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August 15, 2022

The Mid-Sized Law Firm Summit: A Recap

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Exploring the Unique Competitive Position of Mid-Size Law Firms 

Earlier this summer, SurePoint Technologies’ Sara Coffey, Content Marketing Manager, and Chris LaFlamme, Account Executive, attended the ARK Group’s Mid-Sized Law Firm Summit (Summit) in Chicago. In our latest post, we’ll share some of their takeaways and look at how mid-size law firms are uniquely positioned to dominate the legal industry.

Bringing together lawyers and legal professionals from client experience, practice support, legal technology and business development, the Summit explored the competitive advantages of mid-size law firms. Featuring panel discussions and case studies from the legal professionals who make them happen, the conference covered areas such as:

  • Planning for success
  • Implementing new technology
  • Client feedback programs
  • Client value
  • Profitability
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Transforming the legal service delivery model
  • Marketing and business development strategies

Understanding the Competitive Advantages of Mid-Size Law Firms

Kicking off the conference was keynote speaker and conference chair, Tim Corcoran. Corcoran, a former CEO who now guides law firm and law department leaders through the profitable disruption of outdated business models, discussed the importance of understanding the business of law and the competition among mid-sized firms for legal talent and clients. 

Dimensions of a Post-Pandemic Normal

During the opening session, representatives from law firms Neal Gerber Eisenberg, Winthrop & Weinstine, and Marshall, Gerstein & Borun discussed how their firms have created new engagement models with clients and started to reframe the way they think about performance, and how they use technology to help track profitability and evaluate processes.

Technology Lifecycle Assessment: A (Small) Law Firm’s Technological Rebirth

Silvio Talarico, Executive Director at Sunstein, shared how his firm modernized and transformed its technology and shared tips for firms looking to drive acceptance of dramatic organizational changes while minimizing disruption to business. His best advice? Find systems that align with your firm’s strategic objectives.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: The Case for Client Feedback

In another session, Courtney Moates Paulk, President of Hirschler Fleischer, shared how her firm implemented a client feedback program. Client feedback programs are a great way to improve client service, but many firms are hesitant to implement them. Coffey said, “Client feedback programs have been a frequent topic of discussion at each firm I’ve worked at, so it is exciting to hear how this one has been so successful.”

Scaling and Developing Client Value Programs with a Lean Footprint

One of the standouts for LaFlamme was Ashton Batchelor’s case study, “Scaling and Developing Client Value Programs with a Lean Footprint.” Batchelor, the Managing Director of Pricing, Legal Project Management and Financial Analytics at Robins Kaplan LLP, shared how mid-size firms can hire strategically and build multi-disciplinary teams on a small scale. She also shared ideas on how to deploy limited resources to the right areas so firms can improve client value service levels and their profitability.

As a SurePoint Account Executive, LaFlamme says he’s noticed an uptick in pricing and value-focused professionals in mid-size law firms. “I think it’s great that firms are placing emphasis on understanding how they can use technology to provide greater value to their clients and improve their processes as well,” he said.

How COVID Stimulated Systemic Change and Enabled Improvements to the Bottom Line

For Coffey and LaFlamme, who joined SurePoint through the acquisition of ContactEase earlier this year, the case study presented by Cheryl Priddy, Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Senior Financial Analyst was particularly impactful. LaFlamme said, “I’ve been sharing the benefits of CRM for years. Seeing how firms are using technology to improve profitability and their bottom line is impressive.” In this session, Priddy shared how her firm developed an internal financial operations team to create systemic change which improved realization rates and the firm’s bottom line.

Transforming the Legal Service Delivery Model: Challenges and Opportunities for Mid-Size Firms

Turning to law firm strategy, one of the best panels on Day Two focused on how firms can transform the legal service delivery model. With more competition for work, mid-size firms are facing even greater demands from clients. Professionals from Warner Norcross + Judd, McInnes Cooper, and Murtha Cullina shared how their firms are meeting such challenges head on by combining tailored services with modern technology and new business models.

Marketing and Business Development Strategies for Small and Mid-Size Law Firms

Closing out the Summit was a session near and dear to Coffey’s heart and experience –Chris Fritsch, from CLIENTSFirst Consulting, and Stefanie Marrone, a fractional law firm CMO and Director of Marketing at Phillips Nizer, shared marketing and business development strategies for small and mid-size firms. A legal marketing veteran of over twelve years, this session resonated with Coffey because of her first-hand experience. Coffey shared, “Mid-size firms are forced to do more with less. I appreciated the speakers’ insight and how they stressed the importance of evaluating marketing efforts to ensure that resources are allocated correctly.”

Final Thoughts

LaFlamme left the Summit feeling energized and excited about the future for mid-size law firms. “Now that I’ve had the chance to work with firms of all sizes, I think one of the great things about mid-size firms is that it can be easier to get things done – from implementing technology to client feedback programs, there are fewer barriers to decision making so if you have an idea, it can be easier to get it in front of the right person,” he said.

Learn How Mid-Size Law Firms are Leading the Way

Want to learn more? In our blog series, “Leading the Way: The Business of Law in 2022 and Beyond,” we examine the many competitive advantages of mid-size law firms and how firms are using technology to lead the way in the business of law.

About SurePoint Technologies

SurePoint® Technologies is the leading provider of award-winning enterprise software that improves workflow and maximizes financial performance and profitability for law firms nationwide. Its distinctive cloud platform integrates client management, practice management, and financial management for powerful relationship-building and knowledge-sharing capability. With a community of more than 100,000 members, SurePoint continues to transform the legal industry by enabling law firms to unlock higher performance, freeing lawyers of administrative burdens so they can spend more time focusing on their clients and their practices. Learn more at https://surepoint.com.