flexible work force,” Barnes said.  “Some firms are already doing this extremely well.”

Unsurprisingly, the report found that most firms are looking at increasing their digital investment.  Fifty-nine per cent of firms plan to increase their digital and social media presence.

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